Courtesy of Steven Wilson, discoverweyburn.com
The Weyburn Red Wings held the Battlefords North Stars off the board, and AP call-up Connor Gabruch scored his first ever SJHL goal, as the Red Wings won 1-0 Saturday night. The win ends a two-game slump by the Wings and handed the North Stars just their second regulation loss of the season.
The two teams went back and forth in what was one of the most evenly matched games of the year for the Red Wings. While the North Stars held an edge on the shot clock thanks to an early push to gain momentum, the Red Wings hung in, and slowly took the wind out of the Battlefords’ sails.
Arik Weersink stopped all 31 shots he faced to earn the first shutout of the season for the team, and himself.
“It’s a long time coming, but, I can’t take the credit for this one,” Weersink said after the game. “This one is all twenty guys working hard and pulling in the same direction.”
The Wings were a little shorthanded on the bench for the game, with Ben Hiltz sitting out for a maintenance day, and other players out for various reasons. To help fill the gap, Riley Little, and Gabruch, who both play for the Midget AAA Saskatoon Blazers, were called up for the game. Joseph Young was also called up from the Midget AAA Battlefords Stars to fill in for Carter Phair.
In the third period, the Wings would get the goal which would secure the win. Cycling the puck to the left of Taryn Kotchorek, Jeremy Velazquez threw the puck to the top of the crease where Gabruch was waiting. He fired the puck past the North Stars goalie, before being shoved into him. The referee signaled the goal, and Gabruch picked up the goal in his first ever SJHL game.
The Wings then carried the momentum through the rest of the game, and the Battlefords ended what chances they had when they took what would be only the third penalty of the game with just over two minutes remaining in the third.
With the win, the Wings stay right behind the Estevan Bruins in the Viterra Division. The Bruins maintain first with a one-point edge.