GM #26 Preview: Vees Look for Weekend Sweep in Merritt

Nov 22

Venue: Nicola Valley Memorial Arena

Game Time: 7:30pm

Listen: EZ Rock AM 800

Watch: www.fasthockey.com

 

Season Series: Sept 27th 5-0 Centennials,  Oct 8th 4-2 Penticton, Nov 21st 3-2 (OT) Penticton, Nov 22nd at Merritt, Dec 17th at Merritt, Jan 16th at Merritt, Jan 23rd at Penticton, Feb 20th at Penticton.

Vees Road Record: 10-2-0-1

Vees Record vs. Interior Division: 12-2-0-0

Vees Leading Scorer: Riley Alferd 16-11-27

 

Centennials Home Record: 9-2-0-0

Centennials Record vs. Interior Division: 9-5-0-1

Centennials Leading Scorer: John Schiavo 15-9-24

 

Take Two: The Vees and Centennials go at it again tonight, as the scene shifts to Merritt in this weekend home-and-away series. The Vees came from behind Friday, scoring late in the third to force overtime, then Tyson Jost scored early in the extra frame to complete the 3-2 comeback win. Friday was just the third time this season the Vees were trailing going into the third period and now sport a 2-1-0-0 record when doing so. Friday extended the Vees win streak to five games and snapped the Cents’ four-game run in the process. It was also Merritt’s first overtime loss this year, as they and the Vees sport identical 4-1-0 records in overtime.

Merritt can take comfort knowing they thumped the Vees 5-0 back on September 27th in Merritt; a win both teams haven’t forgotten and for different reasons. I know talking to the coaching staff and players that shutout loss still doesn’t sit well with them; a sore spot on the calendar. That was the only time the Vees have been blanked this season and was one of just two games they’ve surrendered four or more goals; revenge is on the mind.

Merritt’s rink gives them a unique home-ice advantage with the cramped confines and their record reflects that, as they’re an impressive 9-2-0-0 at home this season. The Cents’ are 4-1-0-0 in their last five home games, the only blemish was a 4-1 loss to Prince George on November 8th; their only other loss at home was October 11th to Salmon Arm.

Looking for a Good Start: The Vees will want to avoid repeating what happened last time they were in Merritt. In their only visit they put themselves behind the eight ball by going down a pair of goals in the first and never found their footing, in that 5-0 setback. they’ve surrendered the opening goal in their last two games, which isn’t necessarily a bad thing as they’re now 9-1-0-0 when doing so, but trying to come from behind in Merritt is a whole other animal. Put it this way, when the Vees scored first they’re 12-2-0-1 and when they lead after the opening period they’re 7-0-0-0. Merritt will no doubt be fired up after last night’s result and they’re that much more confident on home ice. The Vees will need to have their work boots strapped on right from puck drop.

Not Much Time, Not Much Space: The Vees decision-making with the puck in Merritt was a problem in late September and got them into trouble. As a player, you have to make your reads and you decision-making that much quicker in Merritt’s rink; the game is a bit more chaotic. Not much room to be perfect with the puck and the play is on top of you more than you think. The Vees will have to be quick but smart with the puck, especially when they’re in their own zone. They’ll need to hit the first outlet opportunity right away or just go with old reliable: glass and out. As Patrick Newell told me this morning there’s no room for skill, “Just have to muck a couple of goals and get out of there.” Well said.

Looks to be the same line-up the Vees iced Friday night. There might be a change in goal as I think there’s a chance we see Brendan Barry get the start between the pipes. I’ll know more closer to game time.

