After losing their first five games of the year, the Yorkton Bulldogs have started to turn their season around with their second straight win on Sunday against the Saskatoon Steelers in the Farrell Agencies Arena.
Two third period goals lifted the Bulldogs over the second-place Steelers in a 5-3 victory.
“They showed a lot of urgency in the third period,” said Bulldogs head coach Joey Choptuik. “They wanted the ball and did a good job of keeping it in the Steelers’ end.”
Yorkton got off to a strong start; they scored the first goal of the game and went into the first intermission with a 3-1 lead.
“It meant a lot to get off to a good start,” said Choptuik. “We made some good passes and were able to capitalize on some offensive opportunities.”
In the second frame, the Steelers started to pour it on. They outplayed the Bulldogs for the most part and made two of their shots count.
Despite letting two by him, Bulldogs goaltender Louden Choptuik stood tall in the middle frame. He made several key saves, including some breakaway stops.
“Our defence starts and ends with him,” said the head coach on Louden Choptuik. “He had a good game and has made a lot of key saves all year. He’s been key to our recent success.”
Specialty teams was a strength and a weakness for the Bulldogs. They didn’t score any power-play goals, despite receiving several opportunities, but held the Steelers to only one goal on the man advantage.
“We are working on improving our power play,” said Choptuik. “We need to take advantage of those opportunities. But I was happy with our penalty kill. On some of their power plays, we hardly let them in our zone. We did a good job of putting pressure on them and keeping possession of the ball to kill time.”
The Bulldogs’ match against the Steelers was the first game where they dressed more players than their opposing team.
“It was different to have more players than the team we are playing,” said Choptuik. “We are a shorthanded team, but we had one more player than them tonight with 10 guys.”
All in all, Choptuik was happy with his team’s performance, especially taking into account they were up against the second-place team in the Prairie Gold Lacrosse League.
“They are high up in the standings, so it was nice to beat a team that has proven they’re a good team in this league,” he said. “It gives the guys some confidence that they are better than their (2-5-0) record shows.”
With three regular-season games left on the year, Choptuik believes his club can carry this momentum over into the playoffs and possibly pull of an upset while there.
“The playoffs is the only season that really matters,” said the head coach. “Every team makes the playoffs, so everyone has a shot. We are a more confident group now and I definitely think we have the potential to keep this going.”
The Bulldogs are now tied with the Predators for sixth place in the standings with a 2-5-0 record.
Yorkton hosts the Regina Riot at the Farrell Agencies Arena next weekend for back-to-back games.