SIJHL Week 12 Preview

By Gary Moskalyk

Thunder Bay, ON – First place Kam River continues to dominate, and their power play is now clicking.

Dryden is in Red Lake in a battle between second and third place clubs. 

Thunder Bay plays a Thursday match against Sioux Lookout and has the rest of the week off. Both clubs are on mini slides.

Wisconsin, fresh off a two-game sweep of Fort Frances, tests their swagger against the Bombers for two in Sioux Lookout and then ventures to Fort Frances for a Sunday matinee.

Fort Frances entertains the white-hot Fighting Walleye in a weekend pair and then the Lumberjacks Sunday afternoon.

Thunder Bay 10-6-3 GF 75 GA 63 @ Sioux Lookout 12-9-0 GF 80 GA 66, Thu Dec 8

Thunder Bay enters the week in fifth place, three points out of second with games in hand. They’re looking to atone for last weeks’ 6-4 loss to the Bombers that started their three-game winless streak. They’re still 5-3-2 in their last 10.

Edison Weeks has 13 goals and nine assists to lead the team in scoring. Dylan Winsor is 7-12-19 in 19 games. Noah Broughton and Dimitri Trahiotis are at 16 and 14 points respectively. R.J. Dickie has been added to the roster. Recent additions Colby Feist, Jake Parker and Jamie Fuchs are all over a point a game each.

Keenan Marks is under the SIJHL radar with his 2.03 GAA and .948 SV%. Conner Lemieux (3.07 GAA and .907 SV%) leads the goaltending corps with 645 minutes played and six wins.

The vaunted power play is at 20.0%, down a few ticks after a few scoreless games. The penalty kill weighs in at 85.9%, good for second best in the league. They’ve allowed just one shorthanded goal and scored two.

They’re middle of the league averaging 23.1 penalty minutes per game.

Sioux Lookout is on a two-game slide. A visit to Dryden can do that for a team.

Blake Burke (10-11-21) and Lucas Trimarchi (8-11-19) are in the top-20 in league scoring. Ty Bahm, Connor Burke, Nolan Palmer and Owen Riffel appear in the 21-35 range.

Forward Mitchell Daines was acquired on Dec. 1 from the Soo Thunderbirds.

The Bombers are 3-1-0 vs. Thunder Bay this year.

Sioux Lookout is +14 on the year, averaging 3.81 GPG while allowing 3.14 against. Both the power play and penalty kill are slightly above average at 18.2 and 82.9 percent respectively.

The Bombers are two minutes above league average in the penalty department.

Jake Manners has 982 minutes of net time, 10 wins, a 2.75 GAA and .910 SV%.

Goalie Ethan Penner from Winnipeg, MB has been recently added to the roster but hasn’t logged a minute yet.

Kam River 19-5-1 GF 95 GA 72 @ Fort Frances 5-16-0 GF 48 GA 114 Fri/Sat Dec 9/10

Kam River’s .780 winning percentage has them ranked 13th in the just released CJHL poll. They’ve allowed 2.88 GPG, lowest in the league. And of course, they lead the SIJHL with 39 points, 13 clear of second place Red Lake. They’ve played 25 games, most in the SI.

Ethan Lang has six goals and 21 assists to place fourth in the league in scoring. Jeremy Dunmore (10-14-24), Carson Gorst (7-11-18) and defenceman Jack Cook (6-12-18) are in the top-20. Euan Morrison, Ryan Doucette, Max Leduc and Anthony Oviedo are in the 26-33 range.

Kam was active at the December roster cut-off date, acquiring defencemen Joshua Pufahl and Joshua Morton, and forwards Kobe Braham and Riley Borody.

League workhorse Eric Vanska leads the circuit with 1,040 minutes and 14 wins. Back-up Jack Orchard has five wins and a 2.76 GAA.

The SIJHL’s worst power play has improved to 13.4% overall. It was well below 10% until recently. The penalty kill is 85.1% with five shorties. 

The Fighting Walleye are 7-0-1 in one-goal games this year. 

The Walleye’s 25.5 penalty minutes are second to Dryden. The club has averaged 516 fans per game through 11 home dates. 

Fort Frances’ two losses against 6th place Wisconsin puts them seven points back of the Lumberjacks. 

Ryker Watt (7-8-15) and Clark Scaddan (8-5-13) are the two power forwards in the Laker line-up. Watt has 54 minutes in the bin, Scaddan 47. 

