Maguire Ratzlaff had a hat-trick while Jake Smith scored the game winner with 1:30 left to go, and the Nipawin Hawks stole a 7-5 victory at the Westland Insurance Arena. Dylan Ruptash and Maddux each had a pair of goals, while Greg Nelson had a three point night for the Terriers.
After no scoring in the first period, both teams combined for six second period goals. Nipawin opened the scoring 1:16 into the second frame with a shot from a tight angle from Alex Ochitwa that flew over the shoulder of Caleb Allen. The Nipawin lead only lasted eight seconds. Nelson wired a shot towards the goal which Nollski got his stick on, deflecting it past Nolan McDowell, tying the game at 1-1. A power-play marker put the Terriers in front less than four minutes into the frame. Cade Kennedy found Ruptash on the back door, and the Edmonton product made no mistake with the empty net, scoring his third goal of the season. Hawks tied the game on a 5-on-3 power-play opportunity of their own. Ratzlaff threw the puck on goal from the right face-off circle, which bounced off the far pad of Allen, and snuck its way into the goal, knotting the game at 2-2. Terriers immediately responded after killing off a five minute major penalty. A lead feed from Brett Butz found a wide open Ruptash, fresh out of the penalty box for a breakaway, and the rookie forward deked out McDowell lifting the puck past the net-minder to give Yorkton a 3-2 lead. Terriers increased their lead before the end of the frame. After Nelson had a shot blocked, the ricochet landed on the stick of Nollski, who struck for his second goal of the game and third of the season, to make it 4-2 Yorkton. Allen ensured the two goal lead carried into the intermission, after not just one, but two unbelievable saves in the final minute of play.
Another six goals were scored in the third period, but it was a frame that the Terriers will want to forget. Nipawin cut the Yorkton lead to one on the power-play. Francois-Xavier Bedard found a wide-open Carson Dobson, and the Plenty, Saskatchewan product made no mistake, beating Allen to make it 4-3. The Hawks tied the game at four. A collision between two Terrier defenders allowed Ratzlaff to break in uncontested on Yorkton’s goal, and the SJHL leading goal scorer netted his second of the game with a shot through the legs of Allen. Yorkton got a breakaway of their own and scored to once again take the lead. Nelson split the defence at centre ice before sliding a puck past McDowell, giving the Terriers a 5-4 lead with 6:00 left to go. After that, the Hawks took full control of the game. Zander Stewart set up Ratzlaff for his hat-trick marker on the power-play to tie the game at 5-5 with two minutes to go. Then with a 1:30 left, Dobson picked up a loose puck shorthanded and found a wide open Jake Smith, who slid the puck past Allen to make it 6-5. The Hawks added an empty net marker custody of Joel Mabin, taking home a 7-5 win.
It’s a quick turnaround for the Terriers as they are back in action Wednesday night when the La Ronge Ice Wolves come to town. The game will be broadcast of the GX 94 alternate stream with the pre-game show at 6:50pm and play-by-play at 7:00pm.