SJHL Monthly Update – October 2022

Photo Credit: Broad Leaf Media

We are just about one whole month into the SJHL season, and as expected, the Sherwood Division is one of, if not THE, most intriguing division in the league. The top three teams are separated by just a single point at the time of writing, and the fourth place team is just three points back of first, and is tied for the final playoff spot. Each team has had their moments of greatness, followed by a few moments of weakness, so where does each team stand after three weeks of SJHL hockey?

In Flin Flon, there has clearly been no Centennial Cup hangover for the National Quarter-Finalists who sit first in the Sherwood with a 4-1-1-1 record, and 10 points through seven games. As expected, Cole Duperreault, Jaeden Mercier, and Jaxon Martens lead the way offensively, all at least at a point-per-game pace. The Bombers are only averaging about 2.7 goals-per-game, but that’s fine when your starting netminder has been nothing short of sensational. Harmon Laser-Hume has solidified the net for Flin Flon, sporting a 1.80 goals-against-average, and a .942 save percentage, both right near the top of the SJHL.

The Nipawin Hawks have shown at times this season that they could easily make the playoffs and be a threat with a young team, and young coaching staff. But they’ve also shown that youth at times, including a 7-4 loss to La Ronge to open the year, and a 4-1 loss to Estevan at home as shown with their 4-4-1-0 record. However, this team has also shown that when they play with speed and aggression, they are a tough out. Bryden Kiesman, Maguire Ratzlaff, and Alex Johnson have steered the ship offensively, while Reid Lalonde and Nolan McDowell have held down the fort admirably in net. Watch out for the Hawks.

The Melfort Mustangs have had what can best be described as an average start through nine games. A 3-3-3-0 record can best be described as mediocre, and inconsistent. However, their schedule has not been easy to begin the year, a total of five games against Battlefords, Humboldt, and Flin Flon have thrown the Mustangs right into the fire early in the season. Add in the fact that they’ve been missing Captain Ben Tkachuk, and last seasons team Playoff MVP Clarke Huxley, the depth has been tested for Trevor Blevins group and it’s going to continue to be tested. But it’s not time to panic in Melfort just yet, moves will be made, and James Venne is back from the WHL forming arguably the best goaltending duo in the SJHL with Joel Favreau. Take a deep breath Melfort, all will be fine in the City of Northern Lights.

To start the season, the La Ronge Ice Wolves are nothing if not entertaining. They’re scoring at a pace of three goals for game, but are also allowing goals at a rate of 4.25 per game. The 3-4-1-0 Ice Wolves haven’t had the easiest of schedules either, playing Melfort, Flin Flon, Humboldt, and Battlefords for six of their eight games. Dawson Smith has been stellar in net, sporting a .929 save-percentage through seven games, and guys like Ryley Morgan, Walker Jerome, and Ethan Strik are producing offensively. Add in the fact they they just added Trenton Curtis from Melfort, the Ice Wolves should be just fine and are still one of the toughest tests in the SJHL, especially at the Mel Hegland Uniplex.

We knew this division was going to be a fun battle, and it has lived up to it’s billing early on. La Ronge and Melfort battle in the only divisional matchup in the Sherwood this weekend, and it should be a doozy.