By Dave Leaderhouse
Hawks and North Stars gain little traction in national rankings despite posting perfect weeks
The Nipawin Hawks and Battlefords North Stars both had perfect weeks, each winning all three games they played, but that success had little impact on their national ranking as neither made a significant jump in the weekly Canadian Junior Hockey League Top 20 list.
The Hawks, who are now the Sherwood Division leaders after extending their current streak to 11 games with registering at least a single point, jumped three spots on the list to land at No. 13 while the North Stars, who are also now a divisional leader after moving past the Notre Dame Hounds for top spot in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division, moved up one position to now claim the No. 8 spot.
The Melfort Mustangs, who for the first time this year are now a chaser rather than a leader, played just once in the last seven days and despite having a perfect week of their own with a victory in their lone outing they had to sit back and watch the Hawks move past them as Nipawin took advantage of games in hand. The lack of game action also cost the Mustangs in the national rankings as they only garnered an honourable mention after last week being just one spot behind the Hawks.
Notre Dame would likely be the next SJHL team to make the list, but their eight losses is a pretty high number on a national scale so if they can put together a lengthy streak and keep pace with the North Stars it would just be a matter of time before a fourth SJHL squad enters the national rankings.
CJHL 2017-18 TOP 20 (As of Dec.11/17)
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST RANKING)
1. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (1)
2. Thief River Falls Norskies (SIJHL) (2)
3. Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJQ) (3)
4. Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (4)
5. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (7)
6. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (6)
7. Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (5)
8. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (9)
9. Toronto Patriots (OJHL) (11)
10. College Français de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (10)
11. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (8)
12. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (14)
13. Nipawin Hawks (SJHL) (16)
14. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (18)
15. Vernon Vipers (BCHL) (19)
16. Oakville Blades (OJHL) (20)
17. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (HM)
18. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (12)
19. Edmundston Blizzard (MHL) (17)
20. Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (13)
HONOURABLE MENTION: Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL); Melfort Mustangs (SJHL); North York Rangers (OJHL); South Shore Lumberjacks (MHL); Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
ABOUT THE CJHL RANKINGS: Selected by an independent scouting service, the rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including winning percentage; win-loss record; point totals; goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc., and the league they compete in.