Jacob Arsenault, D
Notre Dame Hounds
At 15 years of age Jacob Arsenault moved almost entirely across the country to further his hockey and education careers and in the three years he has been in Notre Dame he has moved steadily up the ladder to where he is now a mainstay with the Junior “A” Hounds – and he is just 17 years old.
When the 6-foot-1, 190-pound defenceman first left his home in Richmond, PEI, he spent a season with the Midget “A” Hounds and notched three goals and five assists in 35 games. Last year he moved up to Midget “AAA” and improved on those numbers by recording four goals and 14 helpers in 39 games with the Notre Dame Argos.
The rugged rearguard also got into five regular-season contests and four playoff games with the Junior “A” Hounds last season and although he never registered a point, he did make an impression leading to his securing a spot this year with the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League entry.
Arsenault has once again adapted to the higher level of competition as through 30 games he has five goals and eight assists, but his play has also been highlighted by providing some grit to the Hounds’ line-up as his team-leading 75 minutes in penalties will attest to. In fact, Arsenault has provided an edge to every team he has played with in Notre Dame as he accumulated 85 minutes in penalties while with the Midget “A” squad two years ago and last season he had 99 penalty minutes with the Argos.
His play in Saskatchewan has not gone unnoticed in his home province as the Summerside Capitals selected Arsenault in the fifth round of last summer’s Maritime Hockey League draft, but Arsenault, who hasn’t played in PEI since he was a member of the Western Maroons at the Bantam AAA level in 2013-14 (3-13-16, 40 pim), has remained with the program that has developed his skills at a higher level for three seasons.
With aspirations of playing NCAA Division 1 hockey and pursuing a career in business, Arsenault is looking to continue developing while in Notre Dame and with three more years of junior eligibility remaining after this season he appears to be on the right track to satisfy those goals.
Kyle Bosch, F
It took some time for Kyle Bosch to get on the scoresheet in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League, but the just-turned 18-year-old winger has settled in nicely with his hometown Kindersley Klippers.
Bosch, whose birthday is Jan. 12, appeared in seven regular-season games and two more in the post-season last year without registering a point and he began this year going pointless in his first 10 games before notching three goals and six assists since then.
Prior to joining the Klippers, the 5-foot-11, 170-pound Bosch spent two seasons with the Saskatoon Blazers of the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Last season he recorded 15 goals and 10 assists in 42 games while as a 15-year-old Bosch collected two goals and 12 helpers in 41 contests. Bosch, who was a sixth-round pick of the Western Hockey League’s Kamloops Blazers in 2014, also appeared in seven games with Team Saskatchewan at the Canada Winter Games that year where he recorded one assist at that event.
Bosch came out of bantam hockey as a more-than-a-point-per-game player having notched 15 goals and 20 assists in 30 games with the West Central Wheat Kings. He also had six points in four playoff games that season so he has proven that he can produce in the important games.
Being the youngest player on a Klippers team that is battling for a playoff spot, Bosch will only learn from the experience and should be a cornerstone for the franchise for years to come.
Battlefords North Stars, F
Despite rejoining the Battlefords North Stars about a month into the season, 20-year-old forward Coby Downs is in the conversation for a scoring title. The Mont Clair, California product had 27-goals and 73-points with the Stars last season, then returned south of the border, beginning this season in the USHL. Not the Stars were hurting for scoring before his return, but he was welcomed back with open arms. He currently leads the league in points per game, and on trade deadline day, was riding a 10 game point streak (4g-14a-18p) while being within striking distance of the league-lead. The Stars are 25-3-0-0 since Downs re-joined them in mid-October.
Nipawin Hawks, G
The Nipawin Hawks were flirting with a sub-2.00 Goals Against Average, well past the midway point of this season, and while a team commitment to defense is always part of that, it's no secret that getting elite level goaltending every night is the catalyst, and that's been very true for the Hawks and 20-year-old Kristian Stead. The Hawks' second year starter, as of January 11th, was top-five in the SJHL in every major goaltending statistic, ranking 2nd in save percentage (.929), 3rd in minutes, 4th in wins and goals against average (2.15) and third in shutouts (3). The Hawks have games in hand on all of the teams ahead of them in the standings, and they'll look to gain some ground in the final 20+ games.
Weyburn Red Wings, F
As a team, the Weyburn Red Wings have struggled at times with scoring this season, but one veteran forward helping to change that is 20-year-old Jacob Wozney. Wozney hit the 20-goal plateau in early January, and leads the team by a fair margin in that department, and has four multi-goal games on the year, and also has a slim lead in points on the club. And just for good measure, Wozney also adds some sandpaper to the lineup, as he's already past the century mark in penalty minutes on the season, also tops on the Wings. In his second and final season in the SJHL, the Richmond, BC product has been joined on the Red Wings by his brother, 19-year-old Noah.