It’s the Source Embroidery Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Power Rankings for Feb. 16, 2022.
1. Humboldt Broncos (38-12-0-0) – 2nd last week – Scott Barney’s men have bounced back with a four-game win streak after the loss vs. Battlefords to start the month, including victories over Nipawin and Notre Dame this past week. Rayce Ramsay keeps smashing team and league records in net and is up to a Canada-high 35 wins at the time of writing.
2. Estevan Bruins (36-9-1-3) – 1st last week – Two wins outscoring the opposition 15-2 against Kindersley and Notre Dame were followed up by playoff-style, hard-fought 1-0 loss to the Battlefords North Stars on the Sasktel Game of the Month this past week. Toss a coin on a given week between the Bruins and Broncos with regards to which squad should be No. 1 in these rankings! Eric Pearce’s streak of 16 points in eight straight games was stopped by the workmanlike Stars Tuesday night.
3. Flin Flon Bombers (31-13-2-1) – 3rd last week – The results have been up and down for Mike Reagan’s Bombers, though the performances have still been very good. A surprising home loss to the Nipawin Hawks, in which the Nipawin goalie made 47 stops, followed by two impressive home wins this past week against former FF assistant coach Gary Childerhose and his Battlefords North Stars. Still, a little time to go in the season, but they seem locked in far behind Top 2, and far ahead of No. 4 in the standings.
4. Battlefords North Stars (26-13-5-1) – 4th last week – A masterclass in gritty, roadwork yielded an epic 1-0 win and a 43-save shutout for veteran Michael Harroch in Estevan Tuesday night. The goals have been a lot harder to come by for Brayden Klimosko’s men in the second half of the year, but the classic Stars teamwork ethic and identity seem impressively ingrained with the playoffs just around the corner. The victory in Estevan over the mighty Bruins followed a pair of defeats in the always-tricky two-game set in Flin Flon this past week.
5. Melfort Mustangs (25-15-3-5) – 5th last week – A four-game losing streak has coincidentally coincided with more injury troubles with No. 1 goaltender Joel Favreau, and while they still seem safe in either No. 4 or 5, they will need to stop the bleeding pretty soon to head into the playoffs in a good space. Losses to La Ronge this past weekend could have gone either way, that all being said, and they did not play poorly at all with the Wolves needing late heroics on both occasions. If there’s a coach in the league that can figure it out late in a season, it’s Trevor Blevins.
6. La Ronge Ice Wolves (23-19-1-3) – 7th last week – Unbeaten in nine, with eight wins in there, the Wolves are officially the hottest team in the SJHL. The arrival of Dawson Smith as a viable backup option to star netminder Xavier Cannon has been huge, as nobody has ever doubted that this group could compete with anyone in the league. Two dramatic wins over Melfort this past week have the gap closing with fifth place, though nobody will be taking La Ronge lightly come playoff time. Aaron Greyeyes’ eight-game point streak is the current league-high.
7. Yorkton Terriers (22-20-1-6) – 6th last week – Key injuries have not helped the Terriers lately, as losses to Kindersley and Nipawin between an important victory at home to the Melville Millionaires are in line with this wildly up and wildly down season in Yorkton. They still have the incredible Kael DePape dominating in the net, but coach Matt Hehr just simply needs some bodies back in the line-up by playoff time. As long as the three-headed monster of Gervais, Janzen, and DePape is in the squad, this team can win on any night.
8. Notre Dame Hounds (20-21-3-2) – 8th last week – The highs and potential – like in wins over Flin Flon and Estevan – have been pretty high, but the lows – such as 7-1 and 6-3 defeats to Estevan and Humboldt this past week – have been low as well. There is plenty of skill and heart in this group, though, as evidenced by their enormous win last Sunday at home vs. the Kindersley Klippers, and there are still 12 games left in the season for this team. Austin Elliott continues to be excellent in the net, and gives this team a chance most nights.
9. Kindersley Klippers (22-25-1-1) – 9th last week – The battle for the final playoff spot between Notre Dame and Kindersley continues to be epic, and with veteran goaltender Matt Pesenti playing as well as he is, you can never count the Klips out. Losses this past week to Estevan and Notre Dame were tough but not crippling, especially given a dramatic come-from-behind victory in Weyburn Saturday. Coach/GM Ken Plaquin’s men never quit.
10. Nipawin Hawks (16-27-0-6) – 11th last week – Eight points out of the playoffs to make up in nine games is a big ask for Tad Kozun’s squad, but dramatic wins this past week over Yorkton and in Flin Flon has to inject some optimism into this proud community. Ex-WHLer Bryden Kiesman has injected some speed and energy into this group, and they can be very dangerous playing free and easy the rest of the way, especially if Harmon Laser-Hume can play as well as he has lately in the net consistently.
11. Melville Millionaires (16-24-8-1) – 10th last week – The injury-bug has hit Melville very hard lately, but only five points out of the playoffs with nine games to go is far from insurmountable. Their schedule for the rest of February is really brutal, but this team has been giant killers a lot of this year.
12. Weyburn Red Wings (12-32-3-0) – 12th last week – Two wins over Melville this past week had to feel good for a great fanbase, and they almost made it three Saturday at home vs. Kindersley as well. Cody Mapes’ men play their hearts out most nights, so still very much a watchable team.