Things are starting to get tight in the Bauer Conference. The Humboldt Broncos have been the top team in the conference for most if not all of the 2010-2011 season, but their perch atop the ladder is now a tenuous one with two teams nipping at their heels. The Melfort Mustangs and La Ronge Ice Wolves are both proving they are more than capable of playing with the Broncos as both defeated the former number one ranked team in the country convincingly over the past seven days. The Ice Wolves walked into Humboldt and beat the Broncos 5-1 on November 10 while the Mustangs beat Humboldt 5-0 on home ice November 13. As a result of what went on over the past seven days, the Broncos still lead the Bauer with 31 points, but the Mustangs are one back with La Ronge two back. The Ice Wolves had a great chance to pull into a tie, but they saw a five game win streak come to an end in Estevan on Sunday.
Speaking of the Bruins, they have won six of their last seven to keep within distance of the first place Yorkton Terriers in the Sherwood Conference. Estevan is still five points back of first place Yorkton, but they have four games in hand. While the Bruins are chasing the Terriers, they must also look in their rear-view mirror as Kindersley, Weyburn and Melville are starting to make the Conference very tight with games against one another meaning so much even though we haven’t hit the halfway part of the season.
Larry Wintoneak is back in Kindersley. The Klippers coach was guiding the Canada West team at the World Junior “A” challenge in Penticton. The Canada West team had medalled in the four previous WJAC’s, but that streak came to an end Sunday afternoon when Team Switzerland broke open a 2-2 tie in the 3rd by scoring six times to take an 8-3 victory in the bronze medal game. Besides Wintoneak, the SJHL was represented by Yorkton’s Clarke Breitkreuz. He was the team captain and leading scorer as he had a goal and four assists in five games. Weyburn’s Drew George and Kindersley’s Sean Flanagan also contributed with some valuable minutes in the six team event.
SHER-WOOD PLAYER OF THE WEEKTaylor Duzan (Kindersley) - The tiniest Klipper was large this past week as Kindersley won two of three games. One of those three games saw the 1991 born forward from Saskatoon score four times while setting up two others in an 8-7 overtime loss to Melville. In all, Duzan had seven goals and three assists this past week.
SHER-WOOD DEFENCEMAN OF THE WEEK Davis Vandane (Yorkton) - The Terriers won all three of their games this past week and one of the reasons why was the play of the 1992 born defenceman from Yorkton. Just returned to the team after a stint with the WHL’s Saskatoon Blades, Vandane has made an already strong defence stronger.
SHER-WOOD GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK Charles Corsi (Melfort) – The 1990 born goaltender from Rosemere. Quebec is making an early bid to be the SJHL’s goaltender of the year. Corsi was in net for three Mustang wins stopping 78 of 80 shots and recording his first shutout of the season. This is the 3rd time this season he has won the award.
1. La Ronge Ice Wolves – The Ice Wolves have turned the Bauer Conference race into a three way one between themselves, Humboldt and Melfort. Not much separates these three teams so it will be interesting to see what each does down the road to improve themselves.
2. Yorkton Terriers – Trent Cassan’s crew came home after a successful nine game road trip and recorded big home ice wins over Estevan and Notre Dame. They have built a cushion between themselves and the 2nd place Bruins, but they have also played the most games in the league at 25.
3. Melfort Mustangs – Would the Mustangs be having the success they were had it not been for the acquisition of goalie Charles Corsi. His presence means the Mustangs don’t have to score a lot to be successful.
4. Estevan Bruins – Karry Biette’s crew is playing its best hockey of the year right now having won six of their last seven.
5. Humboldt Broncos – There’s not a lot separating 1st from 5th and Humboldt has been the top ranked team for the past number of weeks. They have fallen back to the rest of the pack, but they are still a very formidable team and could move up again in a big hurry.
6. Kindersley Klippers – The Klippers had been struggling, but they won two of three this past week to get back into the Sherwood Conference mix.
7. Melville Millionaires – Jamie Fiesel might finally be starting to see the type of team he thought he might have. If the Mils can get the goaltending, they will also get right into that Sherwood mix.
8. Weyburn Red Wings – You live by the sword, you die by the sword. A team that has been given great goaltending by Mitch Kilgore over the past few weeks was shutout in two of its three games this week.
9. Flin Flon Bombers – The Bombers have lost five of their last six. As a result, they have some work to do if they are going to join the race in the Bauer Conference as some separation has occurred.
10. Battlefords Stars – Many around the league can’t understand how a team that looks so talented on paper is sitting where they are. Many are also wondering if and when this team is going to start playing to its capabilities.
11. Notre Dame Hounds – The Hounds are searching for answers after having lost five of their last six. This veteran team needs to start playing like it or they will be on the outside looking in for quite a while.
12. Nipawin Hawks – Doug Johnson’s first year is not going as planned unless frustration was part of the plan.