Seven of the eight series kicked off last night around the province as the SHA semifinals are underway. As the games progress one would expect the competition to tighten up, but if last night is any indication we will be in for a quick round.
Balgonie 0 at Bethune 8: The depth and defense of the Bulldogs proved to be too much for Balgonie to handle, as the Bisons were thumped in game one of the southern A final. Bethune picked up goals from Ulmer, Chow and Ross in the first 20, setting the tone by outshooting Balgonie 15 – 10. In the second, the Bulldogs turned up the pressure, firing 16 shots on net, upping their lead to 7 – 0, thanks to markers from Ross (second on the night), Kot, Van Luven and Lang. In the third Ryan Senft turned aside the seven shots he faced to secure the shutout, while Ulmer added his second of the night, to make the final 8 to 0. Game two goes in Balgonie on Friday the 13th.
Hague 0 at Lanigan 6: In Lanigan, the Pirates were looking to dump a second FCHL opponent after they ousted the Shellbrook Elks last round. Things started well for the home side, as Tyson Hobbins scored what would be the game winning goal on his first shift of the night. Bryn Smith made it 2 – 0 for the Pirates before Hague had registered a shot on goal, however the Royals would start skating, and eventually began putting pucks on the Lanigan goal. In the second period, Lanigan went up 3 on a powerplay marker from Dean Beucker and with 6 seconds left in the frame, Brandon Herrod added another to make it 4 – 0 after 40. In the final period Evan Bryksa and Travis Statchuk rounded out the scoring, and David Reekie fought through the traffic to preserve the shutout, as the Pirates romped 6 – 0. Game two will be played in Hague on Friday the 13th.
Rosetown 7 at Drake 3: The Redwings came into Drake determined to put on a better showing than they did against Watrous in the previous round, as they were not satisfied with their level of play, even though they picked up the series win. The Canucks had looked unstoppable to this point in B play, so there were many unknowns coming into game one. In the first, Rosetown had the advantage, outshooting Drake 18 – 12, scoring a pair, only to have the Canucks register two of their own from Doug McLeod and Maverick Gusikoski, ending the first knotted at 2. In the second, Rosetown picked up goals from Kyle Ireland and Jared Jagow, while Andy Blanke’s goal for Drake kept the home side within one goal heading into the third. In the final frame, Jordan Johnston, Brett Leedahl and Jared Jagow, with his second on the night, put the game out of reach, as the Wings picked up a big road win to open the series. Game two will be played back in Rosetown on Friday 13th.
Assiniboia 3 at Rocanville 7: The question coming into this series was if Assiniboia could continue their strong play on the road, as they had gone 2 – 0 in their previous series, outscoring their opponents 11 – 4. Rocanville on the other hand, had a strong showing in their one home contest, hammering Langenburg 6 – 2, so something had to give. And give it did, to the tune of a 7 – 3 drubbing of the Sr. Rebels at the hands of the Tigers. Should the Rebels prevail at home on Friday the 13th, they would be able to grab the series momentum and use their fine road play to possibly steal the series in Roc-city.
Radville 5 at Bredenbury 3: The Nationals rolled up Highway 16 to face the Bredenbury Cougars in game one of their provincial C semifinal Saturday afternoon. The Cougars had been playing well at home, going 2 – 0, outscoring their opponents 14 – 4 in the process, while the Nats, on the other hand, had been perfect on the road during the SHA annual tournament. In the first, Radville jumped in front, holding a 1 – 0 lead after 20 minutes. In the second, the Cougars were overwhelmed by the Nationals, as they were outscored 4 – 1 in the period, and after 40 minutes, Bredenbury was staring at a 5 – 1 deficit. In the third, the Cougars made it respectable, potting two goals to make the final 5 – 3. Bredenbury must now try to win on the road on Saturday 14th if they wish to force a third and deciding game back at home.
Hudson Bay 2 at Wilkie 8: The Hunters would not be blamed for a slow start as a five and half hour drive across central Saskatchewan would give anyone “bus legs”. Couple that with a delay to open the contest as a pane of glass was broken during warm ups, and it would seem that Hudson Bay was doomed before the game even started. To the home fans’ surprise, it was the Hunters who came out flying, scoring the game’s first goal as O Canada was still resonating in the rafters. Hudson Bay took a 2 – 0 lead half way through the opening frame, only to see the Outlaws roar back with three of their own, sending the teams to their locker rooms with Wilkie holding a 3 – 2 edge. In the second period the Outlaws found the back of the net 6 minutes in and then again as the middle frame wound down. Entering the third with a 5 – 2 lead, Wilkie continued to apply pressure, lighting the lamp three more times as they cruised to an 8 – 2 game one win. The return match takes place in Hudson Bay on Saturday 14th, where Wilkie is hoping to close out the series as they try to defend their provincial C title.
Gull Lake 3 at Avonlea 4: The Greyhounds had been scoring at a 6 goals/game clip in provincials this year, and after the first period in Avonlea it looked as though this pace would hold up. In the opening 20 minutes, the Greyhounds were able to grab the early lead and as the buzzer sounded they skated off with a 2 – 0 lead. In the second, the Arrows were able to rebound, outscoring the Hounds 3 – 1, and after 40, the defending champs had the game tied 3 – 3. In the third, the action continued back and forth as the teams traded chances. With overtime looming, the Greyhounds took an ill-timed penalty, sending Avonlea to the powerplay, where they had gone 2 for 3 during the game. With 3:00 minutes left the Arrows were able to score their third goal with the man advantage, giving them a one goal lead that would stand up as the difference. Game two goes today at 2:00 in Gull Lake and should be a wonderful match up as the Greyhounds try to stave off elimination.