SIJHL Week 11 Preview

By Gary Moskalyk

Things are tight atop the SIJHL standings board. Kam River, Sioux Lookout, Thunder Bay and Dryden separated by three points. The first place Fighting Walleye have three games in hand on the Bombers and four on Thunder Bay and Dryden. Red Lake has two wins and an overtime loss in their last three games to stay in the hunt. Wisconsin had the week off and are a distant 6th place, 11 points behind the Miners and just two ahead of the Frances Lakers. Fort Frances has five wins in their last 10 games.

Kenora has just three points on the season.

Three doubleheaders and a Dryden/Wisconsin three-gamer highlight week 11.

Kam River 16-3-0 32 pts .842 1st GF 99 GA 52 +47 PIMs 387 PP% 30.6 PK% 79.8 at Thunder Bay 14-6-3 31 pts .674 3rd GF 92 GA 71 +21 PIMs 391 PP% 17.3 PK% 85.7 Fri/Sat

Kam River has the lone win so far this season in this match-up.

The CJHL 16th-ranked Fighting Walleye are a goal away from 100. In just 19 games that works out to over five goals a game. Not surprisingly, six of the top-20 point producers are wear orange/white/black led by captain Jeremy Dunmore’s 24 points (13G 11A). Ryan Doucette, 21, Jett Mintenko and Nicolas Fagnilli, 20, Carter Poddubny, 19, and Riley Borody, 18, round out the other five top-20 players. Defenceman Brydon Bell has 17, d-man Edwin Liang has 14, Kaden Goodwin, 13, blue liner Liam Bell has 13, Braeden Duchesne, 12, Daxton Lang and Matteo Salvatore have 11 points. 

That’s 13 players of the top-57 SIJHL scorers with 11 points or more. Max Wright has 10 points for good measure. Head coach Jesse Messier can roll four lines and not think too much about it.

Ashton Sadauskas has 11 wins in net to pace the loop in that category. Rookie Travis VanderZwaag is 5-2-0 with a 2.70 goals against average.

Kam River has a 30.6% powerplay rate, tops in the league. One minor quibble, their penalty kill is 79.8%–5th in the league. 

The Walleye average 20.4 penalty minutes per game.

Thunder Bay is on a minor slide, winless in their last three after 15 consecutive games of not losing in regulation time. EJ Paddington leads the league in points with 40 (16G 24A). Edison Weeks has a league-leading 25 assists and 37 points, while rookie Easton Mikus has 16 snipes and 18 helpers for 34 points. The league’s top line has combined for 111 points.

Tyler Jordan has 12 goals and 19 points in 18 games. Dimitri Trahiotis has 19 points and has played in all 23 games. Cohen Tangedahl and two defencemen, Drew Caddo and Connor O’Brien, all have 14 points. 

Thunder Bay’s 92 goals in 23 games works out to an even four per game.

Keenan Marks leads all goaltenders with 843 minutes between the pipes. His line is 10-4-1/2.85 GAA/.915 SV%. Ethan Barron is 4-2-2 with a 2.98/.898 split.

The North Stars are 17.3% on the powerplay, They’ve dipped below Sioux Lookout in the penalty kill at 85.7%. They’ll be facing the top powerplay in the SIJHL against Kam River.

Thunder Bay’s 391 penalty minutes equates to exactly 17 per game. 

Dryden 14-8-1 29 pts .630 4th GF 89 GA 68 +21 PIMs 543 PP% 23.8 PK% 77.5 at Wisconsin 5-10-3 13 pts .361 6th GF 51 GA 82 -31 PIMs 377 PP% 11.8 PK% 79.8  Fri/Sat/Sun

Both teams are 1-1-0 in the two games against each other.

Dryden took a pair at home against Thunder Bay, and with their number one goalie Ewan Soutar healthy again, watch out.

Max Roby has 14 goals and 10 assists to lead the Pack offensively. McLaren Paulsen, Bryce Benfield and Eli Antoine all have 20 points each. Paulsen has 13 goals and Benfield has played just 14 games.

Sean Smith and Carson Devine have 17 points each, and defenceman Geoff Bjarnason and his 72 penalty minutes has 13. Bjarnason missed both games against Thunder Bay.

Kaden Bandura, Rylan Maier and Tag Bryson have 10 points each.

Soutar has a 1.74 GAA and .942 save percentage in net. Michael O’Sullivan is not listed on the active roster. Liam Vanderkooi is. The 6′-7″, 196-lb Abbottsford, BC native has two starts and picked up his first win against Thunder Bay last weekend.

Dryden is 23.8% on the powerplay, 77.5% on the penalty kill. Their six shorthanded goals are the most in the league.

The Ice Dogs are averaging 23.6 minutes per game in the penalty box.

Wisconsin is a young team, laden with new players. They haven’t played since November 18th.

Most of the top scorers from last year’s squad have moved on. Ryan Kayser leads the present team in point production with 13. Nolan Fowler has 11. Defencemen Connor Corcoran and Zach Johnson have 11 and 10 respectively, and Dillon Phillips has 10. 

William Forrester has the lion’s share of net of net time. He has 528 minutes, a 3.98 GAA, .896 SV% and a 3-6-1 record. Jacob Barcelona is 0-1-2 in his five appearances and has the best save percentage among the three netminders at .909. Ryden Freshwater is second in minutes with 320 with a 2-3-0 record in seven appearances. 

