The Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings came into Friday night's game against the Humboldt Broncos in a bit of a slump. They hadn't picked up a win in December and were winless in their last three. The squad was hoping they could break the skid in the final road game of the calendar year but would be up against a formidable opponent, as the Broncos had won both of the previous matchups this season, including a 10-1 win in Humboldt in October.
The Red Wings, though, came out determined to get the win on the road and got off on the right foot early. They would go on to hold on for a 5-4 victory.
The scoring started as Braigh LeGrandeur scored his second of the season. The goal from the Lethbridge-born 19-year-old, coming at 9:32 into the game, was assisted by Blake Betson.
In the Weyburn end, Dazza Mitchell was playing like a man determined to get the victory. He stopped all 11 of the shots he faced in the opening frame. His dominant performance would continue in the second, as he stopped another 19 shots, not giving anything up until the third period.
In the second period, Bradley Banach, in his fourth game back from an injury earlier in the season, scored his second goal in three games and fourth of the campaign to make it 2-0 Weyburn 7:29 into the middle frame. His goal was assisted by Jerome Maharaj and Nicholas Kovacs.
Then, veteran blueliner Lucas Jeffreys made it 3-0 when he scored his second of the year, on the power play, with 8:40 left on the clock. His tally was assisted by Banach and Grandeur, and Weyburn took a 3-0 lead into the third period.
Humboldt would finally get onto the board three minutes into the final frame when Spencer Bell managed to finally get something past Mitchell, who had already turned 30 aside in the first 40 minutes of play.
The Red Wings would then restore the three-goal lead just past the halfway mark of the period.
Weyburn would get a power play with 8:57 left to go in the third after two Broncos and one Red Wing were sent to the penalty box after a post-whistle scrum.
Wings captain Max Monette made good with his opportunity close to the crease with 12 seconds left in the power play, assisted by Jacob Visentini and Maharaj.
Then, with less than eight minutes to go in the period, Mitchell made a big cross-crease save on a two-on-one to hold the lead.
The tension from the last game, which saw the two teams combine for 64 penalty minutes and had some scrums after the whistle, started to boil back up in the latter minutes of the third, with again several scrums and words being exchanged after whistles.
The Broncos kept up a lot of pressure on the Wings, and Mitchell, throughout the third, with their 15th shot of the period getting past the Weyburn netminder with 5:04 remaining as Bell scored his second of the game.
Then, a power play goal from the Broncos, with starting goalie Aidan Fischer on the bench in favour of the extra attacker, brought the home side within one, as Travis Bryson scored with 3:47 remaining in the period.
The Broncos continued to put on the pressure in the dying moments of the game, with Fischer staying on the bench to make it 6-on-5 for Humboldt. The Red Wings would do everything they could to block the shots, and the defensive efforts would pay off.
Brendan Hunchak poked the puck free near centre, came in with LeGrandeur unopposed, and scored the empty-netter with 1:36 to play to make it 5-3.
Off the ensuing faceoff, it would take Humboldt just 14 seconds to score to again pull it back within one, as Bell notched his third of the game when he saw enough space around the screen to beat Mitchell.
In the dying moments, Mitchell would continue to hold down the crease and preserved the 5-4 win at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt.
The win moved the Red Wings into a tie with Melville for second in the Viterra Division, with the chance to move back to .500 when they host the Yorkton Terriers Saturday night at Crescent Point Place.
In response to Canada's Online News Act and Meta (Facebook and Instagram) removing access to local news from their platforms, we encourage you to get your news directly from your trusted source by bookmarking this page and downloading the DiscoverWeyburn app.