CALGARY, Alberta – The playoff races are in full swing across the country as the fight to be in Vernon, BC in May for the RBC Cup is becoming a factor in every game now. Some teams are hitting their stride and rolling with winning streaks, while some perennial powerhouse teams have picked a poor time to slump and fade.
The BCHL shows a classic example of this as the Powell River Kings have slipped in their past three games and the Langley Rivermen and Penticton Vees have caught fire.
In the AJHL, the Spruce Grove Saints and Fort McMurray Oil Barons battle every night for top spot overall, and the South Division is in a massive playoff battle for positioning as the Brooks Bandits are being pushed hard by the Okotoks Oilers, and the Drumheller Dragons, while the Canmore Eagles and Camrose Kodiaks are also starting to find consistent winning ways now.
In the SJHL, the Yorkton Terriers have also found their winning ways, with a seven-game winning streak, and the Melville Millionaires are suddenly struggling. The Kindersley Klippers and the Battlefords North Stars remain forces to be reckoned with when the SJHL playoffs open.
In the MJHL, the Selkirk Steelers are running away with the overall lead, and the fight for second place overall is now firmly between the Portage Terriers and Steinbach Pistons, while this season’s Crescent Point Energy Western Canada Cup host, the Dauphin Kings, have started to struggle.
Meanwhile, the Soo Thunderbirds of the NOJHL remain the hottest team in the entire CJHL with a staggering 24-game winning streak, while the Fort Frances Lakers of the SIJHL continue to dominate their rivals.
The Aurora Tigers of the OJHL have climbed atop the overall standings in the OJHL with 35 regulation wins, but now just the Kingston Voyageurs and Toronto Lakeshore Patriots remain in contention for the overall lead. The Whitby Fury, Cobourg Cougars, Wellington Dukes and Trenton Golden Hawks are still locked in an intense battle for playoff positioning in the OJHL’s East Division with only four points between all four teams.
The Carleton Place Canadians continue roll along in the CCHL with the overall lead, while the Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators and the Pembroke Lumber Kings are fighting for top spot in the Yzerman Division.
Les Pantheres de Saint Jerome still have a comfortable hold on the top spot in the LHJAAAQ, while in the Maritimes – every game is intense as the Truro Bearcats have grabbed top spot overall with one more regulation win than the Miramichi Timberwolves, and the Weeks Crushers are just one point behind these teams for the overall lead.
Top 20 Rankings
1. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (1)
2. Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (2)
3. Selkirk Steelers (MJHL) (4)
4. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (3)
5. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (5)
6. Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (6)
7. Aurora Tigers (OJHL) (7)
8. Langley Rivermen (BCHL) (11)
9. Yorkton Terriers (SJHL) (13)
10. Kingston Voyageurs (OJHL) (9)
11. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (10)
12. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (NR)
13. Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (15)
14. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (16)
15. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (14)
16. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (NR)
17. Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (17)
18. Les Pantheres de Saint Jerome (LHJAAAQ) (18)
19. Portage Terriers (MJHL) (HM)
20. Truro Bearcats (MHL) (NR)
Honourable Mention: Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL), Okotoks Oilers (AJHL), Toronto Lakeshore Patriots (OJHL), Smiths Falls Bears (CCHL), Miramichi Timberwolves (MHL)
(Nathan can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org)
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