Still battling for their playoff lives with a one point lead to hold the final spot, the Kindersley Jr Klippers were in Melfort on Friday to take on the Mustangs to try and find some seperation. A wild start saw the Klippers play a tight back and forth game, but ultimately fall short 5-4.
Noah Lindsay was the star of the first period as just 3:39 into the game, the Klippers were cycling the puck around the offensive zone when the puck came to Lindsay in the slot. He fired a wrist shot and goaltender James Venne got a piece of it with the glove, but it hopped overtop and fell behind him in the back of the net with assists to Coletyn Boyarski and Matt Mazzocchi.
Just 14 seconds later, Lindsay scored again. This time Klippers dumped the puck in and Mazzocchi and Cameron Rimstad both helped turn the puck over, sent it to Lindsay coming in from the top of the right circle, and he fired a shot five hole from nearly the same spot he scored the first.
Shortly after that the Klippers went to the powerplay, and that was where their momentum started to stall. Two straight powerplays went by for the Klippers with the first not seeing too much for chances, and the second starting to look a little better, but still nothing in the back of the net.
After that, the Mustangs got on the board for the first time. Down the left side of the ice, defenceman Wyatt Day fired a shot from the left side wall and it looked like it was redirected before it went past Matt Pesenti, and the Mustangs were back within one with less than five minutes to play.
Shortly after the goal, the Carson Baylis went to the box for charging, and the Mustangs made good on the powerplay. Near the end of the man advantage, Ben Tkachuk on the right side of the point took a shot around the screen of three players in front, and the puck hit the back of the net before Pesenti even saw it.
After 1: Klippers 2 - 2 Mustangs, shots 10-8 Mustangs
In the second period, the Klippers got an even quicker start. This time it just took 1:31 for Tylin Hilbig to get the Klippers on the board when Jaxon Georget flipped the puck high up into the air and it dropped at the blueline right on Hilbig's stick. He had a 2-on-1, but he just fired a hard wrist shot that beat Venne to give the Klippers back their lead.
Another failed powerplay would come and go for the Klippers shortly after the goal, but then closing in on the halfway mark the Mustangs tied it back up. Right after the Klippers put a couple shots on goal at the other end, the Mustangs stole the rebound away and went down the ice on the rush. From Trenton Curtis on the left wall in closer to the middle for Dawson Leroux, and he passed it across to Marco Lopez on the right, and he shot far side on Pesenti. The puck may have bounced over a sliding Nathan DeGraves, but it was in the back of the net nonetheless.
Each team would see a powerplay come and go after that, but the Mustangs would get another one and take the lead as a result. With Jaxon Georget in the box for slashing, the Curtis Hammond would get the puck on the right side of the point would fire a shot through traffic that snuck through to take the lead for the first time in the game.
From there Hammond did his best impression of Noah Lindsay from the first period as he scored 25 seconds later. After the Klippers could not clear the puck out of their own zone, the Mustangs got it back in the corner and Hammond curled around a defenceman towards the slot and put a wrist shot in from the left side of the slot.
A couple more penalties would come for either team, meaning we would start the third with some 4-on-4 as Baylis sat in the box for slashing when he tapped the goalie's pads looking for a rebound, and former Klippers captain Mark Snarr sat for interference.
After 2: Klippers 3 - 5 Mustangs, shots 12-10 Mustangs in the period, 28-20 Mustangs overall
In the third period, the Mustangs would sit back on their lead a little bit while the Klippers upped the pressure to try and get the game tied up. Early in the period, Matt Pesenti made another of his magical saves of the season when a shot from the middle of the slot was blocked, Pesenti stumbled and fell backwards, the rebound shot came, and he somehow got the glove up in time to make the stop.
The Klippers got a brief 4-on-3 powerplay for just over 20 seconds, but the man advantage continued to struggle after Jaxon Georget hit the post and watched it bounce out.
Late in the game, the Klippers finally scored on the powerplay as they pull Pesenti from the crease. With an offensive zone faceoff, Lindsay won the draw back to Brayden Koch, he sent it into the middle for Nathan DeGraves, and he fired a shot that was stopped by Venne and bounced around at the side of his net. Tylin Hilbig looked to be the one who put the puck in, but DeGraves was credited with the goal just 1:05 left in the game.
The Klippers were never able to get Pesenti pulled after the faceoff at centre, and the game would end in heartbreak for the Klippers.
FINAL: Klippers 4 - 5 Mustangs, shots 13-7 Klippers in the period, 35-33 Mustangs overall