The SMAAAHL’s Yorkton Harvest took an 8-7-2-1 record into their three game home stand in hopes of improving it and moving up in the league standings.
Instead, they did the opposite, picking up just two of a possible six points while dropping down to eighth in the 12 team midget AAA league.
The Harvest began the home stand by skating to a 4-4 tie with the first place Notre Dame Argos on Wednesday November 27th. Notre Dame opened the scoring midway through the first on a goal by Swiss forward Damien Riat, but a power play goal by Tanner Jeannot, his seventh of the season, drew the Harvest even before Yorkton’s leading scorer Chase McKersie potted his 13th goal of the campaign to give the hometown side a 2-1 lead through 20 minutes.
The Argos levelled the score early on in the second period when Colin Burston beat Harvest netminder Carson Bogdan to make it 2-2. The visitors then took the lead when Riat scored his second of the game to put the Argos back on top, 3-2, after two periods of play.
Harvest captain Corwin Stevely tied the game at three early on in the third period with his fourth goal of the season but the Argos once again took the lead when, with 6:29 remaining in the third, Nolan Reid snapped home his fifth goal of the year. That Argos lead was short lived however, as Jeannot picked up the puck and put it past Argos goaltender and Yorkton native Matt Kustra to round out the scoring at 4-4.
The Harvest then had a few days off before getting back at it, this time hosting the third place Prince Albert Mintos at the Farrell Agencies Arena on back-to-back days.
Game one against Prince Albert saw the Harvest take eight minor penalties including a Koal Roberts high sticking minor that led to the Mintos’ first goal by Lance Yaremchuk with 12:45 left in the first period. Another penalty, this time to Levi Morin, gave P.A. another opportunity to score. However it was the home team that found the score sheet instead as Jaden Kreklewich put his fourth of the season, this one short-handed, past Mintos goalie Connor Ingram to make it 1-1 after one period.
The Harvest came out firing in the second period, dominating the Mintos in the second frame. Despite the pressure, however, the Harvest could only put one puck past Ingram. With just 21 seconds remaining in the period Jeannot scored his third goal in two games and ninth of the season to put Yorkton up 2-1 after 40 minutes.
Unfortunately for the home team their lead did not last long as Yaremchuk drew the Mintos even less than five minutes into the third period with his second goal of the game. Each team had their chances to end the game in the third period but neither could capitalize meaning for the second straight home game the Harvest were headed to overtime.
It seemed as if overtime would solve nothing and that the Harvest would claim their second tie in a row. However that was not the case as Prince Albert’s Teal Sobkowicz ended the game with just 34 seconds remaining in overtime when he beat Phair to hand the Harvest just their second overtime loss this season.
The Harvest had no time to dwell on their 3-2 overtime loss to the Mintos on Saturday as they were right back on the ice on Sunday against the same Prince Albert squad.
But when the Harvest hit the ice it was clear that they had the same problem as they did on Saturday. Penalties.
The Harvest took 10 minor penalties, three of which resulted in Mintos goals, as the Harvest fell 5-2 in the final game of their three-game home stand. The lone bright spot was yet another shorthanded goal, this time scored by Tyler Kreklewich who now has 10 goals on the season. Levi Morin had the other Harvest goal giving him two on the year.
After the game Harvest Head Coach Dan Cross voiced his frustration on what he feels is keeping his team from finding the win column. “Penalties. We’ve just got to stay out of the penalty box. That’s our whole thing here. They scored three power play goals again. They had one yesterday. That’s four power play goals,” said the Harvest bench boss. “We’re not scoring any power play goals. We had two shorthanded goals this weekend but it all adds up to just too many minutes in the penalty box. We lead the league in penalty minutes. It’s killing us.
“Other teams’ powerplay are getting better, we’re getting later in the season here and they make you pay. You just can’t go in the penalty box.”
Despite all of the penalties the Harvest have taken so far this season (they have 442 penalty minutes to lead the league), Cross also feels that his team is playing good hockey, but just not getting the breaks they got earlier in the season. “It’s not that we’re playing terrible hockey; the effort’s there, we’re getting shots, it’s just the puck’s not bouncing our way right now and then we’re getting frustrated and taking some stupid penalties. We’re going to correct that. We’re going to start on Tuesday back in practice and hopefully go from there.”
The next game for the Yorkton Harvest is tonight as they travel to Wilcox to take on the league leading Note Dame Argos at 8:00 p.m. The next home game for the Harvest will be Saturday, December 7th when they host the visiting Moose Jaw Generals. Game time is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. at the Farrell Agencies Arena.