Brenden Stroble looked like the reincarnation of Jacques Plante in three Laker wins recently, stopping 173 of 182 shots for a .951 SV%. Ryan Tanner and Stroble have 540 and 527 minutes in net respectively.  

Defencemen Josh Greene was acquired from Dryden as well as Eli Neilsen and Jackson Egner from Kam River in Dec.1 deals. 

Kam River has two wins so far in the season series against Fort.

The Lakers average 20.7 penalty minutes per game. The Lakers power play is 14.9% and they allowed seven short-handed. They’re 68.9% on the penalty kill.

Fort has a home and home with Wisconsin in mid-December to finish off 2022.

Dryden 12-6-0 GF 79 GA 54 @ Red Lake 11-9-4 GF 86 GA 82 Fri/Sat Dec 9/10

Third place Dryden has played the fewest games in SI this year so far. They have six games in hand on the second place Miners This will be a statement weekend for both clubs. The Ice Dogs are second in winning pct. at .667. They’re also +25 in 18 games.

Bryce Benfield is 12th in league scoring with nine goals and 12 assists. Ryland Maier is 8-11-19. Landen Stromme leads the team with 10 goals. Jordan Pfoh (8-8-16), James Hooton (9-6-15) and Max Roby (7-6-13) round out the top forwards. Roby has just nine Dryden games under his hockey pants.

Dryden is the only team north of four goals per game at 4.39. They lead the league in power play pct. with a 23.7 rating. Their penalty kill is 84.6%.

Expect a heavy, physical game playing the Dogs. They’re nearly five minutes ahead of second-place Kam River at 30.39 PIMs per game. 

Eric Clark carries the freight in net, logging twice the minutes of Zac MacDonald. Clark has 716 minutes in net, seven wins, a 3.02 GAA and an .897 SV%. MacDonald has four W’s, a 2.79 GAA and an .892 SV%.

Dryden acquired forwards Kaden Bendura from Yorkton and McLaren Paulsen from Humboldt. 

The teams have eight games left against each other. Dryden won the only meeting so far. 

Red Lake holds down second place but has the lowest winning percentage of the four teams jockeying for second through fifth place at .542. (Dryden is .667, Thunder Bay .605, and Sioux Lookout .571). 

Jacob Lamoureux is the number one sniper in the league with 19 goals in 21 games. And he’s a 2004 player. Colten Crysler (12-13) and Aiden Corbett (8-17) have 25 points each. Defenceman Dayvan Bull has 19 points (4-15). 

Kyle Schechtel checks in at 39th with seven goals and six assists.

Goalie Jack Osmond leads the SIJHL in GAA (2.61) and SV% (.932). The Edmonton, AB native is the only goalie currently listed on the team website.

Red Lake’s last game was Nov. 26th.

The Miners acquired defenceman Anthony Pileggi from French River Rapids of the NOJHL.

The power play is 15.2%, but the penalty kill is a league leading 88.1. The Miners have allowed 12 goals while short-handed but have scored five times themselves. 

At 16.7 PMPG the Miners are the least penalized team in the league. 

Wisconsin 7-14-3 GF 94 GA 106 @ Sioux Lookout 12-9-0 GF 80 GA 66 Fri/Sat Dec 9/10

Wisconsin is the charter member of the SIJHL 200-goal club, scoring 94 while allowing 106. The top of the line-up is stacked.

Ryder McMillen has 45 points, with 15 goals. Zach Carson, listed as a defenceman, is second in league scoring with 16 markers and 19 helpers. Carson leads the SI in PPG with seven. Dillon Phillips is third in SIJHL scoring (9-20-29). All three have played in all 24 games.

Sal Poggiali (13-13-26), defenceman Dylan Jouppi (1-20-21) and Brandon McDonald (4-16-20) round out a formidable attack. The Lumberjacks have six players in the top 14.

Connor McClure continues his ascent in scoring with four goals and 10 helpers for 14 points in 11 games. 

Kyler Lowden leads a group of four goaltenders listed on the Lumberjacks roster page. Lowden is 6-7-2 with 910 minutes. William Forrester and Emmett Doherty are the primary back-ups.

The Lumberjacks are league average in special teams. They’ve allowed seven short-handed and scored five short-handed–both tied for tops in the league.

Wisconsin @ Fort Frances Sun Dec 11

Wisconsin has won all three games played against the Lakers this year.