By Dave Leaderhouse
BRONCOS AND BRUINS LOOK TO KEEP UNBEATEN RECORDS INTACT HEADLINING BUSY WEEKEND PRIOR TO SHOWCASE
A busy weekend schedule preceeds a busy week as the Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League prepares for its annual Showcase event next week in Warman.
A number of teams remain undefeated after the first week of the regular schedule with both the Humboldt Broncos and Estevan Bruins being considered surprises in that category.
Estevan came into the season under the guise of being in a rebuild mode after gearing their squad last year to be the hosts for the Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup. So far so good, however, as they opened this campaign with convincing wins over the Melville Millionaires and in the process outscored their opponent 9-2 in those two tilts.
The Bruins will have a tough week ahead of them as they are on the road this weekend for games in Kindersley on Friday and the Battlefords on Saturday before heading to Warman where they will take on Humboldt on Monday and the two-time defending Canalta Cup champion Melfort Mustangs on Tuesday.
The Broncos, meanwhile, are off to an impressive 3-0-0-0 start and have outscored their opponents 17-7 with Logan Schatz (2-5-7), Trevor Posch (3-3-6), Daniel McKitrick (3-2-5) and Chris Van Os-Shaw (3-2-5) all among the top five in scoring. The Broncos are also doing this while being the most penalized team through the first seven days of the season.
Humboldt entertains the Nipawin Hawks on Friday before heading to Warman where they will meet Melville on Sunday and complete their Showcase experience on Monday against Estevan.
Another game this weekend that looks interesting is Melfort heading to Weyburn on Friday to face the Red Wings. The Mustangs are also among the undefeated after a relatively easy opening weekend against La Ronge where they won the home-and-home series by a combined 12-2 margin, but they will have a much tougher test against the defending Viterra Division champions who were unbeaten on the opening weekend before suffering their first loss, 2-1 against the Notre Dame Hounds on Wednesday.
La Ronge , Melville and Kindersley will all be looking to get their first point of the season on Friday when the Ice Wolves travel to Flin Flon, the Millionaires head to Wilcox to take on the Notre Dame Hounds and as mentioned the Klippers will host the surprising Bruins.
Saturday’s schedule is abbreviated somewhat with just three contests as Flin Flon makes a return trip to La Ronge, the Bruins head to the Battlefords to take on the North Stars and Melfort continues its southern swing with a stop in Notre Dame.
The Showcase kicks off on Sunday at 11 a.m. with the first of two Midget AAA contests. The two matches will feature 1999-born players in one game and 2000-born players in the others. These games are a great opportunity for the scouts to see what is coming up and it also gives the 12 SJHL teams a chance to look at prospective players for the future.
In addition to providing the scouts from various levels with an opportunity to see what the SJHL has to offer the Showcase is the perfect setting for the league to promote itself as a viable option for the Midget AAA players. (Click here to see the Midget AAA rosters).
It is a busy stretch, but the first of many opportunities for the players and coaching staff to show what they have to offer.
La Ronge at Flin Flon
Nipawin at Humboldt
Estevan at Kindersley
Melville at Notre Dame
Melfort at Weyburn
Flin Flon at La Ronge
Estevan at Battlefords
Melfort at Notre Dame
Sunday September 25
11:00am – Midget AAA Game 1
1:30pm – Humboldt Broncos vs Melville Millionaires
4:00pm Midget AAA Game 2
6:30pm – Battlefords North Stars vs Melfort Mustangs
Monday September 26
11:00am – Estevan Bruins vs Humboldt Broncos
1:30pm – Melville Millionaires vs Battlefords North Stars
4:00pm – Nipawin Hawks vs Yorkton Terriers
6:30pm – Flin Flon Bombers vs Weyburn Red Wings
Tuesday September 27
10:00am – Melfort Mustangs vs Estevan Bruins
12:30pm – Yorkton Terriers vs Flin Flon Bombers
3:00pm – La Ronge Ice Wolves vs Notre Dame Hounds
5:30pm – Weyburn Red Wings vs Kindersley Klippers
Wednesday September 28
11:00am – Notre Dame Hounds vs Nipawin Hawks
1:30pm – Kindersley Klippers vs La Ronge Ice Wolves