It took three games but the Yorkton Bantam UCT Terriers finally put away their pesky Highway 10 rivals on Saturday in a big way, beating the Melville Millionaires 8-2 at the Farrell Agencies Arena just one night after Mils’ defenceman Carson Sass scored in triple overtime to ensure the series went the distance.
Carson Welke led the Yorkton offence in the series clinching win on Saturday, chalking up two goals and an assist, while his twin brother McKenzie picked up a pair of points with a goal and an assist.
Five other UCT Terriers also found the back of the net with Carson Miller, Keenan Taphorn, Reid Perepeluk, Kaeden Taphorn and Derrick Budz beating the Mils goaltending duo of Dylan Sies and Riley Kohonick throughout the game.
Alex Geddes registered the win, his fourth of the playoffs, while Sies shouldered the loss for Melville, allowing five goals in just over 37 minutes of action.
Kaeden Taphorn opened the scoring for Yorkton just 55 seconds into the game when he fired the puck past Sies on a scramble play in front of the Melville net.
The UCT Terriers upped their lead to two less than a minute later as Perepeluk carried the puck into the zone, circled the Mils net and snapped the puck on goal. Sies stopped 90% of the shot, however the remaining 10% squeaked between his body and his blocker to cross the goal line and give Yorkton a 2-0 lead.
The Mils nearly got on the board late in the period via the powerplay, but Alex Geddes made an outstanding glove save to keep Melville scoreless after one period of play.
Melville eventually got their goal in the second period, however.
Mils blueliner Trey Bear chased down a loose puck and fired it past Geddes on a partial breakaway to cut the Terriers lead to just one.
McKenzie Welke restored the Terriers’ two goal lead with just over six and a half minutes remaining in the second period when he took the puck from his brother Carson, spun and rifled the puck past Sies to make it 3-1.
The UCT Terriers put the game to bed later in the second period with three goals in 58 seconds, the first two beating Sies while the third one found its way past new Mils netminder Riley Kohonick to make it 6-1 after 40 minutes.
Colby Holloway got the Mils’ second goal of the game early in the third period, however a pair of Terriers goals, one each by Carson Welke and Keenan Taphorn, left no doubt about the outcome of the game as the UCT Terriers took game three by a convincing 8-2 score.
After the game, victorious head coach Graham Garrett felt that his team dominated game three in large part due to what they did in game two, despite losing game two 4-3 in triple overtime. “I thought in game two, even though we lost, we accomplished something and that was wearing down their team,” offered Garrett. “Then we got two goals quick on them and took them out of the game quickly in game three.
“We let them back in the game for a little bit in the second but by the end of the second our forwards were able to attack their defence with speed, something we hadn’t been able to in the first two games.”
While an 8-2 win is extremely impressive, Garrett felt the need to credit the Mils on a well-played series noting “They played extremely well and stuck to their game plan” all throughout the three game series.
Games one and two
Four different UCT Terriers, Kaleb Bulych, Keanan Sperling, Derrick Budz and Carson Miller, scored in game one at the Farrell Agencies Arena on Tuesday, March fourth in a 4-2 game one victory.
Colby Holloway and Rin Beny managed to get the two Mils markers in the game, however the boys from Melville could not find another way to solve Alex Geddes, despite putting 15 more shots on net meaning Geddes stopped 15 of 17 Mils shots.
Mils goaltender Riley Kohonick was slightly busier than his Terrier counterpart, stopping 22 of 25 shots on goal in the game one loss.
Both teams had their powerplay working in Game Two, with Yorkton going 2-for-2, while Melville failed to click on just one man advantage, going 2-for-3 in the game that took place on Friday, March seventh in Melville’s Horizon Credit Union Centre.
However it was an even strength goal just three minutes into the third overtime that decided the game as Mils defenceman Carson Sass moved in on Geddes and beat the Terrier netminder to send the series back to Yorkton for the third and final game.
Colby Holloway, Jordan Mish and Connor Baber also scored for the Mils in the win while Carson Welke, Carson Miller and Derrick Budz replied in a losing effort for Yorkton.
Geddes shouldered the loss in the UCT Terrier net stopping 26 of 30 Melville shots while Dylan Sies picked up the well-deserved win between the Mils’ pipes, turning aside 47 of 50 Terriers shots over the triple overtime game.
With the hard fought three game series victory over and Melville in the distant past, the Yorkton bantam UCT Terriers can now focus on the future.
But what does the future hold, exactly?
It holds an SBAAHL South Division final series against the only team that was able to beat Yorkton twice all season long, the first place Prairie Storm. “Well it’s definitely going to be a battle,” said the UCT Terriers bench boss. “Their strength is their defence and their goaltending, which was also Melville’s strength so it’s going to be about us trying to do the same thing to them as we did to Melville. Get pucks deep, wear them down and try and win that fatigue battle.”
Luckily for the Terriers though, some of their players, seven to be exact, have had some recent success against the top Prairie Storm netminder Jordan Schmuland while competing at the Saskatchewan Winter Games when Team Parkland Valley beat Schmuland’s Team South East 8-4 to win the gold. Something that Garrett believes will benefit his team heading in to the South final. “They (the seven players) seen him (Schmuland) a little bit more so they might know some things that maybe can beat him but in the end it’s going to be about us getting a lot of shots with a lot of traffic and putting a lot of pressure on them in their blue ice,” offered Garrett, continuing, “However they were able to beat him there so that should give them a little more confidence head into the series.”
That series will start tomorrow when the UCT Terriers travel to the Balgonie Stardome for game one of the Best-of-Three South Division finals.
Game two will take place on Sunday, March 16 when the Yorkton UCT Terriers host the Prairie Storm at the Farrell Agencies Arena for a 3:30p.m. start.