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Post-Game #25: Late Rally & OT Magic in 3-2 Win

Game Recap Nov 21

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

 

  • Friday’s word of the day was “persistence.” The Vees were just that in the third period, as they had a determined effort to tie the game, which they did, then they still had some gas in the tank for some overtime magic. Down 2-1 entering the third, the Vees didn’t panic, looked very composed and didn’t break from their game plan. That patient, persistent approach paid off in the end as Pat Newell tied it with under three-minutes left in regulation.
  • From a Merritt perspective, it was a rotten bounce that saw the Vees tie the game. Newell had his centering pass from just above the right goal-line go off Jake Clifford’s skate and underneath Anthony Pupplo. Newell was trying to pick out Demico Hannoun on the other side of the net but the puck got the inside of Clifford’s left skate instead and deflected in.
  • I say it was an unfortunate bounce from a Merritt perspective but it was a well-earned bounce from a Penticton perspective. The Vees were all over the Cents’ in the third, putting 13 shots on net to Merritt’s two and dominated the territorial battle. The bounce was some karma I suppose after the Vees couldn’t catch a break for over 55 minutes. The Vees had their chances tonight, as they were around the Merritt net quite a bit but couldn’t really get a bounce. They were foiled more than once by a bad bounce, a near miss, a blocked shot or whatever else you could imagine. Some believe you generate your own luck in hockey and I guess the Vees earned their luck tonight. It didn’t come right away but they didn’t get frustrated and the Vees finally got rewarded with a favourable bounce in the third.
  • Just before the tying goal, the Vees had some great pressure in the offensive end, as it seemed like someone pressed the tilt button on the pinball machine. The Vees were hungry for an equalizer and the Cents’ were hanging on trying not to let the 2-1 lead slip. Not sure if Merritt can really be too upset how that third played out, considering their were on full defend mode for much of the period. Hey, they only mustered two shots on net in the period and were trying to grease out a 2-1 win on the road. They had their hands full with the Vees late push.
  • Not many probably noticed but if it wasn’t for Dakota Conroy’s fore-check behind the Merritt net, the Vees probably would have never tied the game late. Conroy raced after Shane Poulsen behind the net, separated him from the puck and then gave it off to Newell, who worked a give-and-go with Tyson Jost before tying it. Conroy got on his horse, leaned on Poulsen, which is no easy feat, then got himself parked in front of the net for the power-play. A veteran move but a savvy forward and that’s why the Vees got him
  • Conroy looked great on a line with Lewis Zerter-Gossage and Connor Chartier. Conroy and Zerter-Gossage are two big bodies and Chartier plays a heavy game. The three was using their size and strength to their advantage, as the were a handful in deep. Conroy made a nice play in the first, setting up Zerter-Gossage in the slot, who was somehow thwarted by Anthony Pupplo, who made a great save point-blank. Chartier played a real in-your-face style Friday as he was around the net all game; once he was in it too. Despite not getting a goal, I thought Friday was one of Zerter-Gossage’s most determined efforts as he built upon his good showing Wednesday. LZG used his size to create space and won his share of puck battles; he took the puck to the net with purpose. No points Friday but they’ll come for him and his new-look line soon enough.
  • Demico Hannoun knows how to turn it on when he needs to. The veteran was great in the third period and overtime after a quite first 40 minutes. Hannoun stepped up when he needed to and looked like a man on a mission in third. He had one shot just miss on a third period power-play, as he his one-timer just caught a piece of the post / goalie. He had a couple more chances, including a cannon of a shot that he just missed on the blocker-side off the rush on the right-wing. He could get an honorary assist on the game-tying goal, as he was in a position to receive that Pat Newell pass, which ended up banking in. If Hannoun didn’t sense to slide into open space on the weak side, there would have been no need for Newell to pass it. The best from Hannoun was his cheeky saucer pass to Tyson Jost in overtime. The Vees were against the ropes early in OT but on their only chance they scored. As they got the puck out of their own zone after sustained Merritt pressure, Hannoun carried the puck in on the right-wing, held up just enough to buy time for Jost to race into the play, then threaded the needle on a saucer pass that landed right on Jost’s stick.; perfectly timed. Hannoun wasn’t effective for the entire game but showed up when it mattered.
