The Yorkton Terriers are in unfamiliar territory based on the last few seasons.
On a four-game winning streak, the Terriers sit atop the Viterra Division of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League based on an early season record of 6-4-1 for 13 points, two up on Weyburn, with Estevan third three points back, and Melville dwelling in the cellar with seven points.
Terrier head coach Mat Hehr said the quick start on the season is a big step for the team.
“It’s definitely been a nice turnaround from last season,” he said.
The difference this year is this edition of the Terriers thinks they can win.
“This year everyone’s confident,” said Hehr. “They have an attitude, win, no matter what it takes.”
It helps that the Terriers have been scoring goals, 51 through 11 games, a league best clip.
Hehr said the ability to score has kept the Terriers in striking distance in games.
Friday the Terriers visited the Kindersley Klippers with the host team taking a lead 3:47 into the contest on a goal by Caden Benson.
Colby Brant tied the score with a short-handed effort at 13:15.
But the Klipper fans would go to the first intermission happy as Cameron Shorrock restored a one-goal lead for Kindersley with a powerplay goal at 14:27.
The second period would have only one goal scored, a game-knotting effort by Terrier Jared Legien.
The game would stay 2-2 through a scoreless third period, pushing the contest to overtime where Chantz Petruic scored the winner for Yorkton 2:08 into extra time.
Ryan Ouellette earned the win in the Terrier net facing 39-shots, with Justen Close taking the loss facing 37-shots.
Saturday the Terriers moved north to play the Battlefords North Stars.
Again the home team took the lead in the first with Austin Becker potting the only goal of the stanza.
At 6:10 of the second period Auden Bulych tied the score for Yorkton.
Cody Bruchkowski scored at 7:41 to give the visiting Terriers their first lead of the game.
Elijah Loon-Stewardson would respond for the Stars scored a powerplay goal at 11:02 to tie the contest 2-2.
Twenty-one seconds later Branden Klatt restored a Terrier lead, but it was short-lived as MacGregor Sinclair again tied the game at 12:29.
The 3-3 tie would hold until 10:36 of the third period when Braydon Buziak gave the Stars a 4-3 lead.
The rest of the contest would swing the Terriers’ way as Quinten Hobbs tied the game 25-seconds later.
Tyson Janzen popped the eventual game-winner at 12:45, with Petruic adding an insurance goal into an empty net with only 12-seconds left in the game.
Ben Laidlaw earned the win in the Terrier net facing 34-shots, while Joel Grzybowski took the loss facing 31.
Hehr said the weekend was a great one for the team as it set a mood of further confidence.
“It’s important to get wins on the road,” he said, adding they gain greater importance early in the season because a team learns it can win away from their own rink.
“Good teams, they learn to win on the road early.”
How the Terriers won the two weekend games was a good sign as well.
“We went down in both games, and came back,” said Hehr. “We’re getting the never quit attitude.”
The Terriers will look to build on their early success in Flin Flon this weekend with games Friday and Saturday.