It all comes down to the final day of the regular season to decide the fate of the Weyburn Red Wings. Through 57 games they sit tied with the Melville Millionaires for the final SJHL playoff spot, but they're just 60 minutes of hockey away from clinching the 10th spot.
The math is simple for the WIngs: win and you're in. Thanks to holding both tiebreakers over the Mils, two points tonight would make it impossible for Melville to surpass Weyburn in the standings. However, a loss for the red and white, and they would need Nipawin to knock off the Millionaires to get into the postseason.
Yorkton is currently what stands in the way of Weyburn from racking up win number 19 on the season. It will mark the sixth and final meeting of the season between these clubs and the Wings do hold a 3–2 advantage in the season series. Of course, these teams were involved in a midseason trade that saw Riley Lamb dealt to the Terriers where he suited up for a handful of games. One of those was a 4–2 loss at the hands of the Weyburn Red Wings.
It's fitting that these teams close out the regular season after they opened it back up September 14. The Wings took the game by a score of 6–4 and would love to see a repeat performance of that tonight.
It will take a consistent team effort from all 19 guys tonight, and it's something we've seen from the Red Wings lately. Everyone seems to have bought in and is doing their part to chip in. Whether that's the strong offensive performances night in and night out by Sean Olson, Ben Hiltz, Jordan Kazymyra, Drew Anderson, Jacob Piller and Dawson McKenzie — or the shot blocking and physicality from Tristan Petrie, Eric Soar, Carson Scheschuk, Rhett Frey, Burke Johnstone and Zac Gladu.
Guys are finding different ways to help out and that's exactly what it takes to win this time of the year. Not to mention Cody Levesque has been steady in the net and made timely saves for the Wings over the last 10 days.
Weyburn comes in 3–1 in their last four games, while Yorkton has won five of their last seven. The Terriers clinched home ice advantage for their Survivor Series against Notre Dame, so tonight's game is essentially meaningless to them — aside from establishing good habits and building momentum for the playoffs, which get underway on Friday.
Last time these two sides got together it was an 11–2 victory for the Terriers and that's something the Red Wings haven't forgotten about. Head coach Kyle Haines says it's something they want to avenge tonight.
"It's hard to take a loss like that and you kind of want to get them back. We definitely owe them one and they're going to be short a guy or two," Haines said. "We have to get on them early, and the way we're playing I really like our chances."
Aside from the lopsided loss on January 12, the season series has been a tight one. All the other games have been within two goals, including an OT thriller back on September 29.
With so much on the line, it promises to be an exciting contest. Yorkton is unlikely to roll over against a division rival and will be getting prepared for a playoff run of their own. It's just one of four games on tap tonight on the final day of the regular season and there's still a lot on the line. Red Wing fans will be keeping a close eye on the box score up in Nipawin tonight as well.
But, the Wings do control their own destiny and have an opportunity to make it five straight trips to the postseason. You can catch all the action tonight on Red Wing Radio, BIG106, with the pre-game show starting at 7:20.