It’s your Source Embroidery Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Power Rankings for Dec. 1, 2021.
1. Humboldt Broncos (21-7-0) – 2nd last week – They were missing a troop of key pieces including Logan Kurki and Cage Newans this past week, but that’s no problem, as wins over Flin Flon and Kindersley has this juggernaut chugging along just fine. Goaltender Rayce Ramsay already has 21 wins; only four had more than that over the whole year the last time there was a full season.
2. Estevan Bruins (19-5-2) – 1st last week – A hard-fought shootout win over Melfort, and a cruise in Nipawin means Jason Tatarnic’s men are still right on track and there is very, very little to choose between the Bruins and Broncos, as has been the case most of the year so far. Their goal difference sits at an incredible +60, and the Mark Rumsey-Olivier Pouliot combination still looks pretty unstoppable.
3. Flin Flon Bombers (17-8-0) – 3rd last week – Epic splits the last couple of weeks with Estevan at home, and Humboldt on the road didn’t disappoint, and according to this writer it really is a two-horse race for Goalie of the Year between the Broncos’ Ramsay and Flin Flon’s Cal Schell. That one-timer to big defenceman Cole Vardy on the power play might be the biggest cheat-code in the league right now.
4. Battlefords North Stars (17-6-3) – 4th last week – A seven-game win streak was snapped last Sunday in Weyburn, but Brayden Klimosko’s men come at you in waves, never quit, and are getting great goaltending from veteran Michael Harroch. There is no rest with any line when you face the Black and Silver, and their team speed might be the best top-to-bottom in the league. Only Humboldt and Estevan have scored more goals this year.
5. Melfort Mustangs (13-7-5) – 5th last week – The Mustangs have had four-straight shootout games at the time of writing, and have lost all three of them since adding Mark Snarr and Nolan Doell, the respective former captains of Kindersley and La Ronge. With the coaching of Trevor Blevins, and the collective talents of this team, they will be fine, but they were only kept from slipping by the incredible inconsistency of the squads below them.
6. Notre Dame Hounds (12-8-3) – 6th last week – The Hounds have shown the inconsistency of their extreme youth over the last month. A win over Kindersley at home and a loss to resurgent Melville means ND is facing a very tough, road-heavy December light on confidence. Captain Kev Anderson still leads the league in points-per-game, and Elliot Dutil in goals-per-game, and on their day, the Hounds still like they can beat anyone.
7. Yorkton Terriers (11-12-3) – 8th last week – The Terriers have given up the second-fewest goals-against in the league at 66, but have also scored the second-fewest with 63. Wins over La Ronge and Nipawin mean Matt Hehr’s men end November on a high, and the best news at the Westland Arena outside of the continued stellar play of Kael DePape in the net is that captain Kishaun Gervais finally seems healthy.
8. Melville Millionaires (7-11-7) – 12th last week – The biggest power-ranking jump of the year is well-deserved as Mike Rooney’s men have finally hit a groove that has evaded them all season. Dominant wins over La Ronge and Notre Dame this past week were textbook to what Rooney has been preaching: hard to play against, incredible play from a talented Top 4 forward group of Noah Wills, Zach Cain, Nicholas Samson, and captain Jonathan Krahn, and underrated goaltending from Jared Thompson.
9. Kindersley Klippers (11-14-1) – 7th last week – The Klippers traded away their captain this past week and promptly lost both their games, to Notre Dame and a shorthanded Humboldt. This young group has struggled similarly to the Hounds: the inconsistency of youth, occasionally offset by the talent and enthusiasm of youth. When Matt Pesenti and Brett Sweet have been on in net this year, they’ve been a lot better; but that needs to happen more often if Ken Plaquin’s men are to find their groove.
10. La Ronge Ice Wolves (10-16-3) – 11th last week – A Kevin Kaminski-coached team can still beat anyone on their day, as they proved a couple of weeks ago with a win at mighty Humboldt, but the year has otherwise been wildly inconsistent from the Wolves. Holden Knights should ably replace the departed Nolan Doell (to Melfort), but are there more moves on the way with a couple of talented 20-year-olds still around? A win over Weyburn might relieve some pressure, but a very tough December likely won’t help matters.
11. Nipawin Hawks (10-12-4) – 9th last week – A combined special teams percentage of 88.6% (power play plus penalty kill) is no recipe for success, and while Doug Johnson’s team can find lightning in a bottle on occasion, 2021 has for the most part been a nightmare in Nipawin. Rookie Carson Dobson has been a big-time bright spot up front, while veteran Evan Bortis has been very consistent so, 2022 can only be better for a great fan base and organization.
12. Weyburn Red Wings (7-15-3) – 10th last week – The difference between Weyburn at home (7-6) and the road (one win in 11) has been stark, but head coach/GM Cody Mapes keeps making moves and the team just has not been able to stay healthy at the same time, so there has been no consistency. Graham Skinner is still sneakily one of the top defencemen in the league, and veterans Nik Sombrowski, Braden Birnie, and Drew Kuzma can definitely hurt you in the right situations.