After two games, it may be hard to believe from looking at the shots, but the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Canalta Cup championship series is tied 1-1.
The Humboldt Broncos fired 60 shots at net Friday night, and took a 1-0 series lead with a 4-3 win in overtime.
Neil Landry scored twice for Humboldt and John Lawerence tied the game 3-3 just 12 seconds into the third period. That goal set up overtime and the native of Wilkie, Andrew Herle, scored the game-winning goal, his second of the playoffs.
Weyburn's Mitch Kilgore was busy in net Friday and that didn't change in game two Saturday. After two games, Humboldt has outshot Weyburn 103-41, but the series is tied 1-1. Kilgore stood tall in game two helping Weyburn win 4-2. Jesse Ross scored the game-winning goal, his third of the series for Weyburn.
The Broncos continue with the trend of rotating goaltenders, just as they have done through the playoffs in their series with the Battlefords North Stars and La Ronge Ice Wolves.
Game three and four of the final series will be played Thursday and Friday in Weyburn and will be live on Access7. Game five is scheduled for Tuesday back in Humboldt.
If necessary, game six is Friday, April 13 and game seven would be played April 15 and all games will be shown live to the over 80 Access7 communities in Saskatchewan.
The SJHL has developed a reputation as one of the best junior A hockey leagues in the country, this season is no exception, but many players have gone on to hockey success after junior A. Last week that success of league graduates continued.
At the National Collegiate Athletic Association level, the SJHL is guaranteed to have representation in the national championship game. One semifinal will feature the Union College Dutchmen and the Ferris State Bulldogs.
The Bulldogs have a large contingent of players from the SJHL on their roster. Former Humboldt goaltender Taylor Nelson not only played for Ferris Stars, but he earned Midwest Regionals MVP honours with two 2-1 wins. Nelson had a 19-6-3 record, a 2.14 goals-against average, a .922 save percentage and three shutouts in his senior year.
The top two scorers on the Bulldogs' roster are also SJHL grads.Jordie Johnston, a former La Ronge forward, led the Bulldogs with 19 goals and 34 points in 40 games.Humboldt's Matt Kirzinger was one point back in 39 games.
Former Yorkton defenceman Michael Trebish and former Humboldt and Yorkton forward Justin Buzzeo are also on the Bulldogs' roster.
Union has just one SJHL alumnus in former Yorkton Terrier defenceman Greg Coburn.
The Frozen Four takes place in Tampa Bay April 5 and the final will be April 7.The other semifinal has top ranked Boston College up against Minnesota.
In Canadian college hockey news, the Augustana Vikings are Alberta Colleges Athletic Conference champions. The Vikings have 10 players and one coach with ties to the SJHL.
Former North Stars' coach Blaine Gusdal was behind the bench for the Vikings while the list of players includes: goaltenders Joel Danyluk (Yorkton, La Ronge, Estevan) and David Ritz (Melfort, Estevan) and skaters Dean Prpick (Melfort, Nipawin), Daniel Hope (Melville), Torrie Dyck (Nipawin), Harrison Trible (Melfort), Casey Rempel (Kindersley), Dane Bonish (Melville), Tanner Korchinski (Flin Flon), Richard Dupre (Melville) and Jorden Macswain (Estevan).
At the Canadian Interuniversity Sport level, Evan Vossen, who played three full seasons in the SJHL for La Ronge, was the captain of the University Cup champion McGill Redmen.
Two other, more recent, Ice Wolves' grads also won the national championship with McGill. Dan Conacher played two seasons with the Ice Wolves and Justin Ducharme spent last season in La Ronge. They now have CIS championships to accompany their SJHL and Anavet championships.