It was a battle in Humboldt on Saturday night, but the Nipawin Hawks escaped by the skin of their teeth to take a 2-0 series lead against the Broncos.
Grant Baetsen scored a pair of goals, including the game winner with less than three minutes left to give the Hawks a big 3-1 win in game two.
Head Coach & GM Doug Johnson says their previous playoff experience helped secure the victory on the road.
“I think Humboldt really put the pressure on us,” Johnson says. “We had our returners, our old guys really step up and were able to help weather the storm. [Baetsen] makes a nice play, Tanner Reynolds getting the puck on instead of just throwing it low.”
Kristian Stead proved why he was named SJHL MVP and Top Goalie, as he made 39 saves on the evening and has stopped 62 of 64 shots so far in the series.
Johnson says the goalies stole the show on Saturday, including Humboldt’s Garrett Mason who made 33 stops.
“Mason had a phenomenal night too,” he says. “First period I think we had two breakaways, in the third period we had a three-on-one and a partial breakaway, some backdoor plays that we finish more often than not. Right now we’re just a bit snake bit at times and a couple of guys just need to get that monkey off their back.”
Brett Harasymuk added an empty-net goal to give him a three point performance on Saturday.
Johnson adds it was a gutsy effort from all players involved on Saturday night.
“We did a nice job I thought of generating chances off the rush at times but we never slowed the game down,” he says. “We grinded it out, and I think that was the difference from [Friday] night to [Saturday]. I thought [Friday] you just had that feeling that we weren’t going to lose, you just knew it. [Saturday] it was a little closer and Stead had to make some huge saves for us.”
Nipawin now has a chance to extend their quarterfinals series lead to 3-0 on Tuesday night, as the series shifts back to the Cage.
We’ll have the pre-game show for game three on Winmar Tisdale SJHL Hockey on CK750 starting at 7:15 pm.
On Monday, the Battlefords North Stars will go for a 3-0 series lead as the face the Red Wings in Weyburn.