It’s your Source Embroidery Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League Power Rankings for Nov. 10, 2021.
1. Estevan Bruins (13-4-0) – 2nd last week. Really, you toss a coin between Estevan and Humboldt right now for the top of the league. Mark Rumsey has points in nine games in a row, a ridiculous 19 points over that span and a 6-2 win at home Saturday over the Broncos was a signature one. They added another major junior veteran – Eric Pearce – since the last rankings, and there is absolutely no doubt this is the most talented forward corps in the league.
2. Humboldt Broncos (15-5-0) – 1st last week. – A split this past weekend in Estevan vs. the high-flying Bruins, the addition of long-time Western Hockey League forward Alex Morozoff, and the DirectWest commitment of Connor McGrath to NCAA Division I Ferris State University has to have the Broncos flying high. The defeat in Estevan is Humboldt’s only loss in 10, and you have to think there is still plenty of room for this group to keep getting better.
3. Flin Flon Bombers (12-6-0) – 3rd last week. A quiet week with only a lone game, a defeat in Melfort has an already-deep Bombers team continuing on the road to full health. Cal Schell has been brilliant in net, the pair of Cole Vardy and Xavier Lapointe might be the best in the league, and there is plenty of guns up front too. The Bombers now have five in a row at home too, so beware the Flon.
4. Melfort Mustangs (11-6-1) – 5th last week. The results have been uneven lately for the usually consistent Mustangs, but a 7-3 win at home Wednesday to Flin Flon might have righted the ship. Veteran Seth McCullough has been catching fire with five points in his last three, and a 5-for-8 spot on the power play vs. the Bombers was very impressive.
5. Battlefords North Stars (12-6-2) – 4th last week. The Bombers were disappointed with their performance in a home 5-3 loss last Friday to the Yorkton Terriers, and have since responded well with wins over Notre Dame and Kindersley. There’s a new hero every night from the Battlefords committee, and they really do feel like Michael Harroch is the answer in net.
6. Notre Dame Hounds (8-5-2) – 6th last week. Notre Dame barely played the last couple of weeks, though a postponed game in Kindersley over the weekend didn’t help matters. Two-straight overtime losses to the Battlefords North Stars could have gone either way, and even despite all that, Elliot Dutil leads the league in goals with as much as five games in hand on other teams, the league’s youngest captain Kev Anderson is second in assists, and at only 17, Austin Elliott is in the discussion for best goalie in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League. Bright days ahead for the league’s youngest crew.
7. Nipawin Hawks (8-7-2) – 9th last week. Two good team wins over the La Ronge Ice Wolves this past week were just what the doctor ordered for the hitherto slumping Nipawin Hawks, who had managed just a lone victory since the Showcase. Chase Hamm’s shutout performance at home Saturday was steady, and an eight-goal weekend is some enormous signs of life for an offence that was really scuttling. Carson Dobson is one of the best rookies in the league that nobody is talking about.
8. Kindersley Klippers (9-9-1) – 7th last week. The red-hot Klippers finally cooled off a bit after a few games back in division yielded losses this past week to the Humboldt Broncos and Battlefords North Stars. Still, the turnaround under Ken Plaquin has been outstanding, Matt Pesenti and Brett Sweet remain the answer in the net, and it’s a real committee upfront for this team that relies a lot on Mark Snarr on the back end. Manageable schedule ahead for the confident Klip show.
9. Yorkton Terriers (7-10-1) – 8th last week. An impressive victory in North Battleford Friday was since followed up by two tight slugfest losses in Kindersley and Weyburn, and this Terriers’ team that only seems to play nail biters continues to ride that wave. The absence of captain and by-far-top-goal-threat Kishaun Gervais in the last two has been a real problem, as needs to give excellent rookie Kael DePape a breather in the net.
10. Weyburn Red Wings (5-9-3) – 10th last week. Two wins in a row at home for Coach Cody Mapes’ Wings this past week, mixed with some big-time roster shakeup, has breathed a little life into the south Sask club. Jackson Fellner has been steady in net in relief of the injured Dazza Mitchell, and if new captain Braden Birnie can keep scoring goals, this Weyburn team could start to be a harder one to beat. There is no question of the effort of this group, just whether they can consistently put pucks in the net. A pair with their blood rivals, the Estevan Bruins, looms this weekend.
11. Melville Millionaires (3-9-5) – 12th last week. A shutout win in Weyburn Wednesday perpetrated by 2005-born call-up goaltender Kelton Pyne might have been a wake-up call for the heretofore beleaguered Mils. Youngsters CT Larochelle and Noah Wills continue to be bright spots in a tough year, and a couple at home against not-Estevan coming up might be what the doctor ordered for Mike Rooney’s men.
12. La Ronge Ice Wolves (5-11-3) – 11th last week. Tough times in La Ronge, there’s no way to slice it. Losses this past week to the previously scuttling Nipawin Hawks have not helped, and Coach Kevin Kaminski’s men have not won in six. They have a whole bunch at home coming up starting this weekend, so maybe that will help.