  • The Vees blue-line had a pretty solid night, outside of the one-even strength goal against. I thought Mike Lee put together another strong performance at both ends of the ice. He was great in his own end, using his positioning to get Centennials off the puck on more than one occasion. He almost tied the game in the third, as he found open ice in the right-circle but his wrist-shot missed on the blocker-side. Mile Gendron was going tonight too, as he was flew up the ice quite a bit and almost scored on a redirect at the side of the Merritt net. Gabe Bast, Dante Fabbro, Jarod Hilderman and Patrick Sexton were solid too, as all six contributed in some way, shape or form. No one was dragging their rear-end on the blue-line.
  • Hunter Miska will get a lot of the blame on the Cents’ first goal but I think it was a play that the defenseman has to take some of the responsibility. Miska had to race to a puck after he and the defenseman got caught in  the “you take it, I got it” situation. I know the d-man wanted to stay wide for the outlet but I thought he needed to go back for the puck himself. It was a bit out of Miska’s way to try to race it down in the circle. He missed, a total whiff on the clearing attempt, and Colin Grannary had the easiest goal of his young BCHL career. Hey, those things happen in junior hockey. Outside of that mental gaffe, the Vees were pretty tidy in their own end.
  • Both teams were good in their own end, especially in the first period. It was hard to get to the net on Friday, as the defense on either side did a good job boxing out forwards. Even when the Vees were pressing in the third, the Cents’ were being physical, leaning on Vees forwards who tried to fight through heavy traffic; getting to the net came at price.
  • The Vees had their penalty-kill streak end in the win. Going into the game, the Vees hadn’t surrendered a power-play goal in six straight games, dating back to November 5th. Despite the Poulsen power-play goal in the second, the PK looked sharp. The Vees PK came up large killing-off that Cam Amantea penalty late when the Vees were still down 2-1. A power-play goal there by Merritt and that would have been the game.
  • I know Merritt was upset with that Amantea hit on Grannary which drew the penalty; I think the bench wanted more than two minutes. But if you go back and watch it, Amantea came behind Grannary’s left shoulder in the middle of the Vees zone. He made contact with his left arm and the upper back and not Grannary’s head, so no blow-to-the-head penalty. I think the two-minute cross-check was the right call. I know Amantea wanted to go into Grannary’s side but next time he has to go out of his way to lead shoulder first to avoid such a call; Hard to get the angle on a the guy when coming from behind.
  • A scuffle after that hit broke out and the result was Patrick Sexton dropping the mitts with Daniel Nachbaur. I’m not a fighting advocate but I thought Sexton’s timing was commendable. The Vees weren’t playing poorly but were trailing at the time of the scrap and seeing their Co-Captain sacrifice himself for the rest of game, no doubt provided a shot in the arm going down the stretch.You hear about “picking your spots” and I think Sexton did just that. More of a wrestling match as both combatants lost their footing but both got a shot or two in before hitting the deck.
  • Overtime was nerve-wracking for Vees fans as the Cents’ found a second win. They didn’t look like a tired team, as Diego Cuglietta and John Schiavo were buzzing off the face-off in the Vees zone. Both of them had their chance to win the game, including one attempt just going off the side of the Vees net. That was Merritt’s first OT loss in five games; the Vees are now 4-1-0 in the extra frame. One chance is all they needed. To use a boxing analogy, the Vees were on the ropes early but just waited to landed the knockout blow.
  • A fun game, that lived up to the pre-game billing. Round two is back in Merritt Saturday and that building always produces drama; should be fun.
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GM #25 Preview: Vees, Cents’ in a Home-and-Home Set

