Tucker Scantlebury, F
It has been a tough year for the Melville Millionaires finding the back of the net as they begin the second half of the season having scored the second fewest goals (79) so not surprisingly none of the players are among the leaders in any offensive category.
Tucker Scantlebury, however, is holding his own in his rookie Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League campaign as the just-turned 18-year-old (Nov. 23) is second in team scoring with six goals and eight assists in 28 games.
Scantlebury, a 6-foot, 170-pound winger from Foxwarren, Man., also has 63 minutes in penalties to add a bit of grit to his game.
A second-team all-star last year in the Manitoba Midget AAA Hockey League, Scantlebury has shown in the past that he can put up some impressive numbers, while also putting other teams on notice with his physical play.
With the Yellowhead Chiefs last year, Scantlebury had 22 goals and 22 assists in 43 games and the previous season, also with the Chiefs, he tallied 16 goals and set up 23 others in 41 tilts. Each year he had over 100 minutes in penalties with 106 last season and 107 the year before.
In his rookie season with the Chiefs as a 15-year-old, Scantlebury had just three goals in 41 games, but again he let it be known when he was out on the ice as he accumulated 32 minutes in penalties.
The Millionaires could be classed as being in a rebuilding stage as it is the first year in more than a decade with a new coach behind the bench, but with Scantlebury in the fold they have a nice building block in place. And, he could be around for another two seasons if he utilizes all of his junior eligibility.
Curtis Peck, F
La Ronge Ice Wolves
A trade last June brought Curtis Peck to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League and it looks like the 19-year-old from Sturgeon County, Alta., has found a new home.
Peck, a 6-foot, 200-pound centre who was acquired from the Alberta Junior Hockey League’s Drayton Valley Thunder as part of a deal that saw Braden Jakubowski go the other way, has three goals and 11 assists while being just one of a handful of players to appear in every Ice Wolves game this season.
Peck had just one goal and one assist in 42 games with the Thunder last year, but prior to starting his junior career he was more than able to put up some numbers at the midget level.
In his final year of midget hockey, Peck appeared in 34 games with the CAC Edmonton Midget AAA Canadians where he scored 12 times and set up 14 more. As a 16-year-old he toiled with the St. Albert Midget AA Crusaders and in 29 games had 30 goals and 40 assists while in his first year of midget hockey he posted 20-25-45 totals in 32 games with the St. Albert Minor Midget Flyers. He also got into four games with the Midget AA Crusaders as 15-year-old and he showed his promise in that brief audition scoring twice and setting up another.
Peck has consistently improved every year he has climbed the hockey ladder and having survived a turbulent start to his time in La Ronge where the Ice Wolves have already made a coaching change, he has once again shown that given the opportunity he will be a steady performer.
The Ice Wolves are staring up at the rest of the SJHL entering the second half of the season, but if Peck’s play can follow his previous pattern it is a certainty he will do his best to help the team close the gap as they battle for a playoff spot. That only adds to the intrigue of what he can do for the rest of his junior career.
Estevan Bruins, F
What a first half it's been for Estevan forward Kaelan Holt. A rookie depth forward on last year's potent club that hosted the Western Canada Cup, Holt finished with 7-goals and 27-points. This season, going into the Remembrance Day long weekend, Holt held the SJHL lead with 16-goals in 22-games, and his 25-points had him just outside the league's top five, and on pace for 40+ goals and 70+ points. Holt and the Bruins are exceeding the expectations of many thus far, with a comfortable lead in the Viterra Division.
Humboldt Broncos, D
Only a select few will play in the SJHL as a 16 or 17 year old in a given year, and it's especially tough to make that early jump as a young defenseman. 1999-born Xavier Labelle appears to be fitting in just fine, 20+ games into his rookie season. The Saskatoon, SK product played two full seasons of Midget 'AAA' with his hometown Contacts, including last season when he registered 16-points (6g-10a) while playing in all 44 games. Labelle notched his first SJHL goal November 8th against Notre Dame, and doesn't turn 17 until November 17th.
Melfort Mustangs, F
After a slower start to the season, Melfort's Dakota Boutin appears to be finding his usual offensive touch. Boutin was held off the scoresheet in all five games in September, and since then has points in eight of his last 10 games, including three straight games with goals and multiple points as of early November. Boutin already has an NCAA Scholarship locked up to Northern Michigan starting next season, and he's a proven winner. Boutin scored the overtime winner for the Prince Albert Mintos to win a National 'AAA' Midget Championship, and has since helped the Mustangs to back to back Canalta Cup titles.