Yorkton appears to suit Brendan Mark just fine.
Prior to relocating to the east-central area just over a year ago, Mark has been an offensive catalyst while also being one of the leaders on the back end.
The 20-year-old product from Grand Rapids, MN, was acquired from the Estevan Bruins on Dec 1, 2018, and since joining the Terriers, the 6-foot, 185-pound rearguard has blossomed into a solid two-way player.
As an 18-year-old with Estevan two season ago, Mark had just seven points in 39 games. He then managed just four assists in 12 games to start last year with the Bruins, but after being moved to Yorkton he collected 12 points in the final 32 games of that season and so far this year he has racked up 29 points in 39 contests.
Since returning from the Christmas break, Mark has averaged a point per game and as a result was acknowledged as the league’s top defenceman for the week of Dec 30-Jan 6.
Prior to making the move to Canada, Mark played three seasons for his high school team in Grand Rapids. In 71 games at that level Mark had 35 points with each successive year being more productive as he gained more experience – similar to what is happening during his time in the SJHL.
The Terriers have been one of the biggest surprises this season as they have been at or near the top of the Viterra Division standings for most of the campaign after having missed out on the playoffs entirely on year ago. With continued contributions from players like Mark the Terriers have put themselves in a position to be a threat in the post-season and should they continue on their course for a divisional title that will only put them in a better position for when the playoffs begin.
The Flin Flon Bombers have the most explosive offence in the league and they added another weapon to their arsenal this week with the acquisition of Cade Kowalski from the Weyburn Red Wings.
While that addition will certainly make them deeper it is the play of guys like Donavan Houle-Villeneuve that have put the Bombers in a position to challenge for both the Sherwood Division and overall point’s crowns.
Houle-Villeneuve has already set career bests in every offensive category as his 11 goals and 22 assists for 33 points in 37 games have surpassed the 7-14-21 totals he posted as rookie forward last year.
The 6-foot-1, 185-pound native of Montreal, PQ, has four points in five games since the Christmas break and looks poised to continue being a solid contributor to the team down the stretch.
The 19-year-old Houle-Villeneuve progressed through the ranks at College Notre Dame in Quebec prior to making the move west to Flin Flon with his final year back home seeing him score 28 goals and set up 13 others in 29 games.
Not only do the Bombers have someone who is durable, he has yet to miss a regular-season game since arriving in Flin Flon and will reach the 100-game mark in the next two weeks, but they also have someone who can answer the bell when the games really matter in the playoffs. Last spring, when the Bombers got past the Notre Dame Hounds in the Wild Card round before falling to the eventual league champion Nipawin Hawks in the quarter-finals, Houle-Villeneuve led the team in playoff scoring with six points – all goals.
Flin Flon will certainly be a team to keep an eye on as the season winds down and with players like Houle-Villeneuve in the line-up opposing teams will have plenty to be mindful of.