Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The SJHL This Week

With the SJHL season starting to wind down, a lot of eyes are being focused on La Ronge and the play of Travis Eggum. The 20 year old forward from Saskatoon is on the verge of not only becoming the first SJHL’er since Garrett Cameron of Melfort in the 2002-2003 season to register a 50 goal season. Through 46 games this year, Eggum has 45 goals and 39 assists for 84 points. He has an outside shot at having a 100 point season, but he will need 16 points in his final 12 games to accomplish that.

If you are wondering where Eggum stands when it comes to all of Canadian Junior “A” hockey this season, his 45 goals are second in the country to Cornwall’s Jacob Laliberte who has 47 goals in 47 games.

Eggum’s play has kept the Ice Wolves atop the Bauer Conference. The Wolves won two of three games over the past seven days to maintain a five point lead over Melfort. Humboldt may have depleted its roster at the January 10th trade deadline, but they are hanging onto 3rd with the Battlefords just one point back. Flin Flon went a long ways to perhaps grabbing the final playoff spot in the conference by winning two of three games this week while Nipawin lost three of four. The Hawks have shown that they can get on a roll though, so they can’t be discounted even though they are six points back with just 12 games to play.

In the Sherwood Conference, the Kindersley Klippers had a great chance to catch the Yorkton Terriers for first on Saturday night, but they could not capitalize. An Estevan victory over Kindersley at the West Central Events Center denied Kindersley a chance to move into a tie with the Terriers for first. Yorkton and Kindersley have two games against one another before this season is over---both of those games will go in Kindersley so Rockie Zinger’s crew will have a chance to try and knock off the Sherwood’s best team for most of the season themselves.

At the bottom of the conference, the Melville Millionaires may remember a Saturday night loss to Notre Dame if they do not get in the playoffs. Leading the Hounds 3-0 after 40 minutes, Melville was perhaps poised to drive the final nail into the playoff coffin for Notre Dame this season. Perhaps sensing that, Notre Dame went out and scored three in the third to tie it and then won it in overtime on James Howden’s 2nd goal of the game. The win leaves Notre Dame four points back of Melville and that final playoff spot, but Melville does have three games in hand.

A couple of players had some huge nights in the league this week. Melfort’s Brody Haygarth had a six point night in a 9-6 win over visiting Weyburn on Saturday. That tied a league high for the season. The next night, Rodney Cowie had four goals for the Wings in a 7-1 victory of the Hawks. Only three other players in the league this year have had four in a game.

Jeremy Boyer (Yorkton Terriers) – The Terriers made a bold move at the January 10 trade deadline by grabbing the talented Boyer and Justin Buzzeo from Humboldt. The move is paying off early. The 20 year old from Saskatoon had three goals and four assists as the Terriers split their games this week. 5 of the 7 points came in a win over Notre Dame.

Sean Flanagan (Kindersley Klippers) -The 1992 Kindersley born blueliner is a player that scouts are watching. Flanagan seems to be able to do what he wants on the ice with ease and he was doing that this week. Flanagan’s play helped Kindersley win two of three games and keep the heat on first place Yorkton in the Sherwood.

Russell Abbott (Notre Dame Hounds) – The 1991 born goalie from Mill Bay, B.C. wins the award for the second straight week. Abbott’s play is one reason why the Hounds are still in a position to catch Melville for the final playoff spot in the Sherwood Conference. Abbott was in net for three of Notre Dame’s four games and he came away with two wins and a shootout loss. Abbott allowed just seven goals on 99 shots posting a goals against average of 2.18.


1. La Ronge Ice Wolves – The Credit Union Cup went to northern Saskatchewan last year and there is no reason to think it couldn’t stay there. The play of Travis Eggum isn’t the only thing to talk about when talking about the Ice Wolves
2. Melfort Mustangs – Do the Mustangs have the horses to catch La Ronge for first? It will be a daunting task, but the teams do play twice against one another before the season ends.
3. Kindersley Klippers – This team was already talented up front, but Wheaton King’s arrival makes them even more dangerous.
4. Yorkton Terriers – It looked like the Terriers needed a few games to develop some chemistry with their new players in the lineup. It looks like they have accomplished that. Can they hold off the hard-charging Klippers for first in the Sherwood
5. Battlefords Stars – They can have some adventures behind their blue-line, but their offence is making up for mistakes in the defensive zone. Ken Pearson knows those mistakes will have to be corrected come playoff time though
6. Humboldt Broncos – The Broncos were thought to be dead after trading off virtually all of their assets. They likely can’t get back into the first place chase in the Bauer, but they are doing all they can to hold off the Battlefords for 3rd.
7. Estevan Bruins – Chad Leslie has taken over from Karry Biette, but the inconsistency that cost Biette his job doesn’t appear to have left. There is still time to correct that though.
8. Weyburn Red Wings – A tough trip to the north saw the team win just once in four tries this week. Do they have enough time to take a run at first in the Sherwood or do they settle in and cement themselves in 3rd.
9. Flin Flon Bombers – The Bombers were in need of some wins and they got two big ones over La Ronge and Melfort to keep a hold of that last playoff spot in the Bauer.
10. Melville Millionaires – How much will Saturday’s loss to Notre Dame hurt this team down the road. It can’t be comforting blowing a three goal lead at home to a team that is chasing you for the last playoff spot. Jamie Fiesel is hoping it was just a minor bump in the road and not a huge pothole.
11. Notre Dame Hounds – Russell Abbott is providing the goaltending, but someone needs to take charge and start putting the puck in the net. If that happens, the Hounds just may nip the Millionaires for that last spot at the finish line
12. Nipawin Hawks – It hasn’t gone well since the trade deadline for Nipawin, but they know that if they can put together one or two solid weeks that they will be right there fighting for that last playoff spot in the Bauer.

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