The quarter finals round between the Yorkton Terriers and Nipawin Hawks is certainly a classic offence versus defence match-up.
The Nipawin Hawks had the best record in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League through the regular season with 81 points on a record of 38-14-2-3, with a winning percentage of .698, topping the Sherwood Division.
The Terriers were second in the Viterra Division with 63 points, based on a record of 31-26-1, and a winning percentage of .543.
The Terrier offence was good through the regular season scoring 242 goals, which was a league best. By comparison, the Hawks scored 159 goals only 10th best in the SJHL.
Defensively the Hawks allowed the fewest goals in the league at 118, while the Terriers allowed 234, which was 10th overall.
Not surprisingly the Hawks netminding tandem topped the league in goals against average, Declan Hobbs at 1.84 and Patrick Pugliese at 1.95. The duo topped in save percentage too, with Hobbs at .937 and Pugliese at .931.
Ryan Ouellette of the Terriers was 15th at 3.72, with Andrew Henderson 13th at 3.39. Henderson had a regular season save percentage of .902, with Ouellette at .897.
On offence Chantz Petruic led the Terriers with 84 points, with Jared Legien, Branden Klatt and Colby Brandt all having 65.
By contrast Austen Flaman led the Hawks with 44 points, while Jordan Simoneau and Jake Tremblay each had 33.
Terrier head coach Mat Hehr said having played the Hawks late in the season is a good thing headed to the series’ first game in Nipawin.
“We’re kind of familiar with them,” he said.
Going into the series Hehr said home ice will be huge especially since the Hawks are tough to play in their building, where they had a league leading 21-home wins.
“That barn is hard to play in. It’s a little show box,” he said.
With that in mind Hehr said a focus of film work and practise was going to be on how to generate offence early.
“We’ve got to find a way to go ahead early,” he said.
The goal headed to Nipawin is a simple one, find a way to split the first two games of the series in their rink, and then use the Farrell Agencies Arena crowds to win at home, said Hehr. The Terriers won 17 of their games at home during the regular season, and two wild card games to get past Notre Dame.
For their part the Hawks won 19 road games, tied for the league best with Kindersley.
The series begins tonight at the Centennial Arena in Nipawin, with game two scheduled for Saturday.
The series switches to the Farrell Agencies Arena in Yorkton for games three and four of the best-of-seven series Tuesday and Wednesday.
The other three quarter finals are;
#2 Battlefords vs #7 Flin Flon
#3 Estevan vs #6 Humboldt
#4 Melfort vs #5 Kindersley