Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League


By Craig Stein

Most Playoff Spots Still In Limbo After Final Regular Season Saturday

The summarized version of a wild Saturday night is that the playoff picture was no more decided at the end of the five games as it was at the start.

The big story was Notre Dame coming back from 4-2 down to beat the Weyburn Red Wings 5-4 in regulation.  A Weyburn win would have lifted the Wings into 6th and cemented the Hounds in 8th.  The comeback victory in regulation, means Kindersley stays in 6th despite having the weekend off, and also that Notre Dame wins the season series against Weyburn by a point.  The Hounds were 3-2-0-1 against Weyburn for 7 points, while the Wings were 3-3-0-0 for 6 points.  Should the two teams end up tied for 7th, the Hounds would take the higher spot.

Kindersley owns the tie-breaker against Notre Dame, going 5-1-0-0 against them, while the Klippers and Red Wings were both 3-3-0-0 in head to head meetings.  The next tie-breaker is wins, which right now is dead-even at 28.  The third tie-breaker is goals against average, and the Klippers have surrendered 16 fewer goals, so they would have the upper hand if it came down to it.  The only way Weyburn could get 6th in the event of a tie with Kindersley, is if they won their final game (and Kindersley picked up just one point in their last two games) as the Wings would finish with one more win.

Complicated, and we won’t even begin to sort out how a potential three way tie for 6th would shake down considering everyone could have the tie-breaker with one team and not the other.

It gets really easy if Kindersley can win either of their games against the Battlefords North Stars on Tuesday or Thursday, or, have Notre Dame (Tuesday vs Humboldt) or Weyburn (Friday @ Yorkton) lose.  Again the only way Notre Dame could possibly be in the mix for 6th is (maybe) if there’s a three-way tie and that scenario is too much to get into with a week to go.  If they’re only tied with Kindersley, the Klippers are in.

The bottom half of the Wild Card situation is also still up in the air, as Melville beat Yorkton 3-1, and Flin Flon lost in Estevan 5-3.

That means the Millionaires (23-29-2-2) are now just two points back of the Bombers (22-26-3-5) for 9th place, and both teams have two games left.  The Bombers also hold the tie-breaker, so one win or one Melville loss would do it for Flin Flon.

Flin Flon has two home games remaining, Tuesday against Melfort and Friday against La Ronge.  Melville has a home and home with Estevan, Wednesday and Friday.  No one’s hotter than the Millionaires at the moment.  They’ve now gone 8 games without losing in regulation (6-0-2-0), and their record in their last 10 games (7-1-2-0) is better than anyone else in the league.

The Battlefords North Stars’ glimmer of hope for the first overall seed got a little brighter Saturday, as they beat Humboldt 6-1, and saw Nipawin fall 9-2 to Melfort.

The Stars (41-12-2-0) are now five points back with three games remaining.  They’re home and home with Kindersley Tuesday and Thursday, and then have the Hawks on the road Friday.

Layne Young had three assists on the night, giving him 70 helpers and 105 points on the year.  MacGregor Sinclair and Brad Girard scored twice each.

Melfort’s 9-2 win made them 8-1-1-0 against the league-leading Hawks this season.  They know they’ll face Humboldt in the Quarter-Final, with Game 1 & 2 in Melfort March 16th and 17th.  Loch Morrison had five points (1g-4a) in Saturday’s win.  Rock Ruschkowski (2g-2a), Tristen Elder (1g-3a) and Drew Warkentine (2g-1a) also had big nights.

Nipawin has two games remaining, and will try to make Friday’s game against the Stars a formality.  They host La Ronge Tuesday with a chance to wrap up the regular season pennant.

The league is off until Tuesday when four big games hit the ice.

Battlefords @ Kindersley
La Ronge @ Nipawin
Melfort @ Flin Flon
Humboldt @ Notre Dame

It is possible for the standings to be all set in stone by the end of Tuesday.  If Kindersley, Flin Flon and Humboldt (in regulation) all win, the standings would stay as they are right now.  Nipawin can take care of business on their own against La Ronge, but a Stars’ loss to Kindersley would also solve 6th, while a Hounds’ regulation loss would lock them into 8th and Weyburn into 7th (if Kindersley also wins).  A Flin Flon win clinches them 9th and Melville 10th.

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