The Yorkton Harvest were back in action on Saturday, just four days after the Harvest ended their four game losing streak with a hard fought 4-2 road win over Tisdale on Tuesday.
This time the opponents at the Farrell Agencies Arena were the high flying Battlefords Stars; a team which the Harvest were 1-1 against this season despite sitting 26 points below the Stars in the SMAAAHL standings.
The Battlefords Stars showed why they are one of the top teams in the league on Saturday at the Farrell Agencies Arena.
The Stars jumped out to an early 2-0 lead on goals by Mason Benning and Spencer Bast to lead 2-0 after 20 minutes of play.
Yorkton’s Logan Leslie cut the Stars lead in half with his fourth goal of the season early in the second period.
Korwin Shewchuk drew the Harvest even on the powerplay with a quick wrist shot that beat Stars netminder Ryan Rewerts high glove side at 4:32 of the second. However the Stars would strike twice more in the period, both on the powerplay and both off the stick of Bast, to take a 4-2 lead into the second intermission.
The second Bast goal of the period, however, was a controversial one as he slammed into Harvest goalie Carson Bogdan as the puck crossed the line.
The officials felt that Bast was pushed into Bogdan by a Harvest player and after careful deliberation allowed the goal to stand, giving the Stars a 4-2 lead after 40 minutes of play.
Bast would cap off his amazing night in the third with his fourth goal of the game and 26th of the season with nine minutes remaining in the period.
The Stars would add one more, a shorthanded marker by Josh LaFramboise, to make it a 6-2 final.
Bogdan made 41 saves in the loss while Rewerts stopped 24 saves for the win.
When asked about the result of the game, Harvest head coach Dan Cross was quick to point out what he thought was a big factor in not only the game, but the season so far. “We just took too many penalties. We took three bad penalties and two they made us pay on in the second period and I thought that was the big thing,” offered Cross. “It’s been that way all season.
“We had the momentum and the bad penalties killed us. We took them and then got scored on.”
Two positives that Cross took out of the game, however, was the resurgence of the powerplay as well as the play of Bogdan; both of which bode well for the Harvest as they battle for the final SMAAAHL playoff spot.
‘Chase-ing’ a victory
The Harvest looked to gain a measure of revenge on the Stars on Sunday afternoon at the Farrell Agencies Arena.
And gain a measure of revenge they did.
The Harvest got two goals from leading scorer Chase McKersie, one to open the Harvest scoring and one to end it in overtime, while both Jaden Kreklewich and Levi Morin also scored for the Harvest in the 4-3 overtime win.
Stars forward Josh LaFramboise opened the scoring at the 10:13 mark of the first period when his shot eluded Carson Bogdan to make it 1-0.
McKersie would draw the Harvest even before the end of the period with his first of two on the day.
The talented Harvest forward streaked down the right wing and snapped the puck blocker side past Stars goalie Rylan Toth to make it 1-1 after 20 minutes of play.
Jaden Kreklewich gave the Harvest the lead just before the midway point of the middle frame. Toth made the initial save on the Brennan Watson shot but Kreklewich gathered up the rebound and fired it past Toth to make it 2-1 Yorkton.
Harvest defenceman Levi Morin gave Yorkton a two goal lead when his blast from the point found its way past Toth on the powerplay, however Spencer Bast would score his fifth goal in two games just 55 seconds later to bring his Stars to within one at 3-2 after two periods.
Battlefords stalwart defenceman Alex Pernitsky scored the only goal of the third period to make it 3-3, meaning overtime was necessary.
Cue the McKersie overtime heroics.
The Estevan native gathered up the loose puck, skated around the Stars net and snapped the puck past Toth to give the Harvest a 4-3 overtime win and snap their four game losing streak.
The overtime goal is also the second one of the season for McKersie against the Stars; he ended the October 19 game with an overtime marker as well.
While most people would be surprised with the Harvest win over the Stars, Yorkton head coach Dan Cross believes that, if his team can keep their composure, that they can compete with anyone in the league. “I know we can compete against the top teams and we’ve proved it here,” offered a smiling Cross immediately following his teams’ victory. “We took a couple of goofy penalties early on and we took a too many men call that hurt our momentum. The difference is that this time we stayed composed and kept grinding away and didn’t give up and eventually we found a way to win.
“It’s a relief because we’ve been finding ways to lose recently. This time we found a way to win and it’s awesome.”
Cross also noted how impressive Bogdan has been between the pipes as of late, especially with the season ending injury to Carter Phair. “He (Bogdan) has been great for us,” said Cross. “When a guy comes in and faces almost 100 shots in two games it’s impressive. He did a good job in keeping us in the game all game long.
“He’s got to keep us in these games and the guys responded and got him a goal for the win.”
Bogdan, however, believes he can’t take all the credit for the recent play of the Harvest. Instead, he credits the play of the guys in front of him for much of what he has done this season. “The boys have been playing great lately and it’s been a difference,” said the Harvest goalie after his 47 save win on Sunday. “They’ve been making the simple plays and keeping the shots to the outside. They’ve been making my job easy for the most part by blocking shots, clearing guys from out front. They’ve been doing a great job lately.”
The Yorkton Harvest (14-19-4-3) will host the Notre Dame Hounds (12-22-3-3) tonight at the Farrell Agencies Arena in a huge game that is scheduled to begin at 8:00p.m.
Should that Harvest win they will clinch the eighth and final playoff position. A loss, however, would put the Hounds just three points back of the Harvest for eighth with three games remaining.