The Yorkton Harvest wrapped up their January action on a strong note, capturing two ties and a win.
“I’m happy with getting four-out-of-six points,” says Harvest head coach Jeff Odgers. “We played some really strong teams and put up a good fight.”
The Harvest kicked off their week’s contests against the Regina Pat Canadians on Wednesday, January 23 at home in the Farrell Agencies Arena.
Their match against the 20-9-4-1 Queen City Kids was a back-and-fourth game, ending in a 3-3 draw.
The Pat Canadians winger Jayden Halbgewachs, whose WHL rights are owned by the Moose Jaw Warriors, notched the first goal of the game at the 15:10 mark.
But less than three minutes later, Harvest centre Jaden Kreklewich tied the game up at one.
Korwin Shewchuk stepped up in the second period, scoring back-to-back goals to give the Harvest a two-goal lead.
“He had a great game for us,” says Odgers on Shewchuk. “He’s not the biggest guy, but he works hard and makes things happen. On his first goal he did a nice wrap around and he scored on a rebound on the power play for his second.”
With only 1:19 left in the second, Tristan Frel cut the Harvest’s lead in half.
The final period was scoreless until the last four minutes when Mitch Lipon, the brother of Kamloops Blazers star J.C. Lipon, found the back of the net to end the game in a three-apiece tie.
Odgers is happy with how his squad started out the game; however, he felt they ran out of energy near the end.
“We had a great start,” says Odgers. “I think we carried in some momentum from our prior wins. Near the end though, I think we ran out of gas.”
The Harvest traveled to Saskatoon on Saturday, Jan. 26 for their second match, taking on the Contacts.
Even though the 19-8-5-1 Contacts are one of the top offensive teams in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League, the game was a low-scoring affair, ending in a 1-1 tie.
Corwin Stevely netted the Harvest’s lone goal in the first period, followed by Kolten Olynek for the Contacts in the second on the penalty kill.
“It was a very physical game,” says Odgers on the Contacts’ match. “It is such a small rink (Schroh Arena) that it is hard to find open space. I think there were only two goals because every time a guy would touch the puck he would get hit and there was some strong goaltending.”
The following day the Harvest took on the Beardy’s Blackhawks in the Willow Cree Memorial Sport Centre.
Yorkton came away with a 5-2 win after peppering 45 shots on Blackhawks puck-stopper Taryn Phaneuf.
Before the drop of the puck, Odgers made it clear to his team that they can’t underestimate the Blackhawks because of their poor 2-29-1-2 record.
“I reminded the guys that the Blackhawks beat us earlier in the year,” he says. “I told them we had to win that game. We have to make sure to capitalize on wins against the teams below us in the standings.”
Despite the head coaches’ pre-game speech, the Harvest ended the opening period down by one. The Blackhawks’ Connor Vermeulen scored the lone goal of the first 20 minutes.
Yorkton started to catch steam in the second with Eric Meyer and Kreklewich potting one apiece.
But the Harvest’s lead disappeared not long after with Logan Shatz tying the game up at two for the Blackhawks.
Yorkton stepped on the gas in the final period. Shewchuk, Logan Herchak, and Ethan Bear lit the lamp to wrap up the victory.
“I think overall we played a good game,” says Odgers. “We may have not came out of the gate as strong as I would have liked, but we finished it off with a good third period.”
The Harvest went 6-1-2 in January, giving them a 16-14-4-2 total record for 38 points. They sit tied for fifth place in the SMAAAHL standings with the Tisdale Trojans and Battlefords Stars. In addition, they are seven-points up on the eighth-place Saskatoon Blazers.
“We are a confident team,” says Odgers. “The guys have really found their way and it shows with our strong month of January.”
Yorkton starts out February in Regina against the Pat Canadians on the second.