 

Nov 21

Venue: SOEC

Game Time: 7pm

Listen: EZ Rock AM 800

Watch: www.fasthockey.com

Season Series: Sept 27th 5-0 Centennials,  Oct 8th 4-2 Penticton, Nov 21st at Penticton, Nov 22nd at Merritt, Dec 17th at Merritt, Jan 16th at Merritt, Jan 23rd at Penticton, Feb 20th at Penticton.

Vees Home Record: 10-1-0-0

Vees Record vs. Interior Division: 11-2-0-0

Vees Leading Scorer: Riley Alferd 16-12-28

 

Centennials Road Record: 5-7-0-0

Centennials Record vs. Interior Division: 9-5-0-0

Centennials Leading Scorer: John Schiavo 15-9-24

 What’s Old is New Again: Two long time Interior rivals renew acquaintances at the SOEC tonight. For the first time in 44 days the Vees and Merritt Centennials face-off. You have to go back to early October to when these two interior foes last played. It was Wednesday, October 8th, at the SOEC where the Vees won 4-2 over the Cents’; that avenging a 5-0 loss in Merritt on September 27th. The Vees are 14-2-0-1 since they last played the Cents; Merritt is 9-7-0-0. Both teams are playing some of their best hockey, as the Cents’ have won four straight and the Vees are riding a three-game win streak. After tonight these two go at it in round two, tomorrow in Merritt at Nicola Valley Arena. After this weekend these two don’t meet again until December 17th.

Another Night, Another Debut: Connor Chartier made his Vees debut on Wednesday in Penticton’s 4-1 win over Langley. Tonight Dakota Conroy makes his Vees debut against the Cents’. Conroy’s CJHL playing rights were acquired from Vernon in the Liam Finlay trade last month. Conroy started this season with the Prince Albert Raiders of the Western Hockey League and is coming off a 30-goal season with the Raiders last year. The Edmonton, Alberta native spent the past four seasons in the WHL with Prince Albert, Victoria and Brandon. Conroy will wear number 67 and will likely be paired on a line with Connor Chartier and Lewis Zerter-Gossage.

Making “Cents” of the Opposition: As mentioned above, the Centennials are coming into tonight’s game on a roll. The Cents’ have won their last four straight and what makes than more impressive is the fact three of the four wins were against divisional opponents. Merritt took out Cowichan Valley 6-4 last Sunday but also recorded wins over Salmon Arm, West Kelowna and Trail in the last week. The Cents’ come into this weekend’s action just a single point back of second place West Kelowna. With a win tonight and a West Kelowna loss against Vernon, the Cents’ can slide in right behind the Vees in the standings.

Helping the Merritt cause has been forward John Schiavo who was just named the BCHL Player of the Week. Schiavo had three goals and two assists in Merritt’s four wins last week, including the game-winner against Cowichan Valley last Sunday. Schiavo leads the Cents’ in scoring with 15 goals and 24 points and leads the team in power-play goals with seven.

Rookie goaltender Anthony Pupplo has started three of the Cents’ last four games and has carried the mail for most of the season, after Jonah Imoo went down with an injury in early October. Pupplo has won his last four starts and has a .922 save-percentage in the four games. The New York product took the loss against Penticton back on October 8th but did make 30 saves. Imoo picked up the win last Sunday against Cowichan Valley and since returning from injury has posted a 1-2 record with a .876 save-percentage in those three games. Numbers aside, Pupplo and Imoo are two very capable goaltenders and the Cents’ are spoiled in net.

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Miska Makes the Grade

From the CJHL:

CALGARY, Alberta (November 20th, 2014) – NHL Central Scouting released the November Players to Watch List today.  The CJHL had sixteen players on today’s list.   An additional nine players were added to the list from the Preliminary list that was put out at the end of September, while two players that were on the original list, were not on the November list.

 

Players are identified with an A, B, C or LV rating.  A indicates a 1st round candidate, while B indicates a 2nd/3rd round candidate and C indicates a 4th/5th/6th round candidate.  All CJHL players identified on the list were ranked with a C rating meaning they are 4th/5th/6th round candidates. 

 

Leading the way with six CJHL players on the list was the BCHL.  The AJHL had four players on the list while the OJHL had three, the CCHL had two and the MJHL had one player on the list.  

 

The following are the CJHL players on the NHL Central Scouting November Players to Watch List:

 

