It’s your Source Embroidery Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Power Rankings for Dec. 8, 2021.
1. Estevan Bruins (22-5-2) – 2nd last week – To stop this line-up from Lines 1 through 4 is a big-time chore right now, and league goals and points leader Mark Rumsey has seven snipes over his last four games. The defence also finally looks well-rounded with and at a goal differential of +71, and a five-game win streak, this team looks poised to keep running up the Canadian Junior A Rankings from the 10-spot they sit at right now.
2. Humboldt Broncos (22-8-0) – 1st last week – Scott Barney’s team survived a few key injuries and absences to get an always-tough split at the Whitney Forum in Flin Flon this past weekend, and only Brooks’ goalie has as many wins as the Broncos’ No. 1 Rayce Ramsay in Canadian Junior A hockey. No matter how deep this club, Barney’s system reigns supreme, so shorthanded rosters are less problematic.
3. Flin Flon Bombers (19-8-0) – 3rd last week – Injuries to key men Cole Vardy and Jaedon Mercier have not cramped Mike Reagan’s club’s style too much as their only losses in the last month have been to the two club’s above them. A D-Corps with three Major Junior experienced players, plus Division I committed Xavier Lapointe truly challenges Humboldt’s as the best in the league.
4. Battlefords North Stars (17-7-4) – 4th last week – A couple of losses to Notre Dame and La Ronge over the past week were unexpected for this Battlefords team that always seems to come out on top in one-goal games (those were their first two one-goal losses of the year, by the way). That being said, Brayden Klimosko’s men have still only lost once in regulation in their last 10, and the consistency of effort and production throughout the line-up remains extremely impressive.
5. Melfort Mustangs (14-9-5) – 5th last week – The Mustangs finally halted their recent slide last Saturday at home with a big win over Melville, but they remain in fifth really because the teams below them are either recently surging, or have been incredibly inconsistent. No need to panic in Melfort though as rookie Trenton Curtis is on fire, and general manager Trevor Blevins is always very active at the trade deadline.
6. Yorkton Terriers (12-13-3) – 7th last week – What a job Matt Hehr has done rebuilding this club. Sure, a healthy captain Kishaun Gervais is critical, his moves to add Logan Cyca for free from Olds in the AJHL, and the play of his Top 4 Dmen of Tyson Janzen, Parker Jasper, Tanner Sklaruk, and Tyson Perkins in front of potential rookie of the year Kael DePape in net have meant that this team has been remarkably stingy for a while now. They blew an early 3-0 lead over Estevan this past week after blowing the doors off Melfort in Melfort, but all indications, plus the big-time add of veteran Zach McIntyre from Melville, point to the continuation of this strong run of form.
7. Notre Dame Hounds (13-10-3) – 6th last week – Brett Pilkington’s team has been as Jekyll and Hyde as anybody in the last month or so, and they followed up a hard-fought split in Kindersley and Battlefords this past weekend with a brutal demolition at the hands of the Estevan Bruins. Veteran goaltender Ryley Osland has really answered the bell in the net in the wake of the departure of rookie phenom Austin Elliott, but this team has not found enough answers lately beyond the very top of their roster.
8. La Ronge Ice Wolves (7-11-7) – 10th last week – Many observers were wondering how this team would respond to the trade of its captain Nolan Doell to Melfort a couple of weeks ago, and by all accounts, it has sparked something in Kevin Kaminski’s men. Four wins in a row, including an epic rally Tuesday from down 4-1 at home to Battlefords has the group believing in a bit of a resurgence at the Mel Hegland Uniplex, so kudos to this still-talented group for responding in the right way to the loss of their captain and best player. There is still an enormous difference for this team when Xavier Cannon is healthy and in net, and when he isn’t.
9. Kindersley Klippers (11-14-1) – 9th last week – Similarly to Notre Dame, this young team is capable of great things and capable of being really poor. Matt Pesenti was sensational in the net at home against Notre Dame last Friday in what was otherwise a very quiet week, but that time to practice and rest should be a good thing for coach Ken Plaquin to drill his four recently acquired players. Like La Ronge, this team has responded relatively well to the dealing away of its captain, as Mark Snarr was also sent to Melfort a couple of weeks ago.
10. Melville Millionaires (8-12-7) – 8th last week – Mike Rooney’s men were flying high with a three-game win streak after their home win over Weyburn last Friday, but were brought down to earth a little bit by a big 5-2 loss in Melfort Saturday. Injuries to key forward Nicholas Samson and defenceman Breckin Den Hartog don’t help, but this team is still playing well behind their outstanding captain Jonathan Krahn, and the rest of their schedule in December is pretty manageable to keep on rolling.
11. Nipawin Hawks (10-14-5) – 11th last week – The biggest news of the week was the firing of 11-year Nipawin boss Doug Johnson, replaced by his assistant Tad Kozun on an interim basis. The Hawks ran into a resurgent La Ronge Ice Wolves team at a bad time too, and they have now lost five in a row. Does anybody remember when the Hawks were ever the fourth-worst team in the league in goals-against? No, me neither.
12. Weyburn Red Wings (7-16-3) – 12th last week – A rash of suspensions followed up a quiet week, and after a dramatic home win against Battlefords Nov. 27, the Wings have fallen back down with two more heart-breaking losses. Now they head severely shorthanded to Melfort, two in Flin Flon, and then to Estevan, so hold on to your hats Weyburn fans!