It was a game that came down to the wire, but the Yorkton Terriers knocked off the Estevan Bruins 5-4 during their home opener to improve to 2-0. Aiden Knutson, and Pavel McKenzie scored their first career SJHL goals, while Maddux Nollski was one of three Terriers who had a two point night.
Terriers opened the scoring on the power-play early in the first. Dylan Ruptash found a wide-open McKenzie in the slot, who made no mistake to make it 1-0 Yorkton. The Bruins responded on a power-play of their own in this penalty filled contest. A seeing eye pass from Liam Lucas found an unmarked Jagjeevan Phangura on the back-door, and the Burnaby, BC product made no mistake for his first ever Junior A goal. The special teams battle continued, as the Terriers struck with 1:50 left in the first. Knuston fed a pass to Karsten Kruska who went one-on-one on Cam Hrdlicka, beating the Estevan keeper to restore the Terriers lead.
Yorkton jumped all over Estevan to start the second period. Nollski forced a turnover at the Bruins’ blue-line and made no mistake, wiring a shot over the blocker of Hrdlicka to make it 3-1 Yorkton. The Terriers turned up the heat through the second and they would get rewarded in the dying seconds of the middle frame. Nollski broke into the Estevan zone and on a wraparound attempt, he put it off the post, only for Greg Nelson to scoop up the rebound and rip it home to extend Yorkton’s lead to 4-1.
The Bruins wouldn’t go away quietly in the third period. Early on, Kade Runke struck shorthanded to cut the Terriers’ lead in half at 4-2. Caleb Allen made a couple of big saves, but the Bruins found the back of the net again. A shot from Alex Von Sprecken took an unfortunate bounce off a Yorkton defender and ricocheted past Allen to make it a one goal game. Less than a minute later, the Terriers replied. Jackson McDonnell pulled away two Estevan defenders and found a wide-open Knutson, who stepped into the slot and fired a shot past Hrdlicka. Knutson’s first career SJHL goal made it 5-3. The Bruins struck on the power-play with 1:04 left on the clock to make it interesting. Alex Blanchard received a feed from Aleksa Babic and wired it past Allen to make it 5-4. Estevan pressed, but the Terriers stood tall to preserve the victory.
Yorkton now turn their focus to Wednesday night, when they play host to the Weyburn Red Wings. The game will be broadcast on GX 94 with the pre-game show starting at 6:50pm and play-by-play beginning at 7:00pm.