Despite being outshoot 70-49 in their weekend road trip against the Prince Albert Mintos and Saskatoon Blazers, the Yorkton Harvest came away with two wins.
For the most part, puck-stopper Carson Bogdan was the key to the Harvest’s success. He stood tall in the back-to-back games, stopping 63 of 70 shots.
“He was huge for us,” said Harvest head coach Jeff Odgers. “Carson made some really big saves when we needed him to keep us in there. I wasn’t sure which goalie I would go with in our second game against the Blazers. But after Carson’s great game against the Mintos, I gave him the call and he came up big.”
The Harvest scored two late goals against the Mintos in their first contest on Feb. 16 to edge out a 4-3 win.
Yorkton trailed 1-0 heading into the second period, but Donavon Lumb and Lynden Pastachak lit the lamp in the second to put Yorkton out front heading into the final frame.
The Mintos came out flying in the third period, putting 13 pucks on Bogdan. Of those opportunities, Justin Boyer and Lance Yaremchuk found the back of the net.
But in the last three minutes of the game, Eric Meyer played hero, scoring twice. He tied the game up at the 2:21 mark, followed by potting the game winner with only 12 seconds left.
“He had a really big game for us,” said Odgers on Meyer. “His first goal was one of the nicest goals in AAA that I’ve ever seen. I think if that game was on TV, it would have made TSN’s highlight pack. He was on his stomach and made a good shot. And he was just in the right place at the right time for his second.”
The Saturday victory was the Harvest’s third against the 32-7-2 Mintos this year.
“We play hard whenever we’re up against Prince Albert,” said Odgers. “I think our confidence is up and we know we can beat anyone in the league. It showed in the win.”
The following night the Harvest took another one-goal game, squeezing out a 5-4 win over the Blazers.
“It’s always tough to play back-to-back games on the road, but we really rallied as a group,” said Odgers. “We got good goaltending, had guys step up, and took advantage of some power plays.”
The Harvest’s Levin Morin and Blazers’ Chris Thorimbert exchanged makers in the first period.
The second period was a scoring frenzy, entailing six goals. Yorkton’s Pastachak and Jaden Kreklewich and Saskatoon’s Thorimbert and Dustin Perillat traded goals in the first 14 minutes. But Yorkton won the period in the final two minutes and one second with team captain Nicholas Pouliot, who is a prospect of the WHL’s Everett Silvertips, and Kreklewich netting one apiece.
The Blazers put 16 shots on Bogdan in the final period, but only one from Brodie Schuette got past him.
The 20-14-5-3 Harvest stick in fifth spot in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League standings after their pair of wins with 48 points. They are six-points back of the Moose Jaw Generals and Regina Pat Canadians; therefore, Yorkton can only sink in the standings with just two regular-season games left on their schedule. They are, however, three-points up on the Battleford Stars and Blazers. So their fate is in their own hands.
The Harvest finish out their regular-season with a pair of road games against the Swift Current Legionnaires on Feb. 23 and 24.
The 8-22-7-2 Legionnaires have been eliminated from the post-season race.
But Odgers knows Swift Current could finish out the year strong against his club.
“They are out of the playoffs, but they still have the pride that will make them a hard team to play against,” he said. “We can’t underestimate them. We want to finish out the season strong, so we got to keep working hard against them as if it was a playoff game.”