The Melfort Mustangs made it all the way to the Canalta Cup finals before falling in five games to the Battlfefords North Stars. Overall coach Trevor Blevins was proud of what the team accomplished in spite of losing the SJHL championship.
“We’re really proud of the group getting as far as we did. You know we battled through a lot of adversity and to play as hard as we did to get to a league final it’s a very good accomplishment,” Blevins said.
Overall losing in five games was not the outcome they wanted but there was a difference that decided the series according to Blevins.
“The series itself, I am not one to make excuses. You have got to give credit to Battleford. I felt that their defensive play was the difference in the series. We did a great job laying it on the ice when we had to and even though last game was a7-2 game, it really wasn’t, shots were fairly even and we have a lot of try in our game. Sometimes you have to say it wasn’t meant to be,” he said.
“But extremely proud of how the team played and their effort and their attitude through it. It’s unfortunate that we are done but it wasn’t from a lack of trying,” Blevins added.
The North Stars won their second Canalta Cup in three years with a 7-2 win over the Mustangs on Friday, April 19 in North Battleford.
“Every game was fairly close except the last one. I think the difference was that we gave up too many quality chances and they took advantage. I liked us offensively but I thought we needed to be better defensively and it ended up being the difference in my opinion,” Blevins said.
Battlefords led 3-1 after the first period and 5-2 after the second period.
Justin Ball and Tanner Zentner scored the Mustangs’ goals.
Ball finished the playoffs with 23 points to lead the league like he did in the regular season. Ball also had a penalty shot opportunity in the third period.
Braydon Buziak, Quintin Loon-Stewardson and Macgregor Sinclair each had a pair of goals for the North Stars; Austin Shumanski added the other Battleford’s goal.
Noah Giesbrecht made 29 saves for the Mustangs; Joel Gryzbowski made 32 saves. Gryzbowski was named playoff Most Valuable Player.
In a back-and-forth affair the Mustangs lost their second straight at home 6-5 in overtime to the North Stars to fall behind 3-1 in the Canalta Cup final on Wednesday, April 17. Kaden Boser scored the overtime winner 8:31 into the extra frame for the North Stars.
The North Stars led 2-1 after the first period and 3-2 after the second period.
Blevins liked the pace of the game but not the goals the team gave up but liked the scoring the Mustangs’ did.
“But like I said you score five at home you should win and it didn’t happen,” Blevins said
Carson Albrecht had a pair of goals for the Mustangs; Tyson Meyers, Colin Schmidt and Zentner added the other Melfort goals in regulation. Albrecht tied the game two minutes into the third period.
Elijah Loon-Stewardson had a pair of goals for the North Stars; Buziak, Ryan Granville and Owen Lamb added the other regulation time goals.
Giesbrecht made 37 saves for the Mustangs; Gryzbowski made 36 saves for the North Stars.
The Mustangs fell behind in the Canalta Cup final as the North Stars handed them a 4-2 loss at the Northern Lights Palace on Tuesday, April 16. The Mustangs now trail the North Stars 2-1 in the championship series.
The game was tied 1-1 after the first period and Battlefords led 3-2 after the second period.
The game was the first loss for the Mustangs at the Northern Lights Palace in the playoffs.
Meyers and Ball scored for the Mustangs.
Austin Becker, Regan Doig, Buziak and Quintin Loon-Stewardson responded for the North Stars.
Shawn Parkinson made 21 saves in over 32 minutes of action before being replaced by Noah Giesbrecht who made six saves.
Parkinson went down awkwardly after a North Stars’ player was called for goalie interference in the second period.
The North Stars’ Gryzbowski made 28 saves.