It took 33 games, but Mustangs forward Justin Ball was finally held off the scoresheet in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) for the first time since Sept. 16.
On Friday, Jan. 4, the Melfort Mustangs fell on the road to their rival Nipawin Hawks 5-2, a game in which Ball did not record a point. It was just the second game all season that he was held pointless. The only other game that Ball did not tally a point was that game back in September against Notre Dame when Melfort was shutout 4-0.
Ball recorded a point in every Mustang game between Sept. 20 and Dec. 22, a stretch where he tallied 36 goals, and 26 assists. The 20-year-old forward said the streak made it even more enjoyable to come to the rink every day.
“Every game I looked forward to coming to play,” Ball told northeastNOW. “I’m more surprised than anyone that I had a streak that long, but it was good. And yeah, it was just fun.”
Ball added he knew the streak would come to an end at some point, and he’s excited to get a new one going.
“I knew since 10 games in that it was going to end sometime,” he said. “I’m just surprised that it lasted that long so I’ll just take it, it is what it is and just try and get another one.”
During his 33-game stretch, the Saskatoon native also had a 13-game stretch where he scored at least one goal. He scored a total of 20 over that run.
In three months this season, Ball has been named SJHL Player of the Month twice, and runner-up for the award once.
When asked about his linemates Carson Albrecht and Tanner Zentner, Ball was quick to credit the two for his success.
“Playing with each other for three years, it never gets old,” Ball said. “I can’t say enough about those two. They’ve done a lot for me, for my success, and theirs.”
Ball leads the SJHL in scoring with 65 points (40 goals and 26 assists), and Albrecht is currently third with 56 points (25 goals and 31 assists). Zentner plays centre on the line and did miss a handful of games this season, but still has 32 points (five goals and 27 assists) in 31 games.
Ball scored his 40th goal of the season on Saturday, Jan. 5 in Melfort against the Hawks to continue his streak of notching at least a point in all 19 home games so far this season.
He will look to continue that streak, and make it two straight games overall with a point on Wednesday, Jan. 9 as the Mustangs host the Melville Millionaires at the Northern Lights Palace.
Melfort currently sits second in the SJHL’s Sherwood Division with a record of 24-11-2-0, six points back of the Nipawin Hawks.
On Twitter: @matbarrett6
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