The Flashback: the Mustangs adjust goaltending, the Hawks are soaring, and the Trojans are breathing

By Aaron Schulze
November 2, 2018 - 5:00pm Updated: November 3, 2018 - 3:46pm

Melfort Mustangs – Tale of three goalies

The Mustangs perfect home record was tarnished with a 9-4 loss to the Estevan Bruins.

Scrolling through Twitter, and this tweet pops up in my feed.

New goalie after surrendering nine goals? I thought the timing was too much of a coincidence.

After talking with head coach Trevor Blevins, the Shawn Parkinson trade announcement was just that — a coincidence.

“It didn’t actually happen right after the game,” Blevins said with a laugh. “Whenever you make a trade like that you definitely put your time and research in. Regardless of the result that’s when we were going to announce it.”

With the acquisition of Parkinson, the Mustangs now have three goaltenders on the roster with him, current starter Hunter Arps, and back-up Jack Walters.

Just a few days after adding Parkinson from Drayton Valley in the Alberta Junior Hockey League, the Mustangs added defenceman Marshall Skapski from the Cowichan Valley Capitals in the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL). Both players were acquired for a Player Development Fee.

Skapski played 178 games in the BCHL over four seasons split between Alberni Valley, Merritt, and the Capitals. Blevins said he's been working on acquiring Skapski for a while.

"He's a veteran defenceman,” Blevins said. “Left handed shot, very skilled, got great experience, he's put up some numbers. He’s the right fit for what we were looking for, he’s a puck mover, but also defends well. He’s kind of a 200-foot defenceman.”

Heading into tonight, Arps and Walters are tenth and fourteenth out of 15 qualified goaltenders in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) for save percentage, with .895 and .863 respectively.

Both goaltenders had their moments to shine this season, such as Arps holding the Nipawin Hawks to one goal in two games head-to-head and Walters keeping his team within striking distance in the Mustangs comeback win 3-2 in overtime against the Humboldt Broncos, the night before the Estevan blowout.

Although with two goaltenders in the bottom half of all SJHL goaltenders in save percentage, exploring another option is worth a look, and Blevins intends to give Parkinson a chance.

“He’s played very regularly as an 18-year-old,” Blevins said. “Maybe he didn’t have the best team in front of him, but he’s a big goaltender who moves well.

“It seems like he has another opportunity here and we’re willing to give it to him. Hopefully he can take it and make the best of it.”

Parkinson’s former Junior A team in Alberta, the Drayton Valley Thunder, ranked third worst in league standings with a 4-13-1 record. Perhaps there’s more than the .875 save percentage he’s shown in nine games this season.

SJHL rosters will be cut to 25 players on Dec. 1, so Blevins will have a month to decide if he’ll ride the season with three goaltenders or make a cut and/or trade.

The Mustangs aren’t scheduled for games this weekend, but Blevins said his team will keep practicing until Wednesday, Nov. 7 against the Kindersley Klippers.

 

Nipawin Hawks – All the way up (again)

In a near three-week stretch, the Hawks went from being the top Junior A team in the nation to third in their own division, and now enter the weekend as the top team in the SJHL.

When the Hawks were on top, they went a perfect 6-0 in their first six games, followed by that dreadful 1-4 stretch. Now they see themselves having won six of their last seven games, including a five-game winning streak.

However, no stretch seemed more impressive than last weekend which included a 5-1 blowout over the Weyburn Red Wings at home, and a 7-2 blowout of the Viterra Division leading Yorkton Terriers on the road.

Three goals against in two games isn’t new for the Hawks, the goaltending duo of Declan Hobbs and Patrick Pugliese are first and second in the SJHL for save percentage and goals against average.

It’s how many goals they scored which is most impressive.

Even after scoring 12 goals in two games, the Hawks’ 51 goals in 18 games (2.44 average) ranked second lowest in the SJHL but have been bailed out with a league low 33 goals against during that frame.

The Kindersley Klippers are the only other team to have surrendered fewer than 40 goals (38).

A tale of two seasons has now become a tale of three, and for a team that’s mostly new with five returning players, the third part of the season could end up being the longer stretch.

Tisdale Trojans – Breathing a little easier

In a league where the standings are constantly tight, the Tisdale Trojans now have a little bit of breathing room.

A win over their rival Prince Albert Mintos 4-2 on Wednesday, Oct. 31 put the Trojans two points ahead of the Mintos for sole possession of second in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League (SMAAAHL).

Unfortunately, the Trojans section this week is short, because they’re off until Saturday, Nov. 10 when they play the Notre Dame Hounds.

Although one Trojan will be in action this week. Defenceman and power play quarterback Landon Kosior has been called up by the Melville Millionaires, who have his SJHL rights. Kosior is expected to play Sunday, Nov. 4 when the Millionaires visit the Nipawin Hawks.

 

—With files from Mat Barrett

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On Twitter: @SchulzePANow

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