Thursday, September 19, 2013

SJHL power rankings (preseason edition)

Press Release

1-YORKTON TERRIERS
Defending champs return the Norrish twins and McMullen on the back end.  Giebel and Thompson should be two of the better scorers in the league.

2-BATTLEFORDS NORTH STARS
Lots of scoring with McMullen and Betinol.  Most of their defense is back, and they get Lee-Knight to backstop the crease.

3-FLIN FLON BOMBERS
Buffalo should be the best goalie in the league and Boehm should be the league’s top scorer.  That alone makes them good.

4-HUMBOLDT BRONCOS
Nobody is paying any attention to them, but there is still lots to like with Fluter, Aubertin, Pongracz, and Miazga up front.  Tyler Ross is an underrated piece in goal.  Sproule anchors the blueline.

5-KINDERSLEY KLIPPERS
Daniels is back from the USHL and he should put up monster numbers alongside Bombini.  There is depth on the back end and between the pipes.  Look for another year of improvement from the Klippers.

6-MELFORT MUSTANGS
Fans will be looking for them to build on the momentum of last year’s successful playoff run.  Sloan, Zentner, and Pickering are key veterans up front.  Saunderson had a terrific finish on the back end.

7-NIPAWIN HAWKS
Liem gets the keys to the crease and he looked real sharp in the second half of last season.  Kozun could challenge for a scoring title.  Doug Johnson coached teams are always in the mix.

8-ESTEVAN BRUINS
New head coach Chris Lewgood will put his stamp on the squad and early indications are a strong recruiting class along with 20-year-old goalie Matt Gibney being a nice acquisition.  Look for more scoring out of Hudson Morrison.

9-LA RONGE ICE WOLVES
Another team with a new head coach as Shawn Martin navigates a team that started rebuilding last year.  Martin has made a number of trades and it’s hoped the majority of the returnees can be a year better in addition to being a year older.

10-WEYBURN RED WINGS
A new era in Weyburn and this may actually be their first season of rebuilding after refusing to throw in the towel on a disastrous 2013.  Sam Williams, Kyle Oleniuk, and Ryan Cooper are decent 20-year-olds to help bring along the rookies.

11-NOTRE DAME HOUNDS
It’s all about developing players, but losing Ty Reichenbach, Dion Antisin, and Blaine Thomson just before training camp would be a disappointment to any team.  Sam Aulie and Ian Williams should lead the offense and they could surprise with early maturation from the kids.

12-MELVILLE MILLIONAIRES
Buy a program when you go to the games.  They have, practically, nobody back from last year and have made no secret about going young.

VETERANS TO WATCH:

Brett Boehm, Flin Flon – Last year’s top rookie could take the next step and win most of the major hardware this year.

Tyler Giebel & Tayler Thompson, Yorkton – Terriers may be more top heavy with their forwards.  Their numbers were suppressed last year because the team was so deep up front.

Cody Pongracz, Humboldt – If he can find chemistry with new linemates, he will be prolific.

Colby Daniels & Giovanni Bombini, Kindersley – They could be the top dynamic duo of the year.

Tad Kozun, Nipawin – All kinds of skill and averaged over a point per game last year.  He figures to be that much better this year.

Devin Buffalo, Flin Flon – No reason why he shouldn’t be the top goalie in the SJHL this season.


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

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