Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Klippers looking to build on four-game win streak with doubleheader against Bombers

A week ago the Kindersley Klippers were at the bottom of the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League standings, but four wins in a six-day span now has them at the .500 level for the season and within striking distance of the Humboldt Broncos for second place in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division.

The Klippers, who have had to adjust to coaching adversity early in the season, will be looking to continue their climb in the standings when they host the Flin Flon Bombers in a pair of games on Friday and Saturday. Kindersley enters the weekend three points back of the Broncos, but both are well behind the league-leading Battlefords North Stars who have just one loss in 16 starts this year.

Flin Flon has also been on a roll of late picking up points in their last five games and with that run the Bombers have moved to within one point of the Sherwood Division-leading Melfort Mustangs. Flin Flon, which holds a game in hand on the Mustangs, have three of the top scorers in Alec Malo, Donavan Houle-Villeneuve and Cole Rafuse with that trio accounting for nearly half of the Bombers’ total offence.

While the Bombers are staying put in Kindersley for the weekend, the Mustangs will face the Nipawin Hawks in a home-and-home set with those two rivals having not seen each other since opening weekend when the Hawks registered a pair of 3-0 triumphs.

A lot has changed since their first meetings as the Mustangs went 13 straight games without a regulation loss after the setbacks to the Hawks while Nipawin, which opened the season with six victories, has lost five of its last eight to sit five points back of Melfort for the divisional lead. Nipawin does hold a pair of games in hand so this weekend is important if they hope to capture another divisional title and remain in the hunt for a third straight overall point’s title.

That latter race is becoming a pretty steep hill to climb as the Battlefords have been almost unbeatable this year. The defending league champions opened the season with seven straight wins and have now followed up a surprising loss in Yorkton with eight more victories. The near perfect record has the North Stars moving up to the No. 3 spot in the weekly Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings.

The North Stars will host the vastly improved La Ronge Ice Wolves in a doubleheader this weekend, but what once was almost a guaranteed four points will be anything but that as the Ice Wolves have the sixth-best point total a quarter of the way through the regular schedule. La Ronge, which is 7-9-2-0, did not record its eight win of the season last year until New Year’s Eve so if they were to get at least one this weekend they would be more than two months ahead of last season’s pace.

With the Battlefords 12 points clear of Humboldt for the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division lead, that is the only race that is relatively uncontested at this point.
As mentioned, the Sherwood Division battle is down to one point between Melfort and Flin Flon, but all four teams in that division have just a seven-point gap between them. While that race is tight, the Viterra Division is even closer.

The Yorkton Terriers, who are being led by Chantz Petruic who is riding a 14-game point streak in which he has collected 26 points, have moved two points ahead of the Melville Millionaires while the Weyburn Red Wings are another point back and the Estevan Bruins are four points behind the leaders.

Estevan and Weyburn will play a home-and-home series this weekend while Yorkton is in Wilcox on Friday to face the Notre Dame Hounds and Melville is home to Humboldt on Saturday for their lone match of the weekend. Regardless of the results, that division will still only have a handful of points separating all four teams once the weekend action is completed.

Weekend Schedule
Nipawin at Melfort
Estevan at Weyburn
Yorkton at Notre Dame
Flin Flon at Kindersley
La Ronge at Battlefords

Melfort at Nipawin
Weyburn at Estevan
Humboldt at Melville
Flin Flon at Kindersley
La Ronge at Battlefords