It’s the Source Embroidery Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Power Rankings for Feb. 23, 2022.
1. Estevan Bruins (40-9-1-3) – 2nd last week – Since the league instituted a 58-game season in 2015-16, only one team had more goals over a full campaign than the Bruins do right now with five games left. Big wins over Weyburn and La Ronge have the Estevan machine churning along just fine.
2. Humboldt Broncos (40-13-0-0) – 1st last week – The Broncos responded to a hard-fought defeat in Kindersley this past week with a thunderous Family-Day domination of those same Klippers. Only five games left to make up a four-point gap behind No. 1 Estevan.
3. Battlefords North Stars (29-14-5-1) – 4th last week – A loss last week at Notre Dame was very well responded to by solid home victories against Flin Flon and Weyburn. All of a sudden, the battle for third, and home-ice advantage in general, is fierce and the Stars have the slight advantage of games in hand.
4. Flin Flon Bombers (31-16-2-1) – 3rd last week – Yes, the Bombers have lost four in a row, but they have pounded all sorts of pucks at the opposition net in that span, and the other team’s goaltenders have stood on their respective heads. A whole bunch of winnable games at home are coming up, so absolutely no reason to worry in northwestern Manitoba.
5. Melfort Mustangs (27-15-4-5) – 5th last week – The win Tuesday in Wilcox was the Mustangs’ first road win since New Year’s Day, and with key bodies returning to health very soon, there is a lot of reason for optimism in Melfort.
6. La Ronge Ice Wolves (26-21-1-3) – 6th last week – La Ronge’s long win streak was finally stopped by Yorkton this past week, and while they are dealing with a few very key injuries, they still found a way to cruise past Melville and Notre Dame on the road over the weekend. A big defeat at home to Estevan followed, but that juggernaut is tough for anyone to stop right now.
7. Yorkton Terriers (24-21-1-6) – 7th last week – Huge wins over La Ronge and Flin Flon has coincided with the emergence of relatively new Terrier Tresor Wotton as a viable and reliable alternative in the net to all-star Kael DePape. A little bit of a more road-heavy schedule the rest of the way looms for a Yorkton team that has been in Westland Arena a lot lately.
8. Kindersley Klippers (23-27-1-1) – 9th last week – Saturday’s 3-2 win over Humboldt at home was a remarkable performance by Matt Pesenti in net, and if the Klippers are to outduel Notre Dame in this wild battle for the final playoff spot, he will need to continue to be the magician he has been a lot of this year. Flip a coin on a week-to-week basis between Kindersley and ND on whom should be in this spot.
9. Notre Dame Hounds (21-23-3-2) – 8th last week – The Hounds and Ryley Osland were excellent in their win at home over Battlefords last Thursday, and sandwiched a poor performance against La Ronge with a loss to Melfort that could have easily gone either way. The Hounds still have three games in hand on Kindersley, but stakeout on the road on the always difficult northeast swing at Nipawin, Flin Flon, and La Ronge.
10. Melville Millionaires (17-26-8-1) – 11th last week – Alexis Giroux produced one of the remarkable performances of the year, shutting out the Flin Flon Bombers in Melville on 47 shots last Friday. Everyone has to be aware that on their night, the Mils can, have, and will beat anyone.
11. Nipawin Hawks (17-28-0-6) – 10th last week – Other than Friday night’s 6-0 defeat to Humboldt, Tad Kozun’s Hawks have been very competitive in February. Saturday’s 2-1 win over Melfort was reminiscent of the suffocating defensive performances of Nipawin in the near past.
12. Weyburn Red Wings (12-36-3-0) – 12th last week – Stay the course, Weyburn! Keep supporting your team, the young talent is there, so do not lose hope!