Estevan Bruins (C)
The Estevan Bruins have something extra to strive for now that they are the official hosts of the 2016 Western Canada Cup and one of their building blocks for that championship is sure to be forward Lynden Pastachak.
While not giving up on this season, the Bruins will be counting on the 18-year-old Pastachak both now and in future seasons.
The Bienfait product is in his second year with the Bruins and already has reached a career high in points as the 6-foot, 165-pound centre has 16 points in 24 games. Last year Pastachak had 12 points in 36 games with the Bruins although he did appear to find his range in the post-season when he recorded four goals and an assist in 10 matches.
Prior to joining the Bruins, Pastachak toiled with the Yorkton Harvest for two seasons in the Saskatchewan Midget AAA Hockey League. Pastachak showed great offensive skills during his time in Yorkton scoring 16 goals and setting up 15 others as a 15-year-old and the next season he nearly doubled all those categories as he had 29 goals and 29 assists in 42 games. That strong final year of Midget AAA garnered Pastachak second-team all-star status.
While he might be a bit slight he certainly has an edge to his game as Pastachak accumulated 93 penalty minutes while in Yorkton and so far in 62 games in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League he has amassed 89 minutes in penalties.
Pastachak was recently listed as one of eight SJHL players to be invited to try out for the Canada West squad that will compete at the World Junior “A” Challenge in Kindersley later this month. That recognition is well deserved and the Bruins will be counting on him now and well into the future to continue leading with his improved play.
Yorkton Terriers (D)
It is a rare occasion when a player by-passes one level and climbs a couple of rungs on the hockey ladder, but Regan Seiferling is proof that it can indeed happen.
With just eight games of Midget AAA experience over two years, Seiferling has made a rather smooth transition from Midget AA to the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League as the 17-year-old has secured a spot on the Yorkton Terriers’ blueline.
A native of Moose Jaw, the 6-foot-2, 160-pound Seiferling has three goals and eight assists in his first 24 games of junior hockey – totals he barely surpassed while playing Midget AA in Moose Jaw the last two seasons.
As a 15-year-old in the 2012-13 campaign Seiferling dressed in 33 games for the Midget Warriors scoring five times and setting up 10 others. He also saw action in four contests with the Midget AAA Moose Jaw Generals collecting one assist.
The following season he scored another five goals while assisting on 19 more in 35 games and once again dressed for four contests with the Generals matching his point total with a single assist.
Even in his final year of bantam hockey in 2011-12 he wasn’t a real threat offensively as he had just 11 points in 22 games, but it is obvious his game has adjusted to the level in which he is playing at as he has become a big contributor with the defending RBC Cup champions.
The Terriers’ backend was heavily depleted after capturing the national championship last spring and that opened the door for Seiferling – a door that has not slammed in his face.
With three more years of junior eligibility remaining, and some filling in to do from a physical perspective, Seiferling looks to be a player the Terriers can build around and if he continues to make leaps up the ladder at his current pace then it should be a good arrangement for both player and team.
Humboldt Broncos, D
Connor Swystun, a smooth skating second year defenseman, has taken a big step forward offensively as an 18-year-old. A highly-touthed rookie last year, Swystun wasn't out of place at 17, playing in 50 games, but didn't figure prominently at the offensive end, putting up one assist. However he ramped that up in the playoffs with a goal and three assists in 10 games, and has picked up where he left off in the regular season with 12 points (3g-9a) at the midway point.
Notre Dame Hounds, F
In his third and final SJHL season, Bakersfield, California product Cory Anderson is on pace for career highs. Through 26 games played this year, Anderson had 10 goals, more than half way to last year's total of 17, while his 18 points are just five shy of what he put up all year a season ago. The durable forward suited up in 97 games over his first two seasons in the league, and he's fresh off his first multi-goal game of the season, scoring twice in a 5-4 shootout win in Estevan on December 2nd.
Nipawin Hawks, F
At roughly the halfway point of the SJHL season, the Nipawin Hawks' leader in goals is 20-year-old Carter Coben. The 6'3" winger out of Saskatoon didn't hit double digit in goals in either of his first two campaigns with the Hawks, but is on pace for 25 in his final run. Coben's 12 goals in 25 games has him 7th in the entire league in that category. The Hawks have displayed plenty of depth this season, and will need that to continue as they fight it out in the competitive Sherwood Division.