Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Grizzlies, Vees slip in rankings but remain top-10, Eagles get mention

Press Release 

CALGARY, Alberta (February 19, 2013) – The top four teams in this week's rankings remain the same as three other teams make impressive moves in preparation for a long playoff run. Meanwhile, in the MHL, the Summerside Western Capitals, Yarmouth Mariners and Truro Bearcats hold their rankings as they prepare for the junior hockey world to converge on the Maritimes for the Fred Page Cup in Truro and the RBC Cup in Summerside.

The first of this week's biggest movers, the OJHL's Kingston Voyageurs, might be the hottest team in the CJHL. They jump from honourable mention to #15 on the strength of an impressive run over the past couple of months. Two other OJHL teams, Trenton Golden Hawks and Buffalo Jr. Sabres, stay at #8 and #12, respectively.

The Spruce Grove Saints, another of the biggest movers this week, are back in the Top 20 at #16 after last being ranked in January.  In addition to the strong play by the Saints, the AJHL has also witnessed an awakening by the Fort McMurray Oil Barons who have vaulted themselves into second place in the North Division.

The quick ascension of Kingston and Spruce Grove had a direct impact on the NOJHL's Soo Thunderbirds.  Despite a strong 2-1 record, they drop two spots to #17 to make way for the Voyageurs and Saints.  Elsewhere in the NOJHL, the North Bay Trappers, hosts of this year's Dudley-Hewitt Cup, can't make any ground in the Top 20 after two wins and a loss this week.

The last of this week's big movers, the SJHL's Humboldt Broncos, appear to be hitting their stride on the eve of the playoffs.  Their strong play this week sees them jump fours spots to #5.  The Nipawin Hawks are an honourable mention after rolling for a couple of weeks now.  The SJHL's league power rankings see Humboldt, Yorkton and Melville sitting 1-2-3, with Nipawin in at #4.

In the BCHL, the tough Interior Division holds some late season drama as the inconsistent Vernon Vipers, host of the 2014 RBC Cup, now have a legitimate chance to sneak into the playoffs.  The top-ranked BCHL team, the Victoria Grizzlies, slide one spot to #7 after spending a week at #4 followed by a week at #6.  At the same time, Penticton drops two spots to #9.

In the SIJHL, the Minnesota Wilderness continues its dominance of the five team loop and remains #2 in the CJHL.  Quebec's only team in the Top 20, Collège Français de Longeueil, lost two games this week and falls one spot to #20, giving up its #19 position to the CCHL's Ottawa Jr. A Senators.  The Senators are getting healthy again and with the return of some key players have started to make a real push for the top of the league.  

Top 20 Rankings

1.         Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (1)
2.         Minnesota Wilderness (SIJHL) (2)
3.         Summerside Western Capitals (MHL) (3)
4.         Dauphin Kings (MJHL) (4)
5.         Humboldt Broncos (SJHL) (9)
6.         Yorkton Terriers (SJHL)(5)
7.         Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL) (6)
8.         Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (8)
9.         Penticton Vees (BCHL) (7)
10.       Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) (10)
11.       Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) (11)
12.       Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) (12)
13.       Truro Bearcats (MHL) (13)
14.       Melville Millionaires (SJHL) (16)
15.       Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) (HM)
16.       Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (NR)   
17.       Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (15)
18.       North Bay Trappers (NOJHL) (18)
19.       Ottawa Jr. A Senators (CCHL) (NR)
20.       Collège Français de Longeueil (LHJAAAQ) (19)

Honourable Mention: Surrey Eagles (BCHL), Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL), Nipawin Hawks (SJHL), Georgetown Raiders (OJHL), Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL)

(Nathan can be reached at nathanfournier@mainehockeyjournal.com)

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