Friday, Oct. 5 marked a grand return home for the Melfort Mustangs with a 5-1 win over the La Ronge Ice Wolves after a three-week break in between games at Northern Lights Palace.
It’s a sweet two points and return home for the squad, but it was a sweeter return to the region for the game winning goal scorer Kyle Schneider.
“I grew up watching Melfort so it’s good to actually play here,” Schneider said. “The guys here are awesome and that was a big win for us.”
Schneider’s hometown is Prince Albert, where he grew up playing for the Prince Albert Raider AA Bantam team and served as captain for the Prince Albert Mintos in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League.
After Schneider graduated from the Mintos in 2016-17, he played three games for the same La Ronge Ice Wolves he scored against. Next season, Schneider moved to Manitoba where he played 21 games for the Selkirk Steelers scoring two goals and three assists while tallying up 69 penalty minutes.
Schneider only played one game for the Steelers this season before the Mustangs acquired him earlier in the week. His numbers last season, especially the high penalty minutes, show he is best suited as a grinder.
Yet that’s exactly what head coach Trevor Blevins wants from him.
“We definitely want him to bring energy and that’s going be his role, be hard on pucks and bring in a physical presence,” Blevins said.
Schneider showed his physicality throughout the win on Oct. 5, perhaps a little much in the first period with a cross checking penalty, but Schneider isn’t worried. He knows playing on that edge is what got him so far.
"I think that's a big part of why I'm playing junior hockey,” Schneider said. “Play tough every night and be hard to play against."
While everyone knew he was coming in to bring energy, Schneider said he’s not sure his team expected him to bring the goals.
“I think that surprised everyone including me… That was a great pass by (Parker) Fofonoff," he said.
Unfortunately for the Mustangs they were unable to carry momentum the following night in La Ronge where they fell 4-2 to the Ice Wolves after surrendering the first three goals.
With the home and home series split, the Mustangs sit with a 5-3-1-0 record with 11 points, tied with the Flin Flon Bombers for second place in the Sherwood Division. The Mustangs trail the Nipawin Hawks for first by three points.
The Mustangs and Hawks will begin a home and home series against one another Friday, Oct. 12 with the first game in Melfort followed by a second game the next evening in Nipawin.
On Twitter: @SchulzePANow
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