  1. CarmIne Buono                    Powell River Kings                               BCHL
  2. Vincent Desharnais              Chilliwack Chiefs                                 BCHL
  3. Brogdan O’Brien                  Prince George Spruce Kings               BCHL
  4. Marcus Vela                          Langley Rivermen                               BCHL
  5. Stefan Wornig                      Powell River Kings                               BCHL
  6. Hunter Miska                  Penticton Vees                                BCHL*
  7. Adam Berg                            Calgary Mustangs                                 AJHL*
  8. Tyler Busch                           Spruce Grove Saints                             AJHL
  9. Rhett Gardner                      Okotoks Oilers                                      AJHL*
  10. James Vermeulen                Whitecourt Wolverines                      AJHL*
  11. Dawson Theede                   Cobourg Cougars                                 OJHL*
  12. Will Reilly                              North York Rangers                             OJHL*
  13. Jackson Bales                        Oakville Blades                                     OJHL*
  14. Adrian Clark                          Carleton Place                                      CCHL*
  15. Andrew Peski                       Brockville Braves                                  CCHL
  16. Jackson Keane                      Winnipeg Blues                                    MJHL*
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Post-Game #24: Vees Find Extra Gear in 4-1 Win

Game Recap Nov 19

GAME RECAP 

BOXSCORE 

  • The Vees have been knocked down a few times but they’ve proven they’re never out of the fight. Langley came out swinging Wednesday, the Vees took some punches, but like a savvy prize-fighter turned it around in the late rounds. Langley came at the Vees early, were aggressive on the fore-check and made a point of throwing their weight around. Langley took advantage of a miscue up ice, turned the other way and scored on a nice three-on-one rush five-minutes in. However, the Vees picked themselves up off the canvas, counter-punched with a Matt Serratore goal, then they scored three over the final two periods to deliver the standing eight count and grab their third straight win.
  • The Rivermen’s depth players, guys who are there to play a heavy game, gave the Vees some headaches early. The trio of Hunter Anderson, Dante Hahn and Ryan Coulter were a handful early and so too was the pair of Zach Masson, Matthew Graham. They all were quick on the fore-check, got below the Vees goal-line and leaned on their D. Early the Vees defense were challenged to move the puck quickly because of the physical nature of the Rivermen. But hockey is a game of adjustments and we’ve seen the Vees adjust well to what the opposition throws at them. Wednesday wasn’t any different.
  • It’s getting to be clock work, how the Vees use the first five to 10 minutes to feel out their opposition, to get a sense of what they’re doing. Then after that, as the game moves into the final two periods they get stronger. Evert coach wants their team to get better as the game progresses and not peak or tail off; easier said then done. So far, the Vees are an exception, as more often than not, as the game grows longer they get better. First period was tight, a 1-1 game and the shots were 10-8 Vees. Move to the second, the Vees score early and again late, pressure Langley and take a 3-1 lead into the intermission. Shots were 13-7 for Penticton but the Vees had the decided edge in territorial play. Another goal and 13 more shots in the third and when the dust settled the Vees won 4-1 and outshot Langley 26-13 over the final two periods.
  • Matt Serratore has a knack of scoring timely goals. Just less than five-minutes after Langley opened the scoring, Serratore ties it when both teams were skating four aside. Serratore looked to have stolen the puck from teammate Riley Alferd. Alferd was on his backhand when Serratore was right there for the interception and or quick drop pass. Not only did that tie the game but came right after the Vees took themselves off the power-play. Instead of sagging and possibly getting behind 2-0, the Vees got back on their toes and tide it. Impeccable timing by Serratore.
  • Vees really turned the tables in the second, which saw them spend quite a bit of time in the Langley end. Their cycle game, moving the puck below the goal-line and in the corners was very effective. The Vees started to stretch out the Rivermen and got them chasing with the work they did in deep. Even I at times had a hard time keeping track of where the puck was and who had it down-low. That time of possession continued to pile up and you could see the Rivermen starting to tire. Hey, both goals in the second came off the rush and when the Rivermen were trying to get tired bodies off the ice.
  • First, Alferd was sent in on the left-wing and as he got to the left-circle he went five-hole on Bo Didur. Langley was racing back to change in the neutral zone and were caught. The Vees second goal happened in a similar fashion. The Vees saw Langley changing and Patrick Newell was hit with the puck down the left-wing. Newell played setup man, firing to Tyson Jost in the middle and he then went roof. Langley again tired, were caught with numbers near the bench and Newell had plenty of room and he took advantage.
  • Though both second period goals were scored off the rush, they were the result of extended work down deep in the Langley end. Just look at the Vees second goal, as moments before, Demico Hannoun hit the cross-bar then the post. The Vees capitalized when the Rivermen had tired bodies on the ice. Good teams take advantage of the opportunities that are presented.
  • One area the Vees took over in was the line match ups. I thought Jost, Hannoun and Newell did a good job against Marcus Vela, Gage Torrel and Justin Szeto. Those three seemed to never get out of their zone when that Vees line was out there. Sometimes offense is the best defense and the Vees offense kept the Rivermen big guns pretty quiet. Can’t do much damage when you don’t have the puck.
  • Post-game, Assistant Coach Nick Fuher commented on how there was no real weak link in the Vees chain Wednesday. Cam Amantea,  Cody DePourcq and Steen Cooper ate up a lot of time in the offensive end. They ate up significant minutes in those “Greasy” areas, where no one really wants to go. Tough minutes.
  • How about the “US line,” as Riley Alferd, Jack Ramsey and Matt Serratore combined for three goals and seven points in the win. They are red-hot and Alferd took over the team’s scoring lead with his goal and three points Wednesday; he now has 16-12-28 for the outright lead over Lewis Zerter-Gossage.
  • New line of Mitch Newsome, Lewis Zerter-Gossage and newbie Connor Chartier also spent a lot of time around the net and in deep on the cycle. Like the Vees other lines they weren’t shy at leaning on Langley’s D-core and pestered them whenever they didn’t have the puck.
  • The Vees know know how to come back, as they’re 8-1-0-0 now when being scored on first. In saying that they’re a hard team to come back on. Now 17-1-0-0 when leading after two periods. Almost automatic when this team has a lead.
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Game #24 Preview: Vees Host Riv’ on a Wicked Wednesday

