By Dave Leaderhouse
The Kindersley Klippers needed extra time in both of their games during the last week, but on both occasions they emerged from a shootout with a victory. As a result of those home-ice triumphs over the Battlefords North Stars and Notre Dame Hounds the Klippers extended their point streak to nine games and in doing so sit atop the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division and overall point’s race with 25 points.
The perfect week was noticed by the Canadian Junior Hockey League as the Klippers moved up three spots in its weekly list of the top 20 Junior A teams in the country. Kindersley now holds down the No. 16 position and remain the only Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League club to crack the elite list.
The Nipawin Hawks had and even more impressive week as they won all three of their outings by a combined margin of 9-1. Included in that run were back-to-back shutouts by Declan Hobbs against the Estevan Bruins and Melville Millionaires with freshman Patrick Pugliese allowing just a third-period power-play marker in his start against the Weyburn Red Wings.
The three victories extended Nipawin’s winning streak to four games and propelled the defending Canalta Cup champions into a share of first place in the Sherwood Division standings with the Flin Flon Bombers. Both Nipawin and Flin Flon, along with the Humboldt Broncos, are just one point back of the Klippers for first place overall, with Kindersley holding games in hand on all three of its closest pursuers.
Nipawin, which burst out of the gate to start the season winning its first six games, were given an honourable mention in the CJHL poll. It is the first time the Hawks have been mentioned in the weekly listing since their explosive start.
Kindersley will be put to the test this week to extend their current run as they play three games in three nights, kicking off their southern swing with a stop in Notre Dame on Thursday to play the Hounds. The Klippers, who will also visit Weyburn and Estevan this weekend, remain the only SJHL team to have a perfect road record so far this season as they have yet to lose in four starts away from the friendly confines.
Nipawin also has a busy week as they take to the road for games in Yorkton and Humboldt before returning home to host Melville on Sunday. The Broncos get to enjoy some home cooking as they are home to the La Ronge Ice Wolves, Melville and Nipawin while Flin Flon has just a quick trip to Melfort to take on the Mustangs on their schedule.
The CJHL Top 20 Rankings
(As of Oct. 29)
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST WEEK)
1. Brockville Braves (CCHL) (2)
2. Oakville Blades (OJHL) (4)
3. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (1)
4. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (3)
5. North York Rangers (OJHL) (6)
6. Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ) (8)
7. Swan Valley Stampeders (MJHL) (20)
8. Hawkesbury Hawks (CCHL) (5)
9. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (10)
10. Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL) (9)
11. Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) (HM)
12. Titan de Princeville (LHJAAAQ) (18)
13. Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (14)
14. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (16)
15. Red Lake Miners (SIJHL) (NR)
16. Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (19)
17. Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) (11)
18. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (7)
19. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (12)
20. Coquitlam Express (BCHL) (HM)
HONOURABLE MENTION: Sherwood Park Crusaders (AJHL); Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL); Nipawin Hawks (SJHL); Timmins Rock (NOJHL); Cobourg Cougars (OJHL)