Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League

Power Rankings March 5th

The SJHL Power Rankings are decided every week by a group of SJHL broadcasters and will be released each Tuesday.

1. Flin Flon Bombers 42-6-2-1 (Last Week 1st): 

It was rivalry weekend up in the Whitney Forum as the Estevan Bruins were in town and the series did not disappoint. Two one-goal games and playoff intensity were the result, as the Bombers rallied to grab a point in a 4-3 shootout loss Friday, and held on to win 3-2 in regulation Saturday. The rivalry games continue for the national CJHL No. 2 seed as they will battle the No. 12 nationally ranked Melfort Mustangs in Melfort on Wednesday evening. Flin Flon is 2-3-1 over the last six, and mini slumps are not at all what this group is used to.

2. Melfort Mustangs 35-14-3-0 (Last Week 2nd):

If Flin Flon has been on a bit of a slide, the Mustangs have been flying high. Melfort has won six in a row at the time of writing, with three more victories this past week, one at home against Estevan and crucially two in North Battleford against the defending champion North Stars. The wins at the ACC catapulted coach Trevor Blevins’ men into second place in the league for the first time in a long time, a spot they hold by two points as play begins in the second-to-last week of the regular campaign. Three games at the Northern Lights Palace loom this week ahead as the No. 1 Bombers are in town, and then two against non-playoff teams as Nipawin and La Ronge will be in town Friday and Sunday, respectively.

3. Humboldt Broncos 32-14-3-1 (Last Week 3rd):

The Broncos just had to sit, watch and practice this past week, as they last played Feb. 24, which afforded head coach Scott Barney and his staff 11 days between games to prepare for a tough final stretch. Humboldt still had much to celebrate though, as they announced two NCAA Division I commitments this past week: Spencer Bell, the league goals leader, to St. Lawrence and goaltender Ben Motew to Air Force Academy. Three big games in four days are on the horizon for the Broncos this week ahead, as they will host Estevan Wednesday, and then what is expected to be an epic home-and-home with the Battlefords North Stars starting Friday night in North Battleford.

4. Battlefords North Stars 33-14-4-1 (Last Week 4th):

Ever since Brayden Klimosko took over as the coach in 2018-19, the North Stars have very rarely struggled at all; so, their current five-game slide is just a little bit more unexpected in light of that prolonged success. The bright side is that the Stars snapped the pointless streak with a 5-4 overtime loss at home Saturday night to Melfort, one night they fell 4-3 at home to the same Mustangs. A huge home-and-home with the Humboldt Broncos beginning Friday night in Humboldt kicks off what should be a critical weekend in the race for second in the standings.

5. Melville Millionaires 27-22-0-1 (Last Week 7th):

A three-game win streak could not come at a better time for the Mils, as the teams right behind them for fifth in the standings are hot as well. Will Dyke was brilliant in net this past week, where he earned consecutive shutouts against a Kindersley Klippers club that sits in sixth in 1-0 and 4-0 home wins. Melville’s destiny is securely in its own hands with six games left, all against teams below them in the standings. A three-games-in-four-days week begins Wednesday in Wilcox against the eliminated Notre Dame Hounds, followed by a home-and-home with Weyburn Friday-Saturday. Melville has clinched a playoff spot and will play in the SJHL post-season for the first time since 2018.

6. Weyburn Red Wings 23-21-0-6 (Last Week 8th):

Nobody in the league is hotter than the Weyburn Red Wings, and with three more wins this past week, their streak is up to eight unbeaten and seven victories. Captain Max Monette grabbed the overtime winner to take the extra-frame win 5-4 in Nipawin Wednesday. Then Cody Mapes’ men stayed focused to grab two penalty-filled affairs this past weekend at the Mel Hegland Uniplex in La Ronge. The Wings host the Notre Dame Hounds Tuesday night before a weekend home-and-home with Melville in what could be a huge series to decide playoff positioning. A victory over the eliminated Hounds at Crescent Point Place would clinch a second-straight post-season appearance for Mapes’ squad.