Nov 19

Venue: SOEC

Game Time: 7pm

Listen: EZ Rock AM 800

Watch: www.fasthockey.com

 

Season Series: Nov 19th at Penticton, Nov 28th at Langley.

Vees Home Record: 9-1-0-0

Vees Record vs. Mainland Division: 4-0-0-0

Vees Leading Scorer: Riley Alferd 15-10-25

 

Rivermen Road Record: 5-5-0-2

Rivermen Record vs. Interior Division: 4-3-0-1

Rivermen Leading Scorer: Kevan Kilistoff 12-11-23

 

Home is where the Heart is: The Vees are in the middle of a three-game home stand at the SOEC. The Vees come into tonight’s game against the Langley Rivermen with a 9-1-0-0 mark at “home” this season; one home was at the Showcase in September. The Vees only blemish at home this season was a 3-2 setback on November 5th against West Kelowna and that was icing a short-handed line-up. In the Vees nine home games at the SOEC, they’re 8-1-0-0 and have outscored their opponents 38-13, and have only surrendered two or more goals three times. Langley climbed back to .500 mark on the road with their 4-3 win last night in West Kelowna. Despite the win last night, the Rivermen have won only two of their last five road games.

Some Sandpaper may be required: The Vees should expect an in-your-face style of play from the Rivermen when they drop the puck tonight. The Riv’ play a physical, aggressive game and that stats reflect that, as they’re the most penalized team in the BCHL. But if you’re going to play with an edge, you better have a good penalty-kill and the Riv’ own the league’s best PK, which is operating at 85.6 percent. The Vees power-play has found its groove, as they’ve scored goals in eight of their last night games with the man-advantage. Langley’s style of play can lead to penalties but the Vees will have to make the most of their opportunities if they’re planning on taking two points.

Another Hot Goalie? You don’t Say:  It seems the Vees have run into a few hot goalies of late and tonight may be no different. Langley’s Bo Didur has won his last five starts, including backstopping the Rivermen to a win Tuesday. Didur, a former Surrey Eagle, has a .937 save-percentage in his last five starts. He is familiar with the SOEC, as he was on the wrong end of a 7-1 thumping by the Vees against the Eagles last December. However, almost a year later and Didur is 10-5-0-0 and sports a tidy 2.32 goals-against average and .930 save-percentage. The Vees have overcome a string of solid goaltending performances of late, including peppering Cowichan Valley with 42 shots last Saturday. Tonight they’ll need another persistent effort to get some rubber in the Langley net.

