The Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings found themselves down early in the second period Wednesday night against the Melfort Mustangs. The team would rally back, thanks to stellar play in net by Boston Gelowitz. The comeback, however, would come up just short, as the Mustangs would find a way to score with just seven seconds left in the game, winning 4-3.
“In the end, we gave ourselves a chance to win,” said head coach Cody Mapes after the game. “We probably didn’t start the way that we would have liked; in the second half of the game there was a lot of good things.”
The Mustangs carried a lot of the momentum in the first period, and parts of the second, putting up outshooting Weyburn 15-3 in the first period alone. Gelowitz stood tall for the Wings in the opening 20 minutes and was only beaten once, late in the period, when Hayden Tuba beat him with a slapshot with just 1:24 left on the clock.
The Red Wings weren’t going to be outdone in the period, though. Kirk Mullen would get the puck past James Venne with eight seconds to play in the period, making it a 1-1 game after the opening period. The power play goal, which was Mullen’s second as a Wing, came on the power play and was assisted by Beau Larson and Braden Birnie.
The Mustangs would put themselves back out in front early in the second period when Nolan Doell scored his 19th of the campaign on the power play to make it 2-1 Melfort. From there, the momentum started to slowly shift back to the Red Wings.
While Weyburn wasn’t able to score in the second, they started to get more and more opportunities, and then things would pay off in the third.
Just 4:54 into the period, Sebastian Hamming and Larson found themselves at the top of the Melfort crease. Hamming fired the puck on Venne, and the rebound went to Larson. Larson’s shot was stopped by Venne, but then Hamming was able to slide that rebound in, making it a 2-2 game.
The Mustangs replied five minutes later.
Curtis Hammond fire the puck on the net when crossing the blueline with a shot that wobbled a touch in the air, fooling Gelowitz on the trapper side. The goal would restore the lead for the Mustangs, but Weyburn wasn’t ready to quit.
Troy Hamilton, who had two goals last Friday against Melville, made it three goals in two games with a strong individual effort.
While the Red Wings were on the power play, Hamilton got control of the puck along the halfwall on the right-hand side of the Mustangs zone. He managed to fend off the checkers, skated into a good spot and fired the puck past Venne to make it 3-3.
The Red Wings then had a chance to take the lead in the dying moments of the game.
A missed pass from the Mustangs resulted in the puck heading down into their zone, and the race was on as Austyn Hansen chased after it. He got past the defender and got to the puck before Venne who came well out of his crease to play it. Hansen fired the puck at the yawning cage when Venne managed to throw his body, stick outstretched, to make the save, and preserve the tie.
It looked as though the game would be heading to overtime when the Mustangs managed to get some pressure in the Weyburn end. Marco Lopez was then able to find the puck and got it past Gelowitz to make it 4-3 with just seven seconds to play in the game.
“Anytime you go into the third period in a one-goal game, obviously you have a chance to win,” Mapes said after the game, pointing out the team needs to find ways to be on the other side of the one-goal games.
As for the affiliated players called up for the games, the head coach liked what he saw from the players.
“Boston was really good,” Mapes said about the goaltender. “When the shots were 25-8 or whatever they were at one point, he kept us in the game; he gave us a chance to win.”
As for Connor Gabriel, called up from the Warman Wildcats U18 AAA squad, Mapes was also impressed with his performance.
“If he’s not in Swift (Current of the WHL) next year he’s going to be a really good player in our league,” Mapes said of the 16-year-old.
The three stars of the game, as selected by the media in attendance at the game, were:
1st Star – Marco Lopez (MLF) 1G 1A
2nd Star – Boston Gelowitz (WEY) .895 sv%
3rd Star – Troy Hamilton (WEY) 1G
The Red Wings will now prepare for their next opponent on the road trip, the Flin Flon Bombers. The Wings will play a pair of games against the Bombers at the Whitney Forum, starting with a game Friday night. The road trip will wrap up in Flin Flon Saturday night.