It came down to the final day of the regular season, but the Weyburn Red Wings punched their ticket to the postseason. They fell 4–1 to the Yorkton Terriers on Tuesday, but a Melville loss assured them the 10th and final playoff spot.
Weyburn played a solid game to close the regular season but were stymied by the red-hot goaltending of Andrew Henderson. He made 38 saves in the win. The Wings outshot and outchanced Yorkton in all three periods but were turned away time and time again by the Terriers netminder.
Yorkton grabbed a 1–0 lead late in the first period on a weird goal. A point shout banked off the end boards behind the goal, kicked out in front and off Cody Levesque before it was swept off the line by a Wings defenceman. The puck appeared to be under Levesque's pad but it eventually somehow ended up in the back of the net with Mason Mullaney getting credit.
The Red Wings hard work was finally rewarded at 6:08 of the second period when Jacob Piller lit the lamp to tie it at one. His initial shot was stopped by Henderson but he made no mistake on the rebound and brought the Red Wings back even.
A couple posts and a breakaway chance later, and the Wings still couldn't find the back of the net.
Two goals in just seven seconds late in the middle period was a backbreaker for the red and white as they trailed 3–1 through 40 minutes.
Yorkton affiliate Casey McDonald added his first SJHL goal later on in the third period to widen the lead. His goal capped off a two-point night for him and gave his club the win as they head into the postseason.
Despite the score, Weyburn played a good game and just wasn't rewarded for their effort. Once again, all four lines were ticking and all had their respective chances around the Yorkton goal. Henderson was truly the difference tonight and earned First Star honours.
“We would have loved to win tonight and go into the playoff on a winning note and feeling good about our game, but it was one of those games where we didn’t have much puck luck. We had some chances in the third, we hit a couple posts and had a breakaway and their goalie stood tall for them. If a couple of those go in it’s a different game," Red Wings head coach Kyle Haines said postgame. "We’ve had a good last couple of weeks here and we got some results and scraped up enough points to make the playoffs. I’m sure happy about that.”
The Red Wings now shift their focus to the Survivor Series where they wil take on the 7-seeded Flin Flon Bombers. It's a matchup with plenty of storylines and it's a shame it will just be a best-of-three to decide a winner.
It will especially emotional for all seven 20-year-olds on the Red Wings roster who get one last run at a Canalta Cup title. Wings captain Ty Brown says the guys are pumped to be headed to the postseason.
“It feels pretty good. We’ve got the toughest road to take here, but we’re feeling good going into Friday,” he said.
Game 1 of the Survivor Series goes Friday night in Weyburn. The series will then shift back to Flin Flon for games 2 and 3, which take place on Sunday and Monday (if necessary).