A pair of wins over Highway 10 rival Melville has leap-frogged the Yorkton Terriers to top spot, both overall and in their division, in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League.
Friday in Melville the Millionaires scored 6:44 into the game, a powerplay marker by Cole Berreth, which proved the only marker of the opening frame.
It was also be the only goal of the night for the host team.
In the second period the Terriers would get powerplay markers of their own from Tyler Giebel and Kailum Gervais, to take a 2-1 lead through 40-minutes.
Chase Norrish would add an insurance marker into an empty net in the final minute of the game to complete a 3-1 Terrier win.
Kale Thomson faced 32-shots in the Yorkton net for the win, the same shot total Isaiah Plett faced in the loss for the Mils.
Terrier head coach Trent Cassan said it was a good start in Melville.
“We had a real good start last night,” he said after Saturday’s win in Yorkton, adding while Melville held the lead after 20-minutes, the Terrier effort was one they built on the rest of the way.
“I just told the guys to stay the course,” he said, mentioning that the powerplay clicked in the second.
A night later at the Farrell Agencies Arena in Yorkton the home-team again led 1-0 through 20-minutes as Brett Boehm struck on the powerplay late in the frame.
Boehm would add two more in the second to record a hat trick, while Gervais would add a single.
Alex Brandrup and Cole Berreth replied for Melville to leave the score 4-2 in favour of the Terriers through 40-minutes.
Landon Farrell would add a powerplay goal 7:47 into the third to draw the Millionaires to within one, but that would be the end of the scoring in a 4-3 Terrier win.
Thomson was again in net for the Terrier win facing 29-shots, while Plett faced 40 in the loss.
Boehm said the hat trick was of course gratifying, made more so that it came against Melville.
While arriving just in time for the New Year’s set with the Mils, Boehm said he is now well aware of the intensity of the rivalry. He said playing New Year’s Day in Melville and looking at the rink full of fans for both teams cheering told him all about the intensity.
“It didn’t take long to understand,” he said.
A three goal performance in a big game is something the Terriers were hoping for when they acquired Boehm in a trade with Flin Flon. He said he realizes that he is supposed to score and with linemates Giebel and Gervais things are clicking.
Boehm said the line was put together when Tayler Thompson missed a couple of games, and just started working right off, adding it has spread the offence out a bit noting “Thompson can create offence without anybody with him.”
This weekend’s game had the added pressure of being for first place in the Viterra Division.
“It was an eight point weekend really,” offered Boehm, noting wins for the Terriers were equally as important as losses for the Mils.
Cassan said it has been a dogfight with Melville all season.
“It’s been tight between the two of us all year,” he said, and while the two wins have given Yorkton an edge, he expects it will be tight the rest of the season too.”
As for the success of the Boehm/Giebel/Gervais line, Cassan noted, “they’ve been really good on the powerplay lately.” He then added “as a team our powerplay has been more effective.”
Cassan said a key to the powerplay’s improvement has been the Terrier defence getting involved.
The two wins by the Terriers lifted them back into top spot in the SJHL’s Viterra Division with 68-points based on a record of 31-11-2-4. That is two better than Melville with 66. Yorkton also has two games in-hand.
Estevan sits third with 56-points, followed by Weyburn with 45.
The Terriers were scheduled to host Humboldt Tuesday, but results were not available at press time.
Yorkton heads out on the road to face La Ronge Friday, and then stop in Melfort for action Saturday.