The Yorkton Bantam AA UCT Terriers invaded Saskatoon and Humboldt over the weekend and in the process improved their record in the SBAAHL to 18-4-1, good enough for second overall in the South Division, just three points back of division leading Pilot Butte Prairie Storm, who lead the South with a 20-2-0 record.
On Friday night the Yorkton UCT Bantam Terriers travelled to Saskatoon to do battle with the North Division seventh place team the Saskatoon Generals (9-13-3).
The end result was a 7-2 Terriers road victory, their ninth road victory of the season.
UCT Terriers captain Tyler Stratechuk opened the scoring for Yorkton in the first period with his eighth of the season to give the visiting side a 1-0 lead. McKenzie Welke’s 19th goal of the season gave Yorkton a 2-0 lead heading into the first intermission.
Yorkton continued to fire pucks on Generals netminder Keenan Dell in the second period and although Dell did his best, the Terriers offence simply wore him down, resulting in three goals late in the middle frame, one each by Luke Schappert and Kaeden Taphorn, while Stratechuk netted his second of the game.
Saskatoon managed to get on the board in the second period as well when Erik Ehrmantraut put the puck past Alex Geddes but after 40 minutes of play Yorkton led 5-1.
Saskatoon’s Luke Penner made it 5-2 midway through the third period, however that was as close as the Generals would get as Yorkton added two more off the sticks of Cody Dubas and Keanan Sperling to take the game 7-2.
Carson Miller continued his fine play with four assists in the game while Keenan Taphorn also chipped in with three assists of his own.
On Saturday, January 10, the UCT Terriers paid a visit to the Humboldt Broncos (9-9-5) at the Elgar Peterson Arena. It was a visit the Broncos won’t soon forget, as the Terriers scored six in the first period, two in the second and three in the third, obliterating the host Broncos 11-1 led by a Keenan Taphorn hattrick. Keenan Taphorn also added two assists for a five point night while Yorkton’s Carson Miller also picked up five points with two goals and three assists to join Dawson Holt (Saskatoon Generals) and Kristopher Bzdel (North East Wolfpack) at the top or the league scoring race with 54 points.
Miller’s offensive ability should come as no surprise seeing as how he scored 46 goals and registered 85 points in just 20 games as a peewee last year. However his game has picked up as of late in his first bantam season with five goals and 12 assists in his past five games, something that UCT Terriers head coach Graham Garrett thinks is due to Miller’s ability to make adjustments to his game. “I think there was an adjustment period for Carson coming in to Bantam. He’s a skilled player, he’s a smart player and I think he’s making more of an adjustment to the physical play and the size and speed of the players in bantam AA. Now that he’s used to the play it’s clear that he is starting to assert himself as one of those offensive threats.”
Luckily for Yorkton, Miller isn’t the only offensive threat they possess. Eight different players found the back of the net against Humboldt with Luke Schappert, Brett Kemp, Carson Welke, Kaeden Taphorn, Keanan Sperling and Tyler Stratechuk also putting the puck in the net on Friday.
“We can score goals. We always knew we can score goals. We’ve scored over 150 goals now and were something like plus 87 in the league in goal differential, which is well ahead of everybody else,” said Garrett. “I think our challenge was to be able to stop teams from scoring on us and we’ve been doing that better since Christmas. I think that will be the biggest key for us going into the playoffs.”
As for the weekend, Garrett believes that his team is playing it’s best hockey at the right time. “I thought we played extremely well as a team. Everybody contributed. Our defence is starting to limit other teams’ opportunities and offensively we’re really clicking. Guys are moving the puck, we’re scoring some beautiful goals, dominating on our forecheck and creating opportunities almost every shift.”
The Yorkton Bantam UCT Terriers will continue their season long five game road trip on Saturday, January 18, when they visit the Swift Current Kabos Raiders (1-19-1), before travelling to Wilcox and Estevan respectively to take on the Notre Dame Hounds (0-20-0) on Sunday, January 19, and the Estevan TS & M Bruins (12-7-3) on Tuesday, January 21.
The next home game for the Yorkton Bantam UCT Terriers will be Sunday, January 26 when they welcome the Notre Dame Hounds to the Farrell Agencies Arena. Game time is set for 5:45p.m.