CALGARY, Alberta (February 11, 2013) - It is crunch time in the CJHL, and the races for playoff spots across Canada have intensified. In the BCHL, both Victoria and Penticton had small hiccups this past week, while the Merritt Centennials are making it clear that they will be a formidable opponent in the Interior Division. The AJHL's Spruce Grove Saints finally snapped their lengthy losing streak, while the Okotoks Oilers in the South are starting to roll. This season's top team in the CJHL, the Brooks Bandits are showing some inconsistency as of late, and perhaps giving hope to some teams of a potential huge playoff upset in the AJHL. Over in the SJHL, the Yorkton Terriers and Humboldt Broncos are starting to exert their power, while in Manitoba, the Dauphin Kings and Winnipeg Blues still remain on extended winning streaks, while the OCN Blizzard have put their recent swoon behind them.
The Minnesota Wilderness continue to dominate in the SIJHL, but the Dryden Ice Dogs, the Fort Frances Lakers, the Thunder Bay North Stars, and Minnesota Iron Rangers are competing every single night for playoff positioning. The NOJHL is shaping up to be a battle right to the end of the regular season as the Soo Thunderbirds and North Bay Trappers duke it out for top spot and the Sudbury Nickel Barons are starting to edge ahead of the Kirkland Lake Gold Miners.
The OJHL lost a full night of games due the 'Giant Blizzard of 2013' on Friday, but the Kingston Voyageurs just keep chugging along in what many feel is the most competitive division in the OJHL. Over in the CCHL, the Ottawa Jr. Senators are trying to manage a massive loss in manpower due to injuries and illness, while the Cornwall Colts and Brockville Braves are gaining confidence and points nearly every game.
The 'Great Blizzard of 2013' also affected many games in the LHJAAAQ and the Maritimes. In Quebec, the Collège Français de Longeueil is starting to put some space between themselves and the Panthères de St-Jérôme, while the MHL's Summerside Western Capitals are at full throttle as they prepare for their lengthy post-season. With less than a month to go before some leagues begin their playoffs, the CJHL is seeing great games every night on the road to the RBC Cup in Summerside, P.E.I. May 11-19, 2013!
Top 20 Rankings:
1. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (1)
2. Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL) (2)
3. Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) (3)
4. Dauphin Kings (MJHL) (6)
5. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)(8)
6. Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) (4)
7. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (7)
8. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (5)
9. Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) (10)
10. Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) (12)
11. Yarmouth Jr. 'A' Mariners (MHL) (9)
12. Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) (11)
13. Truro Bearcats (MHL) (13)
14. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) (14)
15. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (15)
16. Melville Millionaires (SJHL) (17)
17. Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) (18)
18. North Bay Trappers (NOJHL) (16)
19. College Francais de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (20)
20. Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (HM)
Honourable Mention: Merritt Centennials (BCHL), OCN Blizzard (MJHL), Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL), Cornwall Colts (CCHL), Amherst Ramblers (MHL)
(Nathan can be reached at email@example.com)