Kishaun Gervais had the game winner 5:54 in double overtime as the Yorkton Terriers defeated the Melfort Mustangs 4-3 to tie up their quarterfinal series at one. Zach McIntyre and Karsten Kruska each had a two point night, while Kael DePape made 45 saves in the win.
Despite early pressure from the Mustangs, the Terriers opened the scoring. JD Hall found a wide open Cade Kennedy in the slot, who wired a shot top corner past Joel Favreau for his first career SJHL goal. Melfort responded quickly. A wrist shot from Boston Maxwell at the point bounced off the shin pad of Parker Jasper and alluded DePape, tying the game at 1-1. Two minutes later, the Terriers regained their lead with their first power-play opportunity of the night. A mad scramble in Favreau’s crease saw the puck slide to McIntyre, and the 20-year-old Rhein, Saskatchewan product fired it over top of the crowd into the cage, giving Yorkton a 2-1 lead. Another power-play opportunity, another goal for the Yorkton Terriers. This time, a shot from McIntyre was stopped by Favreau, only for the puck to squeeze through the goaltender’s equipment, and Karsten Kruska jumped on a loose puck in the crease, jamming it home, to make it 3-1 in favour of Yorkton. There was one more goal before the end of the first period. With less than a minute to go, a Leyton Holoien shot was stopped by DePape, and before the Yorkton net-minder could cover up the rebound, Marco Lopez reached in, tapping the puck through the legs of DePape to make it 3-2 after 20 minutes of play.
The second period was tough and tumble hockey, as expected in the playoffs. Both teams combined for 35 penalty minutes in the second frame alone. Highlighting the penalties was a game misconduct to Mustangs’ defender Lucas Ochitwa for a blow to the head of Erik Boers. It is the second straight game that a Mustang has been ejected from a hockey game. There was also lengthy delay after a bizarre moment in the penalty box. As Jasper was sitting in the penalty box, the rink attendant accidentally bumped the glass out of its holder causing it to fall and shatter in the Yorkton penalty box. No one was injured and the game was paused to allow the rink staff to clean up the mess. Among all the chaos, there was a goal in the middle frame. Melfort struck on a power-play of their own in the final minute of play, when a point shot from Curtis Hammond was deflected past DePape by Lopez, tying the game at 3-3.
The scoring dried up for a lengthy time, thanks to some superb goaltending from both teams. DePape had the save of the third period with less than 3 minutes to go. A back door pass found Dawson Leroux and DePape came flying across to rob the Lethbridge product. In the first overtime period, it was the Joel Favreau show. The Terriers threw 20 shots on the the 19-year-old, and Favreau stopped every one, including a ten bell save on McIntyre with the right pad in the middle stages of overtime.
Finally, in the second overtime a hero was born. A good fore-check from Logan Cyca and Clay Sleeva forced a Mustang turnover and Cyca threw a centering feed to Gervais. The Keeseekoose First Nation was stopped on his first opportunity, but Gervais got the rebound, fired it off the shoulder of Favreau, who could only watch the puck float over him and into the Mustang net for a 4-3 Yorkton victory.
The Terriers return home with home ice advantage in the series. Games 3 and 4 will be at the Westland Insurance Arena on Tuesday and Wednesday nights. GX 94 and FOX FM in conjunction with Legacy Co-Op will be holding a tailgate party at the Westland Insurance Arena which starts at 6:30pm, while Thorsness Appliance and Bed Store has provided a guaranteed 50/50 jackpot of $2,000. GX 94 will also broadcast the games with the pre-game show starting at 7:20pm and play-by-play kicking off at 7:30pm.