The Humboldt Broncos are showing no signs of slowing down. In fact, they are getting better and better. The Broncos, who are the Canadian Junior “A” Hockey League’s number one ranked team for the third straight week continue to pile up the wins as they recorded three over the past week giving them a record of 12-1-0-1.
Look no further than the line of Justin Buzzeo, Jeremy Boyer and Nick Keller as to why this team is rolling. Buzzeo, a 20 year old forward from Windsor, Ontario, is tearing the league apart. Buzzeo had 14 points (3g, 11a) in the three victories giving him 32 points on the season which is nine better than his nearest competitor—Flin Flon’s Ryan Fox.
While Buzzeo had 14 points on the week, Boyer had 10 points while Keller had 9. Anyone who had questions at the start of the season about what Dean Brockman’s game plan was at the start of the season have been answered. The message has been sent that the Broncos would love nothing more to host the 2012 RBC going in as defending champs. Time will tell.
While the Broncos are doing their thing, the Melfort Mustangs are still in the Broncos rear-view mirror. Melfort won all three of its games this week and are within striking distance of Humboldt in the Bauer Conference as they are five points back. They are looking forward to a big home and home series with the Broncos that starts Friday in Humboldt. One reason for the fine play of the Mustangs is that of Adam Wihak. The 1991 born forward from Regina had four goals this week. Head Coach Darrell Mann says Wihak has been their most outstanding forward this season when you take everything into account.
While Mann is happy with the results of his team, he’s not happy with having to pay up a bet. Mann made a bet with Mustang radio voice Gino De Paoli. De Paoli is a big Calgary Stampeders fan, so the two made a friendly bet on the outcome of the CFL game between the two teams in Regina on September 17. With Calgary winning, it meant Mann had to take to the ice for practice this week wearing a Nik Lewis Stampeders jersey.
The Battleford Stars looked like they were starting to get their act together after a pair of wins this week, but they were brought back to earth with a thud on Saturday when they were embarrassed 11-1 in Humboldt. The Stars had a comeback this week that isn’t seen too often. Ken Pearson’s crew trailed the La Ronge Ice Wolves in La Ronge by a score of 5-2 with four minutes to play, but the team roared back with four goals in three minutes to win the game 6-5.
In the Sherwood Conference, the Yorkton Terriers lead the way with 19 points, but they are in the midst of a nine game road trip. The Terriers are 1-1 so far on that trip.
The Kindersley Klippers and Estevan Bruins are nipping at Yorkton’s heels. The Klippers hired an assistant coach this week as local product Rocky Zinger joins Larry Wintoneak on staff. Zinger had been most recently an assistant coach with the Alberta Junior League’s Okotoks Oilers. Wintoneak also had some moves to make this week as goalie Scott Hellyer informed the team he had lost his desire to play while Brett Penner asked for a trade. Hellyer was sent to Cowichan Valley of the BCHL for goalie Alexandre Peck. Peck had not arrived in time for games this weekend, so Patrick Johnson from the Saskatchewan Midget Triple A Saskatoon Contacts stepped in. The 1993 born goalie from Saskatoon got the start in Nipawin Saturday night and stopped 36 shots to record the victory.
Three SJHL’ers will be off to Penticton, BC for the World Junior “A “challenge. Yorkton’s Clarke Breitkreuz, Weyburn’s Drew George and Kindersley’s Sean Flanagan will all play for Canada West. The tournament starts November 8.
84 games have been played in the SJHL this season. 43 of them have been decided by one goal. That is over half and means that the chances of SJHL fans seeing an exciting, entertaining game is very high.
SHERWOOD PLAYER OF THE WEEK – Justin Buzzeo (Humboldt)
The 1991 born forward from Windsor, ON was unstoppable. He scored in overtime to give the Broncos a 5-4 win in Estevan while adding two assists. The next night he had two goals and four assists in an 8-2 over Weyburn and then had five assists in an 11-1 pounding of the Battlefords at the Elgar Peterson Arena Saturday.
SHERWOOD DEFENCEMAN OF THE WEEK – James Howden (N. Dame)
The Hounds have the best defensive group in the SJHL. One of the leaders of the Hounds blueline is James Howden. The 1991 born defenceman from Edgeley, SK had a goal and four assists in three games as the Hounds went 2-1 over the past seven days to crawl out of the Sherwood Conference basement.
SHERWOOD GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK – Andrew Bodnarchuk (Humboldt)
The 1990 born goalie from Saskatoon was in goal for all three of Humboldt’s three victories this week. He stopped 63 of 68 shots and posted a goals against average of 2.42 this week.
1. HUMBOLDT BRONCOS – Can this really be argued right now?
2. MELFORT MUSTANGS – Darrell Mann believes his team can compete with the Broncos. We will find out when the two teams play a home and home this weekend.
3. KINDERSLEY KLIPPERS – The Klippers are already a good team, and they will get better when Andrew Dommett returns.
4. YORKTON TERRIERS – The Terriers are atop the Sherwood Conference right now. Will they be once their nine game road trip is over.
5. FLIN FLON BOMBERS – Ryan Fox is having a great season and will gain some more notoriety if the Bombers can make the Bauer Conference a three-way race.
6. LA RONGE ICE WOLVES – They were four minutes away from having a perfect 3-0 week, but their meltdown against the Battlefords prevented that from happening
7. ESTEVAN BRUINS - With a little puck luck, the Bruins would have had a better fate this past week after losing in overtime to Humboldt, losing in a shootout to Weyburn and dropping a one goal decision to Melville.
8. BATTLEFORDS STARS – The Battlefords may have been destroyed in Humboldt this past Saturday, but Ken Pearson’s moves finally appear to be paying off. The Stars won’t be in the bottom half of the rankings for long if their recent play continues.
9. NOTRE DAME HOUNDS – Kevin White’s team has had a problem scoring goals. They got six in La Ronge which was great. The problem was the team that makes the opposition work for goals most night gave up eight in the same game.
10. WEYBURN RED WINGS – Once the Wings settle their goaltending problems and find someone they can rely on, they will be a formidable foe. The question is when will they settle their goaltending problems.
11. MELVILLE MILLIONAIRES – The Millionaires are in a stretch where they play four of five at home including a pair against Flin Flon. Positive results are needed and things started well with a victory over Estevan
12. NIPAWIN HAWKS - The Hawks have lost four in a row all at home. OUCH!