There was some nervous moments throughout and especially toward the end, but the Weyburn Red Wings pulled out a 2–1 win on Friday night over Melville.
It was a back-and-forth affair with some great goaltending at both ends, but it would be the defence of the Wings that would propel them to victory on this night. Not only did they shut down the surging Millionaire attack, both Weyburn goals in the game came from the back end.
After a scoresless first period, it would be Melville that drew first blood. Rookie Tristan Shewchuk potted his eighth of the season just 2:08 into the second — but it was the only time Melville found the back of the net all night. Ben Laidlaw was terrific ing oal again, making 27 saves on 28 shots.
Former Millionaire Eric Soar would burn his former team once again and knot things up at one. His fourth of the year gives him a point in 11 straight games, which is the current longest streak in the SJHL.
"I had a couple of years where it seemed I just couldn't find the back of the net or get points to save my life. Right now, everything is just kind of going my way and the bounces are going the same way for the team and that's good for both of us," Soar said. "It's always good to score but as long as the team is having success and I can contribute to that, that's what I'm happy about."
Things were tied up at the second intermission, but it wouldn't take long for the Wings to get their first lead of the game. Just 86 seconds into the third period, d-man Jevon Schwean scored his fifth of the season to make it 2–1. Ben Hiltz and Sean Olson did some great work down low to work the puck into the high slot to Schwean. Hiltz and Olson each picked up their second assists of the game.
Head coach Kyle Haines believes this team has come a long way at one particular end of the ice.
"As a defenceman I loved playing that shutdown role in big games. I've took what I've learned in my years and used those details to help us win games. We're paying the price, you know we're blocking shots and protecting the middle of the ice. It's a really good effort from everyone and I'm proud of the guys," he said. "Guys are executing the game plan. We're finding ways to win hockey games and to come back in games — we're learning how to win. There's been a lot of progress and guys are buying in."
With a huge win the Wings move within a single point of the Millionaires for the final playoff spot in the SJHL. The squad's fourth straight win keeps them undefeated in 2019.
The win felt a little extra sweet for Soar, the former Melville Millionaire.
"I had lots of buddies on that team and it's always sad to leave. But with everything that's been going our way this last little bit I can't complain," the defenceman said. "I'm happy to be able to just keep moving forward with the guys I got and stil have fun on the ice. When it all comes down to it, they're my enemies when the game is rolling. But it's definitely nice to beat them."
Next up is a rematch with the Yorkton Terriers back at home on Saturday night. Melville will be at home against the Battlefords North Stars.