A slow start dug the Red Wings into a hole, but ultimately it was their league-best penalty killing that let them down in overtime. Dayton Heino scored the winner for Melville just over half way through the added period for a 3–2 win.
Road games have been a struggle for the Wings through the first month of the season. They’ve been haunted by the dreaded “bus legs” in the early part of games and with the loss drop to 1–3 away from Crescent Point Place this season.
Tonight’s game against Melville was more of the same. Just 3:02 into the contest it was Shane Sherban putting the home side in front with a 1–0 lead. A sloppy turnover just inside the blue line allowed the Millionaires to catch the Wings defence out of position, and Sherban beat Lamb all alone in tight.
Jumping ahead to the second period and it was the Red Wings turn for an early strike. Forward Connor Pyne worked a puck free along the wall and dashed to the middle of the ice before beating Berk Berkliev with a wrist shot on the glove side. Pyne played a great game on the night and it’s good to see him back in the lineup.
After killing off a couple of penalties, the Wings league-best powerplay put them ahead. Jacob Piller took a drop pass from Cade Kowalski and beat Berkliev five-hole at the 10:34 mark. The rookie’s second of the year had the red and white out front for the first time in the game. That lead would hold up through 40 minutes.
After captain Kowalski was given a four-minute double minor for high-sticking late in the middle frame, the Mils would use that extended man advantage to start the third. Jaxon Tait finished off a pretty passing pay in the slot. Lamb slid over and got a piece of it, but not enough as it squeaked its way over the goal line.
From there it was the Berkliev show, as the backup proved his coach right by giving him the start on Wednesday. He made numerous tough stops throughout the third period to keep the game tied at two after regulation.
The Red Wings carried over 61 seconds of powerplay time into the extra session, but were unable to capitalize. Jevon Schwean was called for a penalty of his own not long after, and the Millionaires made the Wings pay.
Melville snapped a six game losing streak with the overtime win on home ice and picked up just their second win of the year. With the overtime loss, the Red Wings drop to 5–2–1, good enough for 11 points and the top spot in the Viterra division.
It wasn’t their greatest showing, but it’s another learning experience for a team still looking to hit their stride.
Weyburn will return home for a pair of games this weekend at the CPP. The La Ronge Ice Wolves will be in town on Friday night, before the Flin Flon Bombers stop in on Saturday night. The Red Wings are undefeated at home this year.