The Lumberjacks are 11.8% on the powerplay, with seven shorthanded goals against while up a man. They’re 79.8% on the penalty kill.

Wisconsin averages 20.9 minutes per game in the bin.

Kenora 1-16-1 3 pts .083 8th GF 34 GA 121 -87 PIMs 438 PP% 7.5 PK% 71.6 at Red Lake 11-7-2 24 pts .600 5th GF 84 GA 57 +27 PIMs 341 PP% 13.5 PK% 84.8 Fri/Sat

Red Lake is 2-0-0 against the Islanders this year.

The Islanders are in dire need of a win. Their game one win over Wisconsin in game one is their lone win on the year.

Aaron Bertschinger has 10 goals and 14 points to lead Kenora on the scoresheet.

John Paul Scaringi has 12 points, Brayden Mackay has 11 and Max Wright has 10.

Matthew Stephens is the minutes leader between the pipes. Stephens has accounted for the three points Kenora has. His save percentage is .896. Kaden King’s 5.65 GAA is tops among the Kenora netminders. Connor Dunham-Fox had a tough start in his first game. The 6’4″ 205-lb Dunham-Fox was acquired from the Iroquois Storm of the NOJHL where he posted a 4.58 GAA and .892 SV%. Prior to that, Dunham-Fox had a banner season with the Thunder Pro Hockey U18 Prep team, posting a 12-2-2 record, 2.23 GAA and .930 SV%. 

The Islanders powerplay is 7.5% and the penalty kill is 71.6%. The Islanders average 24.3 minutes per game in the penalty box. 

Kenora returns to the Moncrief Construction Sports Centre on December 15th.

Red Lake has five points in their last three games and are 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. 

Aiden Corbett’s eight points in his last two games has him 9th in league scoring with 10 goals and 13 assists. Luke DeCorby has 16 points. Sniper Nathan Dann has 11 goals in 12 games (and three helpers). Noah Tenney and Gabe Tanton have 14 points, defenceman Blake Hiltermann has 13 points and a robust 59 minutes in penalties. Carter Deschamps, Landon van Engelen and d-man Bryson Carlyle round out the double-digit men with 11 points.

Ethan Neitsch continues to impress in net. He’s 4-5-2 with a 2.38 GAA and .934 SV%. Noah Davis sports a 3-1-0 record, 3.71/.881 split.

The Miners powerplay sits at 13.5%. The penalty kill is exceptional at 84.8% and Red Lake has five shorthanded to sweeten the deal.

The Miners are virtually tied with Thunder Bay for the fewest penalty minutes averaging 17.1 minutes per game.

Fort Frances 5-13-1 11 pts .289 7th GF 47 GA 84 -37 PIMs 476 PP% 13.5 PK% 82.4 at Sioux Lookout 15-5-2 32 pts .727 2nd GF 92 GA 53 +39 PIMs 386 PP% 28.0 PK% 86.6 Friday. SLB at FFL Saturday 

Sioux Lookout is 2-0-0 while Fort Frances is 0-1-1 in head-to-head play.

The Lakers are .500 in their last 10 games. 

Ryker Watt’s seven goals lead the team and his five assists tie him with Jack Wood with 12 points. Brady Krentz and Clark Scaddan have 11 and 10 points respectively.

Jack Orchard has logged 697 minutes in net. Orchard is 3-8-1 with a 3.79 GAA and .912 SV%. Lucas Toth and Gunner Paradis are in reserve.

The Lakers powerplay is clicking at a 13.5% clip. The penalty kill is 82.4%, pretty much league average (82.0%). The Lakers lead the league is penalty minutes per game at 25.1.

Sioux Lookout is presently tied for first in the SIJHL with Kam River with 32 points. They are currently 20th in the latest CJHL rankings.

Owen Riffel leads the SI in goals with 18 in 19 games. Combined with 14 assists he is the 4th player to join the 30-point club. Line mate Blake Burke has 9G 19A for 28 points. Connor Burke is 13G 11A for 24 points. That’s 84 points for the league’s second most productive line.

Jonah Smith has 10 goals and eight assists to claim 19th place in league scoring.

Dayvan Bull and Nolan Palmer are the two most productive defencemen in the league with 18 points each. Cedrik Robidoux and Owen Cotter have 14 and 13 points. Former Laker Cobe Delaney has an assist in two games with his new team, 12 points overall. Tait Howell has 11 points. November acquisition Trever Sanderson and Alex Lucas have 10 points each.

Matthew Spencer-Dahl leads the SIJHL in two of the three triple-crown goalie stats: 1.68 GAA and .954 SV%. Minute leader Jack Osmond is 7-4-1 with a 2.59 GAA and .935 SV%. Matthew Ofukany has three wins in his three starts with a 3.00/.904 split.

Special teams are pretty special in Bomber land. The powerplay is 28.0% and the penalty kill is a league-leading 86.6% for a composite score of 114.6. (100.0 is average). The Bombers have the lowest goals allowed per game at 2.41. 

At 17.5 penalty minutes per game, Sioux Lookout is one of the three SIJHL teams in the 17-minute category.