By Dave Leaderhouse
The Estevan Bruins and Weyburn Red Wings have both been acknowledged for their solid starts in the most recent Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings of its 132 teams with Estevan claiming the No. 17 position while the Red Wings gets an honourable mention.
The Bruins and Red Wings join the Battlefords North Stars and Melfort Mustangs, who remain firmly entrenched in the top 20 at No. 3 and No. 11, respectively.
Estevan has at least one point in its last eight games to sit atop the Viterra Division standings with a 10-2-1-0 record while Weyburn has won its last five matches to keep the Bruins in their sights with a 7-2-1-0 ledger while also maintaining three games in hand on the frontrunners.
The Battlefords, who have played just seven games to date, actually moved up two spots from last week following their 5-2 triumph over the Melville Millionaires in their lone contest of the week while Melfort slipped three spots despite going 2-0-1 in the past seven days.
The Nipawin Hawks, who are 6-1-1-1 on the season and have points in their last seven games, should be the next SJHL team to get onto the weekly honour roll if they continue with their improved play.
Top 20 Rankings
1. Thief River Falls Norskies (SIJHL) (3)
2. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (4)
3. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (5)
4. Okotoks Oilers (AJHL) (1)
5. Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ) (6)
6. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (9)
7. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (7)
8. College Français de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (16)
9. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (14)
10. Toronto Patriots (OJHL) (17)
11. Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (8)
12. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (15)
13. Edmundston Blizzard (MHL) (2)
14. Yarmouth Jr. A Mariners (MHL) (HM)
15. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (11)
16. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) (18)
17. Estevan Bruins (SJHL) (NR)
18. Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (HM)
19. Winkler Flyers (MJHL) (NR)
20. Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (12)
HONOURABLE MENTION: Trail Smoke Eaters (BCHL); Weyburn Red Wings (SJHL); OCN Blizzard (MJHL); Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL); North York Rangers (OJHL)