A dazzling 58-save showing from Carson Schewaga was the difference for the Prince Albert Titans on Sunday night as they picked up a 3-1 win over the Saskatoon Royals in the opening game of a best-of-three Prairie Junior Hockey League first round series at the Rod Hamm Arena.
Schewaga, who posted a 7-11 record with a 4.31 goals against average in the regular season, saved his best work until the third period as he turned aside all 24 shots he faced.
Braeden Mishak had a pair of assists for the sixth-seeded Titans, who got goals from Dillan Saworski, Ben Zultok and Kevin Ledoux.
Dylan Francis countered for the third-ranked Royals, while Dawson Cochrane stopped 28 shots.
The Titans can earn a spot in the quarter-final round against the top ranked Saskatoon Quakers with a win at the Kinsmen Arena on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
If the Royals can stave off elimination, a third and deciding contest would take place in Saskatoon on Thursday night.
The other opening round matchup in the Bob Dybvig Division will be decided on Wednesday as the fourth ranked Saskatoon Westleys and the fifth seeded Carrot River Outback Thunder will square off in the third and final game of their series at the Rod Hamm Arena.
The Thunder earned a 5-3 win in Saskatoon on Friday, but the Westleys bounced back with a 6-3 triumph on Sunday in Carrot River.
The Delisle Chiefs have also earned a bye into the quarter-final round and will face the highest seed that advances from the first round.
The other side of the bracket will see the Extreme Hockey Regina Capitals face the Assiniboia Southern Rebels in the quarter-finals, while Fort Knox will take on the Triple Seven Chrysler Storm from Pilot Butte.