Story Coming In:
The Yorkton Terriers had a strong finish to the 2021/22 SJHL season. Winning seven of their final eight games, the Terriers climbed into 6th place in the league, for a date with the Melfort Mustangs in the SJHL quarterfinals. The offense has started clicking as of late, scoring four or more goals in all eight of their final regular season games. The scoring has also come from different players. Karsten Kruska had a seven game point streak, Carson Henry had a six game point streak, while Tanner Sklaruk enters the playoffs with a six game point streak, and Zach McIntyre has points in five straight. The power-play has also improved with goals in eight of their last 10 games. In a game where special teams will play a big factor, a clicking power-play will be important for the orange and gray.
View From Melfort:
The hottest team entering the playoffs is the Melfort Mustangs. On a ten game point streak, Melfort won eight games in a row to close out the season and clinch a Sherwood Division title. Nolan Doell has led the way wrapping up the year with an eight game point streak, while Joel Favreau is returning from injury and hoping to re-establish himself as the Mustangs number one in goal. The power-play has found its groove in Melfort, launching itself to a league best 22.8% conversation rate. With a penalty kill unit ranked 4th place in the SJHL, the Mustangs boast one of the best special teams units in the league. However, if the season series is any indicator for the playoffs, those numbers might not matter. Melfort only scored three times on 24 power-play opportunities, while giving up six power-play goals on 19 chances. Both teams also appear to be evenly matched, despite not playing each other since December 3rd. If the experts are to be believed, this series has all the potential to go the distance.
The Guy With The Big Stick:
The biggest x-factor of the series is Kael DePape. How the rookie net-minder fares in goal for Yorkton will determine the Terriers’ fate. DePape has been a revelation for the Terriers this season, and if it wasn’t for him, Yorkton would not be in the playoffs. Sure, the 18-year-old has had his ups and downs, as with any rookie, but DePape has given Yorkton a chance to win night in and night out. With wins in six of his last eight outings, DePape has provided a strong backbone that the Terriers can count on. He can steal games, as shown early in the season, and he can provide strong play to keep his team in front, as shown in the latter stages of the year. DePape has also given up no more than two goals a game against the Mustangs this season. If he continues posting those numbers, the Terriers could easily come away with a series victory over Melfort.
Tale of the Tape
Yorkton Terriers (29-22-1-6 – 65 points) Melfort Mustangs (34-15-4-5 – 77 points)
2nd Viterra Division/ 6th SJHL 1st Sherwood Division/ 3rd SJHL
Powerplay: 30/218 – 13.8% (9th SJHL) Powerplay: 62/272 – 22.8% (1st SJHL)
Penalty Kill: 219/253 – 86.6% (3rd SJHL) Penalty Kill: 237/276 – 85.9% (4th SJHL)
Last Ten: 7-2-0-1 Streak: 2-0-0-0 Last Ten: 9-0-1-0 Streak: 9-0-1-0
Stats Leaders For Yorkton:
Goals: Gervais (22)
Assists: Norum (28)
Points: Gervais (43)
PIM: Norum (94)
Goalie: DePape 22-15-0-5, 2.32, 0.915%, 4 SO