MELFORT — The Melfort Mustangs came from behind twice to grab a 2-0 lead in their Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League semifinals series against the Estevan Bruins.
The Mustangs won game one 6-2 after trailing 2-0 on Friday. The following night Melfort rebounded from a 1-0 deficit to prevail 3-1.
After the Mustangs swept the opening two games at the Northern Lights Palace, the series turned to Estevan. Games three and four were to be played on Tuesday and Wednesday at Affinity Place. Results were not available by the Recorder’s deadline.
If needed, game five will be played tomorrow in Melfort. If the series continues after that, Estevan would host game six on Sunday with a game seven on Tuesday in Melfort.
Melfort advanced to the SJHL semis by beating Kindersley 4-1. Although the Mustangs’ series was the only one in the semifinals that didn’t go the distance, it was a battle. Four games were decided by a goal, with one going to overtime.
The Bruins made it to semifinals by defeating the Humboldt Broncos 3-2, in overtime in game seven. Estevan had held home ice advantage in their quarter-final series because the team won the Viterra Division regular season title. In the semifinals, the teams are seeded based on regular season points, so Melfort’s 78 (37-17-4-0) gave them the higher seed over Estevan, who had 67 with a 31-22-3-2 record.
In game one, Estevan led 1-0 after the first period and took a 2-0 lead in the second session. Then the Mustangs offence exploded. Melfort scored four times in just over seven minutes in the second period to take a 4-2 lead. Kenzie Arnold led the way as he scored twice in the second frame. The 19-year-old from Dodsland had four points on the night.
Mustangs captain Carson Albrecht capped the game with a pair of third-period goals, including an empty netter. Colin Schmidt recorded three points, while Zach Anderson had two.
In game two, neither team scored in the first period. The Bruins got on the board first in the second period with a goal by Jayden Davis. Their lead was short lived as 17 seconds later Tanner Zentner redirected a shot from Nolan Kadachuk into the net. That tied the game up at 1-1.
The Bruins spent much of their energy killing off penalties. For the game, the Mustangs had six power-play chances. While they did not score on them, the power plays seemed to help keep the Bruins’ offence at bay.
At even strength, Albrecht executed a nice toe drag shot to give his team a 2-1 lead in the third period. Justin Ball redirected a Kadachuk point shot later in the period to put the Mustangs up 3-2.
Noah Giesbrecht has been strong in net for the Mustangs. He only allowed three goals in the semifinals’ first two games. Through six playoff games, Giesbrecht had a 1.83 goals against average and a .941 save percentage. In game two of the semis, he held the Bruins at bay by stopping a partial break in the third period and two in-close chances.