7. Estevan Bruins 24-24-2-2 (Last Week 6th): 

The Bruins shook off a tough third-period that resulted in a 7-4 loss last Wednesday in Melfort with a terrific all-around performance up at the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon this past weekend. Estevan took two of a possible four points, by way of a 4-3 shootout win Friday night, in what has been a graveyard for most clubs this season, and played great hockey behind goaltender Jackson Miller, who emerged with a .938 save percentage over the two contests. The Bruins sit in eighth at the time of writing, but after Wednesday night’s clash with the Humboldt Broncos at the Elgar Petersen Arena, they will emerge from one of their most brutal stretches of the season with a match-up against the Notre Dame Hounds at home Friday night. Hard to bet against Jason Tatarnic’s men right now, as they appear to be playing their best hockey of the year at the right time.

8. Kindersley Klippers 23-24-5-2 (Last Week 5th):

The wildly up-and-down nature of this Kindersley Klippers campaign continued this past week, as a tough four-game road trip in the south of the province yielded three points, and featured three games in which one of the teams was shut out. With the most games played of any team in the league at the time of writing, the Klippers have only two games left but can still finish as high as fifth and as low as eighth. They need only a single point or Yorkton and Nipawin to drop a single point to clinch, but the goal has to be to avoid that Round 1 series with Flin Flon. Clayton Jardine’s team does not play again until March 15, with 13 days off to rest, wait, and watch.

9. Yorkton Terriers 21-28-2-2 (Last Week 11th):

The Terriers’ playoff hopes may hang on a knife’s edge, but whatever happens the rest of the way, this group of coaches and players have a lot to be proud of and excited about for the future. Many had them left for dead at the new year, but they rallied behind the terrific goaltending of Ethan Farrow and made a real run for it. A dramatic 4-1 win Friday night in Nipawin was followed up by a 3-0 shutout loss at the hands of the Kindersley Klippers Saturday in what was Farrow’s 13th-straight appearance. Yorkton has another critical clash with the Hawks, this time at the Westland Arena, on Tuesday night, the loser of which will be eliminated from the SJHL post-season picture. The Terriers do not play again after that until March 15.

10. Notre Dame Hounds 15-34-2-0 (Last Week 9th): 

Notre Dame’s lone contest came Tuesday night in a hard-fought 5-4 loss to the Yorkton Terriers in Wilcox, though Brett Pilkington’s men had no shortage of chances to win having had two third-period leads. This group has shown all sorts of character and guts over the last number of weeks, playing hard for each other despite being eliminated from the post-season in mid-February. They have won three of the last four as spoilers and will look to do more of the same with three in four nights this week, beginning Tuesday evening in Weyburn.

11. Nipawin Hawks 19-27-1-4 (Last Week 10th):

The 2024 calendar year in general has not been kind to the Nipawin Hawks, but they refused to quit this past Wednesday in a wild back-and-forth overtime loss to the red-hot Weyburn Red Wings at home. A tough 4-1 loss at Centennial Arena Friday evening to the Yorkton Terriers put their post-season hopes on the precipice, and a ‘winner-survives’ with those same Terriers in Yorkton Wednesday evening looms. A very tough week continues Friday night with a trip to Melfort, followed by a visit from the No. 1 seeded Flin Flon Bombers

12. La Ronge Ice Wolves 15-34-2-0 (Last Week 11th):

Everyone had to know that a team coached by Kevin Kaminski would never go out without a whimper, and the Ice Wolves gave the red-hot Weyburn Red Wings all they could handle this past weekend. The Wolves fell 3-1 and 3-2 on Friday and Saturday, respectively, but nothing short of full effort is the standard up in the La Ronge, and so for that, their players deserve a ton of credit. La Ronge hosts Flin Flon Friday before heading to Melfort Sunday