There's only one word to describe the first meeting between the Melfort Mustangs and Nipawin Hawks on Friday Oct. 15:
In 60 minutes of hockey, 12 power plays were given out but only 46 shots and two goals were created during the game. Hits, chirps, and taunts were there for the taking, but the game was lacking smooth paced even strength hockey until the third period.
Just greasy, but fun.
A low scoring match up should have been expected. As mentioned in the Flashback, it’s the Mustangs top offence against the Hawks top defence and goaltending, while vice versa their other stats have been ordinary so far.
The third period is when all the grease got cleaned up. After killing seven penalties, the Mustangs got a chance the Hawks didn’t receive on Friday: a 5-on-3 power play.
Justin Ball broke the scoring on the ensuing power play with goal number 11 on the year, a few moments after missing an open net that even fooled the goal judge behind the net.
Ball’s mindset? Shots, shots, and more shots.
“To be honest I just wanted to get some shots,” Ball told northeastNOW. “The (first) one that missed barely, and I just wanted another one. Lots of shots is my mentality, it’s what I like to do, and it worked out.”
The Hawks had their chances to answer back. A rocket from defenceman Jake Lenchyshyn rang off the post and trickled on the goal line before it was covered up.
Around three minutes later, Mustangs goaltender Hunter Arps was beaten glove side, again fooling the goal judge, but was swiped away by defenceman Nolan Kadachuk on the line.
On the same play, Ball would use his speed to go in all alone on the Hawks stand out goalie Declan Hobbs and score his second of the game.
Ball’s second celebration wasn’t nearly as fun as the first, as the referees discussed with the goal judge if the Hawks chance a few moments earlier actually went in the net, which would make it a 1-1 tie instead of a 2-0 Mustangs lead.
“It was nerve wracking,” Ball said. “I was pretty sure I knew the whole time it didn’t go in, but you never know. Whatever happens you don’t let it bug you and just keep going.”
Also mentioned in the Flashback leading up to this home and home series was the difference in goals against for each team.
The Hawks had the lowest coming in, while the Mustangs were in the middle of the pack.
With arguably the best goaltending tandem so far on the other side of the ice, Mustangs goaltender Hunter Arps stepped up.
Arps stopped all 12 shots he faced in the first period as his team was getting their possession numbers kicked in by the Hawks three power plays, on route to 26 stops in total for his first shut out of the season. Arps helped his team settle into this divisional match up.
Now that part one of this home and home is complete, part two in Nipawin will have some more value beyond the rivalry.
Excluding what Flin Flon does over the weekend, the winner of the game on Saturday Oct. 13 between the Hawks and Mustangs could walk out the leaders of the Sherwood Division.
On Twitter: @SchulzePANow
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