So Far, So Good: The Vees have fared well against the Mainland Division this season, as they sport a 4-0-0-0 record. They’ve won three against the struggling Surrey Eagles and one against Prince George. Last year the Vees were 5-3-1-1 against Mainland teams but were winless against the Rivermen. Almost one year ago, the Rivermen edged the Vees 5-4 at the SOEC on November 29th. Gage Torrel, back for his second season, was the first star that night scoring twice and finishing with three points. Earlier that month the Vees and Rivermen played to a 1-1 tie in Langley. Tonight the Vees are looking for their first win against Langley since the 2012-2013 season.

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Vees Hold Pat in CJHL Rankings

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From the CJHL:

CALGARY, Alberta (November 17, 2014) – The Portage Terriers of the MJHL, on the strength of a 9-game winning streak, have retaken the top spot in the Pointstreak CJHL Top 20 Weekly Rankings. Nearly all ten leagues across Canada are tightening up, and the parity in many leagues is becoming very evident.

The Penticton Vees have since recovered from a few off nights, and the Nanaimo Clippers have strung together a solid four-game winning streak. It is interesting to note that there are twelve teams within ten points of the Prince George Spruce Kings for third overall in the BCHL. In Alberta, the Spruce Grove Saints are clinging by a single point lead over the Camrose Kodiaks, but the Kods still have three games in hand.

The SJHL’s Kindersley Klippers have a solid lead in the overall standings, ahead of the Melfort Mustangs, but eight teams in the 12-team league have winning records, so it is shaping up to be a dog fight for sure the rest of the regular season.

The Portage Terriers remain comfortably atop the overall MJHL standings, while the Winkler Flyers and the Winnipeg Blues are in a battle for second place, with the Blues holding a four-game advantage in games to be played. This could quickly eliminate the Flyers current advantage.

In the SIJHL, the Fort Frances Lakers have jumped ahead of a suddenly stumbling Thunder Bay North Stars, while in the NOJHL, the surging Kirkland Lake Gold Miners are in a near dead heat with the Soo Thunderbirds – on top of the standings by one point, but the Thunderbirds do hold a one game in hand advantage.

The Trenton Golden Hawks and the Aurora Tigers of the OJHL are separated by just two points for the overall lead in the standings.  Once again the East Division is proving to be ultra-competitive with the Cobourg Cougars, Whitby Fury and Kingston Voyageurs all within striking distance of the Golden Hawks.

The CCHL’s Carleton Place Canadians and the Ottawa Jr ‘A’ Senators remain on top of the Robinson Division and the Yzerman Division respectively.   While the Cougars de Sherbrooke continue to rule the standings of the LHJQ.  

In the MHL, the Woodstock Slammers have a strong grip on first place in that league, but are seeing the Miramichi Timberwolves and Dieppe Commandos start to close in with their strong play.

Top 20 Rankings

1.       Portage Terriers (MJHL) (2)
2.       Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (1)
3.       Penticton Vees (BCHL) (3)
4.       Woodstock Slammers (MHL) (7)
5.       Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (4)
6.       Kindersley Klippers (SJHL) (5)
7.       Spruce Grove Saints (AJHL) (6)
8.       Aurora Tigers (OJHL) (8)
9.       Camrose Kodiaks (AJHL) (9)
10.   Fort Frances Lakers (SIJHL) (11)
11.   Nanaimo Clippers (BCHL) (17)
12.   Kirkland Lake Gold Miners (NOJHL) (12)
13.   Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (10)
14.   Cougars de Sherbrooke (LHJQ) (16)
15.   Winnipeg Blues (MJHL) (19)
16.   Miramichi Timberwolves (MHL) (NR)
17.   Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (18)
18.   Melfort Mustangs (SJHL) (20)
19.   Dieppe Commandos (MHL) (NR)
20.   Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (NR)       

Honourable Mention: Battleford North Stars (SJHL), Winkler Flyers (MJHL), Cobourg Cougars (OJHL), Georgetown Raiders (OJHL), Titan de Princeville (LHJQ)

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