The Yorkton Terriers wrapped up their SJHL regular season with a pair of wins, one at home and the last game on the road.
The Terriers clinched second place in the Sherwood Conference standings Wednesday night with a 4-1 win over the visiting LaRonge Ice Wolves in their last home game of the regular season at the Farrell Agencies arena. The win gave the Terriers home ice advantage over their opponents in the first round of the playoffs. Home ice advantage means the Terriers will play the first and, if necessary, seventh game of the upcoming series with their Highway 10 rivals, the Melville Millionaires, at home.
Terrier captain Riley Paterson opened the scoring early in the first period with a powerplay goal assisted by Keven Cann and Brady Norrish.
Ryon Sookro added Yorkton's second goal late in the period assisted by Kailum Gervais and Jeremy Johnson.
Jared Iron scored the lone goal of the second period which pulled the Wolves within one goal of the Terriers.
Jeremy Johnson scored Yorkton's third goal midway through the third period assisted by Brent Struble and Riley Paterson.
Tanner LeSann, a recent call-up from the Yorkton Harvest, capped the game scoring with his first SJHL goal assisted by Cann and Dakota Odgers, also a recent call-up from the Midget AAA Harvest.
Saturday night a pair of first period goals and another pair in the third period handed a 4-1 win to the visiting Yorkton Terriers over the home team, the Notre Dame Hounds, at the Duncan McNeill Arena.
Johnson opened the scoring late in the opening frame assisted by Paterson.
Chase Norrish added Yorkton's second goal with about a minute and a half remaining in the first period assisted by Johnson and Cann.
Greg Ferguson scored the lone goal of the second period for Notre Dame.
Sookro notched Yorkton's third goal early in the final frame assisted by Sam Rockwell and Curtis Oliver.
Devon McMullen capped the game scoring midway through the period with the Terriers' fourth goal assisted by Sookro.
Yorkton Terrier head coach Trent Cassan says right from start to finish it's been a long, but good regular season. He says he's had a good group of players and a very good staff to work with. He's liked the development he's seen in the younger players, their sense of responsibility and the way they've responded to it.
Cassan believes the opening period was a carryover from the previous game against the Ice Wolves. "We knew that if we're moving our feet and skating well and are physical we could be effective," he claims. Terrier captain Riley Paterson's first goal certainly helped. Both Paterson and Struble stepped up and elevated their game, he suggests.
"You play every game to win," Cassan says of Saturday's final regular season game against the Notre Dame Hounds. The Terriers currently have some injured players. "That's when you run into problems and develop bad habits and guys get hurt when you go into games too laid back or too nonchalant," he states.
While he can't predict how soon his injured players will be ready to get back into the game, Cassan is pleased with the performance of some of the younger guys who appear able to step into the playoffs right away if needed. He plans to have several young Terrier list players from the Harvest practice with the team to prepare them for possible playoff opportunities.
Cassan predicts the upcoming playoff series with the Millionaires will be exciting and emotional. As a player in two such series previously, he remembers the excitement they generated
Despite the emotion, Cassan urges fans to recognize these are young players who are working their hardest and giving their best effort.
Looking back at the season, each team has won in the other's rink. As the series runs longer, home ice advantage may be a factor, says Cassan. But home ice advantage can change pretty quickly too, he points out.
It doesn't matter who is involved in the games, playoff series are always physical, he suggests. It's expected that some players will get hurt, he closes.