For the first time since October 14th, 2016, the Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings picked up a win at home over the Battlefords North Stars, and they did so in dominant fashion. Seven different players scored as the Red Wings doubled up the North Stars 10-5. The win improved the Wings to 7-3-0-3 on the season, as they expanded their lead over the Melville Millionaires for the top spot in the Viterra Division to three points.
"It's never the intent to run it up on anybody, but, you know, at the same time you know those guys would know from last year too and even this year that you just gotta continue to do things the right way," said Weyburn head coach Cody Mapes after the game.
Three players kept doing things the right way, scoring two goals each on the night. Jaxon Ruthven, Nick Kovacs and Lucas Schmid found the back to the net twice in the win. For Schmid, the goals were extra special as they were his first two in the SJHL.
"It feels good to get that first one, right? And then obviously the second one's just an added bonus on that," Schmid said of the pair of goals. he had.
Carter Briltz also scored in the win. The goal was his first as a Red Wing as well.
"A long one coming - a relief," Briltz commented after the game. "That monkey off the back definitely builds the confidence for the games going forward."
For some of the returning players from last season, the win had a little more of a special meaning. The North Stars eliminated the Red Wings from the postseason last year.
"It was awesome," said Kovacs, who would finish the night with a Gordie Howe hat trick. "The boys played good; we were on them all night."
The North Stars had actually opened up the scoring in the game when Ben Portner scored at the 4:04 mark to give the Battlefords the lead. The goal was scored on the power play, something the Red Wings haven't allowed the opposition to do very often this season. From there, Weyburn took the game over.
It started with 8:10 gone in the first period when Ruthven scored his first of two on the night. Max Monette extended his point streak to four games with an assist on the goal, and Kovacs also had a helper on the goal.
Blake Betson then gave the Red Wings the lead with his fourth of the year just before the halfway mark of the opening frame. Lucas Jeffreys and Liam Fitzgerald assisted him on the tally.
Kovacs then made it a 3-1 game with 4:28 to go in the period with his second of the season, and first of the night. Ruthven had an assist, and the other assist was from Jerome Maharaj.
The North Stars would get a great chance to open the second period when Owen Underhill was awarded a penalty shot just 27 seconds into the period after being tripped up. Dazza Mitchell, though, would stand strong in the net, turning the opportunity away to hold the score at 3-1.
From there, the Red Wings took over the momentum for an extended period, and it started with Ruthven scoring 4:19 in. Briltz had the assist on the goal that made it 4-1.
Maharaj got in on the scoring with a power play goal at the 6:27 mark. The goal, scored just five seconds into the man advantage, was assisted by Monette and Jacob Visentini.
It did not take long for the North Stars to respond to that goal, though, as Carson Olsen would beat Mitchell just 29 seconds later, making it 5-2. Just under five minutes later, Hunter Burgeson would score for the Battlefords to make it 5-3.
Weyburn didn't wait too long to respond, as Briltz scored with 7:45 remaining in the period, making it 6-3. Jeffreys and Elijah Anderson had the assists on the goal. The goal would stand as the game-winner and also signalled the end of the night for North Stars starting goalie Justen Maric. He was replaced by Joey Hawco for the rest of the game.
The scoring for the period, though, wasn't over, as Jordan Grill beat Mitchell with 4:27 remaining on the clock with a power play goal.
After being treated to six goals in the second period, fans would get even more in the third, with the two teams combining for five more.
It started with an unassisted goal from Kovacs at the 2:57 mark with his shot from the point bouncing around off a few players, and in. Then, Anderson scored a goal of his own with 8:44 off the clock. Monette and Tyler Teasdale assisted on the power play goal.
Schmid would then add to the lead with a power-play goal assisted by Anderson with 8:04 remaining in the period.
The North Stars would get one back in the dying moments of the game when Bradley Blake scored with 3:15 to play, but the Red Wings weren't done quite yet.
Schmid notched his second of the night with 2:03 remaining. The goal, scored on the power play, was assisted by Maharaj and Anderson.
The 10 goals by the Red Wings was the first time the team had reached double digits on the scoreboard since February 5th, 2010, when they beat the Kindersley Klippers 10-0. The Red Wings also finished the night going 4-for-7 with the man advantage.
Mitchell would finish the night stopping 29 of the 34 shots he faced, while Maric stopped 18 of the 24 fired his way. Hawco stopped 12 of the 16 shots in his direction in the 27:45 he played.
The Red Wings will now get ready for their next game, which will be at home against the North Stars on Saturday. The Battlefords will continue their southeast road swing in Estevan Friday night against the Bruins.
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