By Dave Leaderhouse
The Melfort Mustangs had their perfect start to the 2017-18 season come to an end last weekend when they were beaten 3-2 by both the Estevan Bruins and Weyburn Red Wings (overtime) and as a result fell six spots in the Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings.
The Mustangs still sit in top spot in the Sherwood Division standings, but their lead has been narrowed thanks to both the Flin Flon Bombers and Nipawin Hawks having successful weekends against the Kindersley Klippers and Humboldt Broncos, respectively.
While Melfort took a dip in the weekly rankings, falling from second to eighth overall, the defending Canalta Cup champion Battlefords North Stars moved up three spots, to fifth place, following their 3-2 overtime decision over Humboldt in their lone outing of the week.
The North Stars have played just six games so far this year, but they are now the only SJHL team not to have suffered a regulation-time setback having gone 5-0-1-0.
One would suspect that the Estevan Bruins are, at the very least, closing in on an honourable mention as the Bruins have been impressive getting points in eight of their first 10 games (7-2-1-0) to sit comfortably atop the Viterra Division standings.
CJHL 2017-18 TOP 20 (As of Oct. 9/17)
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST RANKING)
1. Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (4)
2. Edmundston Blizzard (MHL) (6)
3. Thief River Falls Norskies (SIJHL) (5)
4. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (1)
5. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (8)
6. Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ) (4)
7. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (9)
8. Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (2)
9. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (15)
10. Powell River Kings (BCHL) (HM)
11. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (20)
12. Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (HM)
13. OCN Blizzard (MJHL) (NR)
14. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (11)
15. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (19)
16. College Français de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (17)
17. Toronto Patriots (OJHL) (HM)
18. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) (10)
19. Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL) (NR)
20. Virden Oil Capitals (MJHL) (14)
HONOURABLE MENTION: Vernon Vipers (BCHL); Hearst Lumberjacks (NOJHL); Oakville Blades (OJHL); Wellington Dukes (OJHL); Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners (MHL)
ABOUT THE CJHL RANKINGS: Picked 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.