By Dave Leaderhouse
Parity in the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League is great for the fans, but when it comes to having a presence in the national rankings then that trend doesn’t usually translate into higher positions on the weekly list.
Following a busy weekend of action the SJHL has seven teams separated by just five points at the top of the overall point’s race and from that large group just the co-leaders of the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division have made the weekly Canadian Junior Hockey League rankings.
The Humboldt Broncos, who split their two games last week when they got past the Flin Flon Bombers in overtime before falling decisively to the Notre Dame Hounds, are the highest ranked SJHL club on the list now holding down the No. 19 spot.
The Kindersley Klippers, who are the hottest team in the league at the moment having won four and losing once in a shootout in their last five outings, are one spot behind Humboldt at No. 20.
Neither club was on the CJHL’s Top 20 a week ago, with the Klippers garnering just an honourable mention. Both Humboldt and Kindersley, who have 17 points each for a share of the Global Ag Risk Solutions lead, are one point behind the surging Flin Flon Bombers in the overall point’s race and despite grabbing points in their last five straight contests, and solo first place in the Sherwood Division to go along with the overall lead, the Bombers are no where to be found on the list.
Neither are the Nipawin Hawks and Weyburn Red Wings, the two clubs who cracked the list last week, but a combined five losses in the last seven days would explain their descent. What can’t be explained, however, is the omission of the Melfort Mustangs who after a pair of victories over Nipawin on the weekend moved into second place in the Sherwood Division and their .682 winning percentage trails just Kindersley. The Mustangs are just three points back of the Bombers with Melfort holding three games in hand.
At the beginning of the season Nipawin blasted out of the gate with six straight wins and as a result were named the top team in the weekly rankings for two consecutive weeks. Now that the rest of the league has found its legs, the standings are much tighter and as a result no one is running away with any divisional lead. That truly is good for the fans and having tough competition is always better than predictable results. Ditto, for national rankings.
The CJHL Top 20 Rankings
(As of Oct. 15)
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST WEEK)
1. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (3)
2. Brockville Braves (CCHL) (9)
3. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (8)
4. Oakville Blades (OJHL) (5)
5. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (15)
6. Les Titan de Princeville (LHJAAAQ) (NR)
7. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (1)
8. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (NR)
9. Hawkesbury Hawks (CCHL) (13)
10. North York Rangers (OJHL) (HM)
11. Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL) (16)
12. Red Lake Miners (SIJHL) (HM)
13. Amherst Ramblers (MHL) (17)
14. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (12)
15. Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (18)
16. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (19)
17. Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) (10)
18. Inouk de Granby (LHJAAAQ) (2)
19. Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) (NR)
20. Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (HM)
HONOURABLE MENTION: Swan Valley Stampeders (MJHL); Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL); Aurora Tigers (OJHL); Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ); Summerside Western Capitals (MHL)