Carson Welke (LW)
The Yorkton Terriers didn’t have to go far to replenish the talent pool and in fact they got twice as much bang for their buck when twins McKenzie and Carson Welke joined their hometown squad at the tender age of 16.
Carson Welke has enjoyed the better success early in his Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League career having notched four goals and 16 assists in 21 games to lead the team in scoring.
Carson Welke, who is listed at 5-foot-10 and 170 pounds, has followed a similar path as his brother to get to the SJHL.
Last year the smooth-skating left winger had six goals and 20 assists in 40 games with the Yorkton Maulers of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League in addition to dressing up for Team Saskatchewan at the Canada Winter Games in Prince George, B.C. Carson had one assist in seven games at the Winter Games.
Prior to his lone season at the Midget AAA level, Carson had two successful years with the Bantam AA Terriers culminating with a provincial championship in 2014. During that dream season Carson had 27 goals and 37 assists in 30 regular-season games while adding 14 goals and nine helpers in nine playoff contests.
That production got him noticed by the Western Hockey League as the Regina Pats selected him 145th overall in the bantam draft.
While the Terriers are struggling somewhat early this year, the future is very bright and with Carson, and his brother McKenzie, in the fold the dark days should soon be behind them. Both could potentially play another four years with the Terriers and that certainly is a nice cornerstone to build a team around.
Brandon Wells (G)
Goaltenders are the final line of defence and good goaltending generally means teams will be successful. The Melville Millionaires will certainly vouch for that analysis as they are 6-4-0-1 since Brandon Wells arrived on the scene last month.
Wells, a 6-foot-2, 180-pound 18-year-old from Spirit River, Alta., has a 3.27 goals-against average and a .913 save percentage in his 11 appearances as he has started in every game since moving east from British Columbia prior to Tuesday’s match against the La Ronge Icewolves. The only real blemish on Wells’s record is when he was pulled midway through a game against Humboldt only to watch his teammates rally for a win behind Josh Bykowski.
Wells spent the last two seasons at the Okanagan Hockey Academy in B.C. where he had a 2.65 GAA and .897 save percentage in 37 games with the midget team last year along with a 2.80 GAA and .878 save percentage in 19 games in the Canadian Sport School Hockey League.
As a freshman at OHA, Wells was spectacular in posting a 1.69 GAA and .934 save percentage in 15 games at the midget level.
The Millionaires struggled out of the gate losing their first nine games and while goaltending can’t be the sole blame for the poor start, the team appears to have turned a corner with the arrival of Wells. Melville has a rich history of producing strong netminders and so far Wells looks to fit that mould perfectly.
Lynnden Pastachak (F)
When it was announced that the Estevan Bruins would host the 2016 Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup, it was clear that Lynnden Pastachak would be a centrepiece who could be built around. The Bienfait product has struggled with injuries in recent years, but is poised for career highs as the Bruins look for a strong second half in preparation for the WCC. Pastachak had points in five of his first six games in November, and points in 10 of 11 games (9g-7a-16p). The Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup starts April 30th at Affinity Place.
Layne Young (F)
Battlefords North Stars
Rookie Layne Young has managed to quietly be the league's second leading scorer near the end of November. Young has just one game of more than two points on the season, but he had at least one point in 20 of his first 25 games, arguably the most consistent offensive producer since day one. The Frenchman Butte, SK product is fitting into the SJHL seamlessly after being among the league leaders in the SMAAAHL last season, where he racked up 31-goals and 63-points in 43-games with the Battlefords Stars.
Jesse Ross (F)
Weyburn Red Wings
Former SJHL scoring champ Jesse Ross is helping the U of S Huskies to the best record in Canada West so far this season. The Huskies were 12-2-0 through 14 games, and Ross had 4-goals and 8-points in his fourth season. Ross' best season was his sophomore campaign in 2013-2014 where he put up 24 points (11g-13a) in 28 games. Prior to his CIS career, Ross capped a two year stint with the Weyburn Red Wings with a league-high 46-goals and 91-points in 2011-2012. Watch for an upcoming CIS feature on Ross on the main page here at SJHL.ca .