The final night in the Big Six before Santa comes to bring new sticks and sharpen skates was host to some key matchups between some of the top teams in the league, including two teams fighting for the top of the league in the Yellow Grass Wheat Kings and the Carnduff Red Devils.
Carnduff @ Yellow Grass
Both teams come into the game with six wins a piece and have all spent their time at the top of the league at one point or another, and the matchups couldn't be much better. Both have had hot goaltending between Cody Dumaine for the Red Devils and Tanner Erickson for the Wheat Kings, though Erickson would not get the start. Terrick Wilderman would get his first chance in net for the Wheat Kings instead.
Both teams have had high powered offences, and from pretty much every player on the team. All that and similar records including six wins so far, although it took the Wheat Kings an extra game, and it set the stage for one of the most pivotal matchups in the Big Six this season.
Yellow Grass' offence seemed to get the message that this would be an important game in the standings and they cracked Cody Dumaine in the first minute of the game, only 44 seconds in, when Justin Ricther would get the first of the game and his third of the year.
That one goal lead would last only 27 seconds before the Wheat Kings would extend it, when Shelby Gray would get his eighth of the season. The remaining 18 minutes of the period would be fairly uneventful offensively, both goaltenders standing strong to keep things even after the early home team surge.
After 1: 2-0 Yellow Grass
The second period would continue the goaltending battle before the Red Devils would finally solve Terrick Wildermann. Just over nine minutes played, Brandon Track would pot his fifth of the season. That would be the loan goal of the period.
Two periods down, 2-1 Yellow Grass
The surprisingly defensive battle between two of the most offensive teams in the league would again pick up in the third period. Both teams would stay strong before finally Shelby Grey would put his second of the game in and team leading ninth of the season, 13:44 played in the third.
Now with the two goal lead, Yellow Grass would look to seal the deal in the final minutes with another goal, this time coming from Brandon Mellon's second of the year, giving the Red Devils only 2:27 to make up a three goal deficit.
Not a lot of time, but the Red Devils made something out of nothing.
Blake McMillen would hammer in a shot with only :31 left on the clock to bring it back to a two goal hill to climb. That second goal of the game for Red Devils must've shook Wildermann a bit as only a few thirteen seconds later, Tanner Reynolds would manage to sneak another past the goaltender making his first start of the year.
The final eighteen seconds of the game would be a frantic press from the Red Devils to tie it up, but Wildermann would regain his composure and keep the puck out for the rest of the game.
FINAL SCORE: 4-3 Yellow Grass
Carlyle @ Arcola/Kisbey
The Arcola/Kisbey Combines have struggled this year with a young team, and they'd be in tough looking for their first win this season with a game against the top team in the league, the Carlyle Cougars. Coming in, the Cougars had won two in a row over Kipling/Windthorst and Bienfait.
The momentum from the last two wins would continue in the first for the Cougars, scoring two in the first thanks to the league leader Ben Johnstone and Brett Turgeon.
The second would be where the Combines would finally get one the board, early on when their leading scorer Rhett Palmer would get on the board and cut the lead by one.
That wouldn't last as the Cougars would pound another two into the net off the sticks of Billy Greenwood and Brent MacLean.
After 2: 4-1 Carlyle
The Combines would get their rotors spinning in the third period when Brady Third would put the second of the game in for the Combines. They would ride that momentum for the next four minutes and Rhett Palmer would score with ten minutes to go in the game.
With their three goal lead down to just one, the Cougars would start to gain it back again thanks to their leading scorer Ben Johnstone, only a minute after the last goal from the home team.
Only three minutes later, Johnstone would complete the hat trick in the road game and restore his team's three goal lead.
In the final six minutes of the game, the two teams would trade goals, Kevin Gauthier for Arcola/Kisbey and Mitchell Morrison for Carlyle, and that would hold up for the final score.
FINAL SCORE: 7-4 Carlyle
The win puts the Cougars up at the top of the league with cushy four point lead, a win and two overtime losses ahead of Yellow Grass, although Carlyle has also played two more games than any other team in the league.
Midale @ Oxbow
These two teams got both of their games against each other out of the way in one weekend, the first the night before going to the Mustangs at home, and with how close these two teams are in the standings, this could mean a possible playoff spot at the end of the year depending on this game.
The Mustangs had the games first goal a night before and they would repeat the process again on the road. Braden Kmita would get his shot passed Ethan Veroba just over three minutes in.
This time around however, Oxbow would answer in the first period. With just over four to go, Preston Audet would score his team's first and tie things up.
A minute later, Steven Lindenbauch would score to restore the one point lead for the Mustangs before the end of the period.
After the first: 2-1 Midale
In the second period the night before, the Mustangs offence exploded for five goals, two of which were on the power play and another breakaway goal from Brad Tomiski and a hat trick from Connor Burke. This time around, they would be without Burke, but they would get the same scoring.
Logan Martinson would score another for his team only 1:14 into the second period, putting the Mustangs up two.
Unlike last game, however, the Huskies would strike back in the second twice, when Klae Bayda got his sixth of the season to bring it back to within one, 18:00 showing on the clock.
Before the halfway point of the second, the Mustangs would get another two on the board, this time when Brad Tomiski would get another one on the board, and Konrad Proszak would add another only a minute later.
If the first half of the period wasn't busy enough, Midale decided to add one more The Huskies would stop the bleeding for a moment when Derek Cooney would score another, on a solo effort, with just under twelve minutes to go in the second.
If the second period wasn't busy enough, Midale decided to add one more before the end of the period, this time thanks Matt Geske with only a minute forty-four on the clock.
After 2: 6-3 Midale
The third period the night before would be pretty uneventful, neither team finding the net in the final frame of the game. This time around, the Huskies would get on the board. With just 55 seconds to go in the game, Corey Fitzpatrick would get on the board but it would be too little too late.
FINAL SCORE: 6-4 Midale
Wawota @ Kipling/Windthorst
The last time these two teams played, the Oil Kings and Flyers traded blows for twenty minutes with ten goals between the two of them, meaning the game's only other goal, a tally in the first for the Flyers, would end up winning the game for the team.
This time around, the Flyers would have a fuller lineup and would take advantage of it in the first minute of the game. Taylor Ernst would score the first for his team, and only two minutes later Travis Dumaine would add another on the board.
Before the end of the period, Ernst would add another for his team for the three goal lead.
After 1: 3-0 Wawota
In the second, the scoring would slow down between the two teams for over half the period before the Oil Kings would get on the board. Jared Both would put the away team's first tally on the scoreboard.
With four minutes left in the game, Taylor Ernst would fire in his hat trick goal for the final score of the period.
After 2: 4-1 Wawota
The third period would mark some penalty troubles for the Oil Kings, and Wawota would capitalize. The first goal on the man advantage would come from Justin Lamontagne and he would add another minutes later at even strength for his first two goals of the year.
Immediately after, the Oil Kings would try to dam up the Flyer's scoring flood thanks to Brandon Munro, cutting the lead down to four.
Then, the penalty troubles would return and Ryan Taylor would get his first of the game for his ninth of the game, and to cap off the dominant win, Derek Frater would fire in the eighth and final goal for his team.
FINAL SCORE: 8-2 Wawota