By Dave Leaderhouse
As the Nipawin Hawks and Battlefords North Stars continue to add to their current consecutive point streaks they are also slowly making a move to the top of the Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings.
The Hawks, who have not suffered a regulation time loss since Dec. 2, are now listed as No. 7 in the weekly rankings – up three spots from the last list that was released before the Christmas break.
Nipawin is 17-0-1-0 in its last 18 games, but because they have played four more games than the Battlefords, their winning percentage is slightly less than the North Stars. As a result, the Battlefords, who are on an eight-game streak of their own without a regulation time loss, have moved into the No. 5 spot, up one from the last results. The North Stars and Hawks meet tonight so for both to maintain their current streaks the game will need to be decided in extra time.
The North Stars have opened up an eight-point lead in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division and they have also passed the Melfort Mustangs for the second-best points total on the season.
The Mustangs, who opened the season with eight straight wins for a commanding early lead in the overall point’s race, are back on another tear with four straight wins and with that run of success have claimed another honourable mention from the CJHL for the second straight week. Melfort also returns to action tonight when they host the Flin Flon Bombers.
CJHL 2017-18 TOP 20 (As of Jan. 8/18)
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST RANKING)
1. Thief River Falls Norskies (SIJHL) (1)
2. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (2)
3. Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (4)
4. Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJQ) (3)
5. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (6)
6. Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (9)
7. Nipawin Hawks (SJHL) (10)
8. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (5)
9. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (7)
10. College Français de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (10)
11. Toronto Patriots (OJHL) (13)
12. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (12)
13. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (11)
14. Vernon Vipers (BCHL (15)
15. Oakville Blades (OJHL) (20)
16. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (16)
17. North York Rangers (OJHL) (HM)
18. Edmundston Blizzard (MHL) (14)
19. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (17)
20. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (19)
Honourable Mention: Brooks Bandits (AJHL); Melfort Mustangs (SJHL); Portage Terriers (MJHL); Wellington Dukes (OJHL); Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
ABOUT THE CJHL: The Canadian Junior Hockey League is made up of the 10 Junior ‘A’ leagues across Canada. Representing 132 teams and over 3,000 players, the CJHL also boast over 2,800 alumni furthering their hockey careers at the NHL, AHL, ECHL, CHL, NCAA and CIS level across North America.