North Stars ranked third in latest SJHL power rankings

By Martin Martinson
October 10, 2018 - 5:00pm Updated: October 10, 2018 - 5:37pm

The SJHL has released its power rankings for the week of Oct. 9. Here’s a more in-depth look at the league’s crème de la crème, in the top five.

The Battlefords North Stars are number three in the league’s power rankings, and just seem to continue to grow stronger by the game. The Stars now have only one regulation loss in their last seven games and are coming off a home-and-home with the Hawks that saw the Battlefords secure three of a possible four points in the standings.

Thanks to continued stellar play from goaltender Joel Grzybowski, who shut the door to the tune of a miniscule 1.47 goals against average and .952 save percentage over his last four games, and thanks to the third-best power play in the league, clicking at 23.5 per cent, led by veterans MacGregor Sinclair, and Matthias Urbanski; the Stars look poised to continue their winning trend.

The Kindersley Klippers lead things off in the number one spot after being deemed eighth-best last week. The Klippers, who limped out of September with a couple of losses to end the month, have seen new life with the turn of the calendar, and look to be – outside of Halloween – the most frightening thing in October.

The Klippers are currently riding a three-game win streak kicked off by a commanding 5-1 victory over the previously undefeated, defending champion, Nipawin Hawks. The Klippers then proceeded to snowball that momentum further, and parlay it into two additional wins against the offensive juggernaut that is the Flin Flon Bombers.

Kindersley managed to hold the Bombers’ offence to a combined three goals in two games, en route to taking home 4-2 and 2-1 wins respectively out of the two games played on enemy ice at the Whitney Forum. For Klippers’ defending Top Goaltender of the Year, Justen Close, the week saw him post a 4-1 record, along with a sparkling 1.57 goals against average and .948 save percentage.

The Nipawin Hawks, who were the highest ranked team in the league last week, and the highest ranked in the entire CJHL, found their stock drop to second-best in the Saskatchewan League after their aforementioned first defeat of the season at the hands of the Klippers, and the subsequent home-and-home showdown with the Battlefords North Stars.

The matchup with the Stars saw the Hawks narrowly edge out a victory in their first game at the NB Civic Centre via shootout, thanks to an Eric Sorensen tally in the penalty-shot relay. Nipawin would then succumb to a tough 4-2 loss on home ice against that same Stars squad at Centennial Arena, in front of their hometown crowd. 

The Weyburn Red Wings at number four, have been the beneficiaries of outstanding goaltending themselves by 20-year-old Riley Lamb. The former Red Deer Rebels' netminder has posted an eye-popping .953 save percentage through his first six games.

In addition to elite play between the pipes, the Red Wings are the toast of the league on both special teams, boasting a 27.8 per cent conversion rate on the power play, and 93.8 per cent success rate on the penalty kill; both league-bests.  

The Humboldt Broncos round out the top five for this week with a bit of an up-and-down week that saw the club go 1-1-1 on their road trip. After an 8-7 loss to the Yorkton Terriers at Farrell Agencies Arena in overtime, the gun-slinging Broncos’ offence all but ran out of steam, being shut out in their next game 2-0 to the home-town Weyburn Red Wings.

Finally, the team found solace in the form of a struggling Estevan Bruins group that endured a couple of losses prior to heading into action. Estevan’s woes, along with a premier performance from veteran forward Brayden Camrud, gave the Broncos a positive end to the weekend, courtesy of a five-point performance from the Saskatoon product.

Camrud, who managed to have a hand in each of his team’s five tallies, (2 goals, 3 assists) delivered the Broncos to a 5-3 triumph to put the green, yellow, and white back in the win column. For Camrud, the big night was the exclamation point on a stretch of games that has seen the 20-year-old veteran score six goals and 15 points over his last seven games, making him the hottest player in the SJHL.


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