With their fans continuing to support them, the Melville Millionaires snapped a six-game losing streak last week.
The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League team came from behind and used a four-goal third period to knock off Kindersley, 6-3, last Wednesday. The Millionaires earned points in all three of their games last week. Melville shut out Kindersley, 4-0, on Saturday and fell in overtime, 3-2, to Nipawin on Sunday.
That wrapped up a five-game homestand in which Melville went 2-2-1-0. As of Saturday, the 8-14-2-1 Millionaires were fifth in the SJHL with an average attendance of 702 per game – just six people per night behind fourth-place Flin Flon (708). The team has played in 11 one-goal games.
“We just got to tilt that a little bit and eliminate one or two mistakes and that’ll change our fortune… The fans are coming out,” Melville head coach Mike Rooney said. “Any given night, we’re third, fourth in the league in attendance. We understand winning only produces a little bit more that way. We want to make sure we can get some wins and kind of reward our fans.”
Even when the wins have not come this season, Rooney noted “fans are getting treated to some good action and excitement.”
“We play an entertaining style. We skate. We move pucks,” he said.
It is certainly not just during games that the Millionaires feel the community’s support. The Horizon Credit Union Centre features the Prairie Co-op Walking Track. Last Wednesday Rooney said there were about a dozen people using the facility while the Millionaires were conducting their gameday skate. Rooney happened to chat with some of them.
“They like the atmosphere of watching practice and doing their thing up there too,” he said.
Last Wednesday, the Klippers led Melville, 3-1, in the second period. With less than three minutes in the period, Louis-Fredric Theberge scored to pull Melville within one, 3-2. In the final period, the Melville offence was firing on all cylinders. Hometown product Carter McKay lit the lamp twice to put his team ahead 4-3 before Colby Ball made it 5-3. Aiden Robson capped the scoring with an empty net goal.
Theberge scored Melville’s first goal so he finished with a pair on the night. Noah Wills recorded two assists. Isaac Suppin had two helpers. Millionaires goalie Clement Labillois stopped 23 of the 26 shots he faced.
Kelton Pyne stopped all 27 shots he faced as Melville shut out Kindersley 4-0 on Saturday and earned their second straight victory. Ball, Theberge, Jake Briltz, and Ethan Anstey all scored for Melville.
Brayden Fryfogle and McKay scored for Melville in its 3-2 overtime loss on Sunday. Labillois made 48 saves.
The Millionaires play in Nipawin on Wednesday. They host the Flin Flon Bombers on Friday and then play in Nipawin on Sunday.