It was a heated affair, but the Yorkton Terriers clinched a berth into the 2022 Canalta Cup playoffs with a 6-4 victory over the Nipawin Hawks. Kishaun Gervais led the way with a four point night, while Tresor Wotton made 24 saves in the win.
The Terriers struck early in the game. Karsten Kruska found a wide open Gervais streaking towards the Nipawin net, and the 20-year-old picked the top corner over the shoulder of Chase Hamm. Gervais scored again 1:08 later. Released on a breakaway thanks to another great pass from Kruska, Gervais slid the puck through the legs of Hamm for his 20th goal of the season, making it 2-0 Yorkton. The Terriers increased their lead on the power-play. With a two man advantage, Tanner Sklaruk stepped into the slot firing a snap shot into the top corner for his 9th goal of the year to make it 3-0. Shortly after a spirited scrap between Steven Norum and and Evan Bortis, the Hawks found their way onto the scoreboard. On an odd man rush, Ranon Joseph beat Wotton with a short side shot for his first career SJHL goal to make it 3-1 after 20 minutes of play.
Yorkton regained their three goal advantage early in the second period. A point shot by Cole Buehler hit a Hawk, fooling Chase Hamm for Buehler’s first career SJHL goal. The 4-1 goal chased Hamm from the game. Nipawin responded later in the second. A big bounce of the backboards found its way onto the stick of Zander Stewart who stirred it through Wotton to make it 4-2. Joel Mabin had a chance to cut the Terriers lead to one, but Wotton denied the forward from Lethbridge with a glove save to maintain the two goal advantage. Yorkton found themselves on another 5-on-3 power-play. Gervais and Erik Boers were denied by Harmon Laser-Hume, before the puck slid to Zach McIntyre who unleashed a blast to the back of the net, making it a 5-2 game.
Early in the third period, Yorkton further extended their lead. Gervais was sprung on a breakaway, short-handed, and he completed the hat-trick with a snipe over the shoulder of Laser-Hume to make it 6-2. Nipawin wouldn’t go away. An odd man rush saw Wotton stop the first effort from Rylan Lefebvre before Jake Smith followed up the rebound, poking it past the Yorkton net-minder. Nipawin made it a 6-4 game after a great individual play from Braxton Buckberger, who danced around three Yorkton defenders before beating Wotton, to wrap up the scoring.
With the win, the Terriers find themselves tied with the La Ronge Ice Wolves for 6th place in the SJHL. Yorkton returns to action on Tuesday when they wrap up their three game road trip against the Weyburn Red Wings. Puck drop from Crescent Point Place will be at 7:30pm.