The quest for the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League's Canalta Cup begins tonight for the Kindersley Klippers with the first game of their best-of-seven quarterfinal series. To start the post-season, the Klippers will be northeast of Saskatoon tonight when they face the Melfort Mustangs at the Northern Lights Palace.
Games 1 and 2 will be on the road for Kindersley before they get to travel back and play in front of the home faithful on Monday and Tuesday at the West Central Events Centre.
Two of the league's best teams will go head-to-head in this second round matchup with Melfort as the fourth seed and Kindersley in fifth. Both teams finished equal on points at 78 and had a chance at winning both their divisions and the league right at the regular season's final games. Although the Mustangs were able to finish above the Klippers in the standings due to the tiebreaker of regulation-overtime wins this year.
If the Klippers could use a neuralyzer seen in the Men In Black movies to forget their six games earlier this year versus Melfort, surely they would in order to wipe the slate clean. During the regular season, the Mustangs won the season series over Kindersley 5-1. The Klippers had won their first matchup against the Mustangs back on September 21st by a 5-4 final, but after their initial win, Melfort stormed back with five straight wins.
Klippers forward Tyler Traptow, who finished eighth on the team in scoring with 15 goals and 13 assists for 28 points, talks about the team's mentality heading into a fresh matchup with their opponents.
It should be said that people may not want to underestimate the Klippers, though. We're talking about a team who has battled in arguably the most difficult division in the SJHL this season with the likes of the Battlefords North Stars and Humboldt Broncos. Every team in the division made the playoffs and the Broncos, North Stars and Klippers all grabbed a top six spot in the league table at the end of the season. The Klippers have had their fair share of tough competition throughout the year.
Kindersley has also maitained one of the best back ends in the SJHL, too. The Klippers allowed the second-fewest goals in the league at 141 and had the fourth-best goal differential. They have definitely adopted the phylosophy of "defence wins championships" this winter.
That defence and goaltending will be put to the test against one of the SJHL's best offences in the Mustangs, who scored 235 for the second-most goals behind the Yorkton Terriers. The top two pointgetters in the league, Justin Ball (103 pts) and Carson Albrecht (89 pts) also play for Melfort.
Traptow explains what the game plan will be for him and his teammates to stop the Mustangs' powerful attack this series.
The Mustangs have home ice advantage on their side in this series. Games 1 and 2 will be at the Northern Lights Palace in Melfort, and Games 3 and 4 will have the teams at the West Central Events Centre in Kindersley next Monday and Tuesday. If necessary, Games 5 and 7 are in Melfort while Game 6 is in Kindersley. All games are at 7:30 p.m. CST.
- Game 1: Kindersley Klippers @ Melfort Mustangs – Friday, March 15th at 7:30 p.m., Northern Lights Palace, Melfort, SK
- Game 2: Kindersley Klippers @ Melfort Mustangs – Saturday, March 16th at 7:30 p.m., Northern Lights Palace, Melfort, SK
- Game 3: Melfort Mustangs @ Kindersley Klippers – Monday, March 18th at 7:30 p.m., West Central Events Centre, Kindersley, SK
- Game 4: Melfort Mustangs @ Kindersley Klippers – Tuesday, March 19th at 7:30 p.m., West Central Events Centre, Kindersley, SK
- * Game 5: Kindersley Klippers @ Melfort Mustangs – Friday, March 22nd at 7:30 p.m., Northern Lights Palace, Melfort, SK
- * Game 6: Melfort Mustangs @ Kindersley Klippers – Sunday, March 24th at 7:30 p.m., West Central Events Centre, Kindersley, SK
- * Game 7: Kindersley Klippers @ Melfort Mustangs – Tuesday, March 26th at 7:30 p.m., Northern Lights Palace, Melfort, SK
* - If necessary
For the first time in years, the Iron Horse Kindersley Klippers will have their playoff games live on local radio.
Klippers games for the 2019 SJHL Playoffs will broadcast on Country 104.9 FM, where fans will be able to tune in to both their home and away games either on the radio in west central Saskatchewan and Alberta or by streaming live at the Country 104 Blog. Alternatively, listeners can also use radio-listening mobile apps such as Radio Player Canada.
Make sure to listen in a little earlier for the Pre-Game Klippers Show which airs several minutes prior to puck drop.