A pair of weekend wins have pushed the Yorkton Terriers to a 4-2 record early in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League season.
The record is good enough for eight points and top spot in the Viterra Division, one up on Melville who Yorkton meets in a home-and-home series this weekend.
Estevan sit with six points and Weyburn with four.
The Terriers’ first action on the week came Friday on home ice hosting Battlefords, who had already handed the Terriers a loss on Farrell Agencies Arena ice earlier this season.
After a scoreless first period Igor Leonenko gave the Stars a 1-0 lead with a powerplay goal 1:36 into the second period.
The Terriers responded with three straight goals from Tyson Enzie, Chase Norrish and Devon McMullen before Blake Young got one back for the visitors with 53-seconds left in the period.
Tayler Thompson struck with a goal 2:11 into the third for the Terriers as Yorkton was two-men short, and McMullen would get his second of the night, before Tanner Quinn gave the visitors life with a goal to make it 5-3 10:57 into the the third.
Chase Norrish would then add a second goal on the night, and Brady Norrish would notch his first of the campaign to salt away the 7-3 win.
Kale Thomson faced 25 shots in the Terrier net for the win, while Casey Parker saw 30-shots in the loss for the Stars.
Thompson said it was good to have the Terrier offence rolling better.
“We were struggling at the start (of the season),” he said, adding to get things going the team reaffirmed some things they needed to do to be successful, and it worked Friday.
Asked about the short-handed effort Thompson said it was a two-on-one on a break out, adding he could see Brady Norrish breaking down centre ice as he skated down the left boards.
“I see the goalie cheating a little,” he said, adding the Star netminder was obviously thinking a pass to Norrish.
“I closed my eyes and took the shot.”
Thompson said the goal was a big one for the team.
“It’s huge five-on-three. It was a momentum swing for sure.”
Even with the short-handed goal, Battlefords didn’t fold.
“They came out hard at the start of the third,” said Thompson, adding the Terriers held their ground until the offence popped the late goals for the win.
Thompson said putting the game away was something talked about in the second intermission.
“We reaffirmed we had to kept our foot on the gas, and that’s what we did and got a big win.”
Terrier head coach Trent Cassan agreed short-handed goals are always big, “especially when you’re killing five-on-three for that long.” Then to turn it around by actually scoring a goal is a big game shift. “… It was a big turning point.”
Cassan was also pleased Thompson was the trigger man on a three-point night.
“We’re going to need Tayler to be a high-end player for us every night this year,” he said.
Cassan also agreed having the offence come up with a big game was good to see.
“It was good to see some guys break out,” he said, adding that the defence came up offensively against the Stars scoring three of the goals.
“A lot of our older guys looked good.”
While having the defence contributing was positive, Cassan said he is still looking for more from his forward units.
“Eventually a few more forwards have got to get up to speed,” he said, adding getting goals “from the back end is a big bonus.”
Saturday Yorkton visited the Weyburn Red Wings where Kailum Gervais scored the only goal of the opening frame for the Terriers.
The second was all Weyburn as Donovan Lumb, Braden Mellon and Ty McLean all scored Wing goals from among nine shots fired at Thomson in the Terrier net.
But in the third Thomson would stop all 11 shots he faced as the Terrier offence took over the game.
Rookie Jordan Ross scored his third of the young season, Tyler Giebel would knot the score 3-3 with a powerplay goal 9:27 into the third. Thompson would get the eventual game-winner at 13:13, and Brady Norrish would add an insurance goal into an empty net.
Thomson had the win facing 28-shots, as Rylan Parenteau was tagged with the loss facing 43.
The 2013-’14 chapter of the Highway 10 rivalry starts this weekend, as Melville visits the Farrell Agencies Arena Friday.
Saturday the Mills will host the Terriers.