CALGARY, Alberta - The AJHL's Fort McMurray Oil Barons spend another week as the CJHL's top ranked team, but for the first time in over a year the Brooks Bandits, in the midst of a three game losing streak, have fallen out of the Top 20. The Spruce Grove Saints on the other hand, with fifteen wins in a row, have moved up into the Top 5 at #4 this week. In the ultra competitive North Division of the AJHL, the Whitecourt Wolverines remain close to the top of standings and have earned an Honorary Mention. The Powell River Kings remain at the top of the Island Division and the overall standings, but six teams are within four points of the Kings and the top spot in the BCHL.
The Steinbach Pistons hold onto the #2 position overall for another week in the Top 20, but the Portage Terriers and the Selkirk Steelers remain within striking distance in the MJHL. Over in the SJHL, the Melville Millionaires are still rolling, and the Yorkton Terriers and Estevan Bruins are doing everything possible to stay near the top of the standings.
The Fort Frances Lakers continue to dismantle and dominate the SIJHL, and move up one ranking to sit at #3 this week. Thunder Bay falls two to #15. In Northern Ontario, the Soo Thunderbirds had a small hiccup, but are firmly in control of the NOJHL standings. Kirkland Lake moves up one ranking and occupies #13 this week.
The Buffalo Jr. Sabres and Toronto Lakeshore Patriots each had another strong week and move up two and six spots respectively in the rankings. Wellington and Kingston continue to battle hard in the East Division of the OJHL. Finally, the North York Rangers are showing signs of becoming the top team most pundits thought they would be this season. In the CCHL, the Carleton Place Canadiens are starting to pull away, but the Pembroke Lumber Kings, the Ottawa Jr. Senators and the Smiths Falls Bears are bunched closely together in the fight for second place overall in the CCHL.
Les Titans de Princeville have jumped back into the top spot in the LHJAAAQ after a strong week, and Les Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe have now reeled off six victories in a row to hold onto their Honorary Mention. With the Yarmouth Mariners losing their rink due to the World Junior A Challenge, the Weeks Crushers took advantage of their own games and have jumped up into #11 in the Top 20, while the Truro Bearcats have also earned an Honorary Mention.
Top 20 Rankings
1. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (1)
2. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (2)
3. Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (4)
4. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (6)
5. Powell River Kings (BCHL) (5)
6. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (3)
7. Buffalo Jr. Sabres (OJHL) (9)
8. Carleton Place Canadiens (CCHL) (10)
9. Melville Millionaires (SJHL) (17)
10. Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL) (16)
11. Weeks Crushers (MHL) (19)
12. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (HM)
13. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (14)
14. Wellington Dukes (OJHL) (12)
15. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (13)
16. Selkirk Steelers (MJHL) (15)
17. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (18)
18. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL) (HM)
19. Yarmouth Jr. 'A' Mariners (MHL) (11)
20. Les Titans de Princeville (LHJAAAQ) (NR)
Honourable Mention: Merritt Centennials (BCHL), Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL), Estevan Bruins (SJHL), Les Montagnards de Sainte-Agathe (LHJAAAQ), Truro Bearcats (MHL).
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)