The Yorkton Terriers and Nipawin Hawks are down to a best-of-60-minutes series Tuesday.
The Hawks, the top team in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League in the regular season forced a seventh and deciding game in their best-of-seven series with the Terriers with a 3-1 win at the Farrell Agencies Arena Sunday evening.
The hometown Terriers headed into the game with a chance to finish off the Hawks, and jumped out to a lead when Cody Dubas scored the only goal of the first period at 14:16.
But that would be it for the Terrier offence as Nipawin netminder Patrick Pugliese shut the door the rest of the way, allowing only the one goal on 41-shots.
Terrier head coach Mat Hehr said he was satisfied with his team’s performance early.
“I thought we had a good 30-minutes. I was happy with it. I thought we were controlling the game,” he said.
The Hawk offence found the mark at 10:44 of the second as Christian Bosa tied the contest at one apiece.
It was 3:09 later when Josh Lester scored what would be the eventual game winner to give Nipawin a 2-1 through 40-minutes of play.
Hehr said the Terriers didn’t respond well to the two quick goals. He said they generated shots, 41 in the end, but too many were from the perimetre. He said outside shots are not bad as they often lead to rebounds in the crease, or slot.
“There were a lot of pucks just sitting there and we weren’t getting to them,” he said.
Hehr added the Hawks did a good job limiting chances by the Terriers.
“They just clog up and take away the middle,” he said, adding they play close to the opposition “so there’s no space to be creative with the puck.”
Twenty-seven seconds into the third an unassisted goal by Carson Erhardt rounded out the scoring at 3-1 to set up a game seven in Nipawin Tuesday.
Ryan Ouellette was in the Terrier net taking the loss facing 27-shots.
In the end Hehr said the Terriers did not play a full game.
“I think the way we came out, (to start the game), if we had played a full 60-minutes like that, we probably win the game.”
Hehr expects the Terriers to battle hard in game seven.
“We have nine guys leaving the organization when the season is over, obviously they’re showing up and leaving it all on the line,” he said, adding he expects the rest of the team to rally to the cause to extend the season for the graduating veterans.