SIJHL Week 18 Preview

By Gary Moskalyk

Seven weeks remain in 2022-23 SIJHL regular season. Week 18 features eight games. Fort Frances ended their 14-game losing streak with a 6-5 shootout win over Wisconsin. Wisconsin is unbeaten in four and has the week off. Thunder Bay entertains Sioux Lookout for one and Dryden for two. Red Lake has lost four in a row and has another three-game road trip Friday, Saturday and Sunday against Sioux Lookout for a pair and then Kam River. Sioux Lookout is 6-3-1 in their last 10. Dryden’s on a five-game winning streak. And Kam River is closing in on an .800 winning percentage and leads the SIJHL in goals per game, goals against per game and has a six-point lead on second place Dryden.  

Sioux Lookout 20-13-1 GF 139 GA 101 @ Thunder Bay 16-13-4 GF 113 GA 98, Wed Feb 1 

The Bombers are sitting third in the SIJHL standings and are +38 on the season. Ty Bahm is 6th in league scoring with 36 points. Owen Riffel (17-15-32), Blake Burke (15-17-32) and Connor Burke (10-16-26) are in the top-20. Lucas Trimarchi (11-14-25), Tegan Neuman (8-15-23 in 18 games), Nolan Palmer (8-15-23) and Graeme Patrick (7-14-21) round out the Bombers in the top-40.

The Bombers average 4.09 goals per game and give up 2.97 GPG, both marks among the league’s best.

Jake Manners leads the league in save percentage at .931 and has a 2.44 GAA and 16 wins. Ethan Penner is 2-2-0 in a back-up role.

 The Bombers have had 206 powerplay opportunities, tops in the SI, and are 17.0% on the PP. The PK is 84.9%.

Sioux Lookout is 4-2-1 against Thunder Bay.

Thunder Bay lost a pair of one-goal to Kam River at Norwest over the weekend. They’re in tough in week 18 with a game against third place Sioux Lookout and a weekend pair against second place Dryden. Those games will help Thunder Bay catch up to the rest of league in games played.

They are 3-4-0 against the Bombers in the season series.

Edison Weeks has 17 goals and 17 helpers to lead the Stars in scoring. Dylan Winsor (9-14-23) and Noah Broughton (8-13-21) are in the top-40. 

Relative newcomers Jamie Fuchs and Nikolas Campbell have been a welcomed shot in the arm offensively. Fuchs has six goals, eight assists in 12 games. Campbell has four markers and two assists for six points in seven games.

Thunder Bay’s PP is 15.6% and the PK is 85.7%.

Goaltending has been a strong suit all year long for the Stars. Keenan Marks leads the SIJHL in GAA with 2.19 mark. Conner Lemieux is 9-7-3 with a 2.77 GAA and .928 SV%. 

The Stars are 4-5-1 in their last 10.

The club dipped below 20 penalty minutes per game with last weeks’ four games.

Fort Frances 6-29-0 GF 88 GA 223 @ Kam River 27-7-1 GF 150 GA 100, Fri/Sat Feb 3/4

Fort Frances defeated Wisconsin 6-5 in a shootout win last week, and then abruptly lost 13-3 the next night. 

Ryker Watt brings it every game. The Weyburn, SK native has played in all 35 games this season, with a team-leading 15 goals and 26 points overall. Add in 94 penalty minutes and he’s a formidable package. Clark Scaddan (9-15-24, 64 PIMs) is in the top-40 and Kevin Bond’s 13-7-20 gives the Lakers three players with 20 points or more.

The Lakers are mid-pack in PP% at 16.3. Their penalty kill is 66.2%.

The Lakers have lost their five games to Kam River, four of them by seven goals.

 Kam River continues to win. They’re 14th in the latest CJHL rankings.

They’ve scored 150 goals and allowed 100 on the year. They’re 4.29 GPG and 2.86 goals allowed per game both lead the league. 

Their once dormant powerplay is now second at 18.3%. The PK is 84.8%.

Jeremy Dunmore (14-22-36), Ethan Lang (9-27-36) and Jack Cook (14-21-35) are in the top-9 in SIJHL scoring. 

Euan Morrison (8-18-26), Max Leduc (9-16-25), Ryan Doucette (9-15-24) and Anthony Oviedo (12-11-23) are in the 21-29 category.

Eric Vanska’s 19 wins lead the league. Back-up Jack Orchard is 8-3-0 2.50/.909 on the season.

On Sunday they have a game against Red Lake.

Dryden 24-10-1 GF 146 GA 99 @ Thunder Bay, Fri/Sat Feb 3/4

Dryden brings a five-game winning streak to the Bay. The Ice Dogs are 4-1-0 against the Stars this season. 

Bryce Benfield (14-21-35), Landen Stromme (19-13-32), James Hooton (21-10-31) and Ryland Maier are in the top-20. Brady Frattinger (12-13-25), Max Roby (14-10-24 in 23 games), Jordan Pfoh (12-11-23), Ben Hackl (8-13-21 in 23 games) and Easton Debray (7-14-21) are in the 21-37 grouping.

Hooton crested 20 goals, joining three others in the exclusive club. Stromme’s knocking on the door.

Dryden has the best powerplay in the league, at 22.5%. They’re penalty kill is 86.5%, also number one. They’ve got 11 goals shorthanded, three more than second place Wisconsin.

Expect a heavy, physical game against the Pack. The average half an hour per game in penalty minutes.

Eric Clark is the number one in goal. Clark has 16 wins, a 2.78 GAA and .916 SV%. Zac MacDonald is 7-2-0, 2.66 GAA and .894 SV%.

Red Lake 18-16-4 GF 132 GA 136 @ Sioux Lookout, Fri/Sat Feb 3/4

Red Lake is on a four-game slide. Their hold on fourth place Thunder Bay is tenuous. The Stars are four points back with five games in hand. The Miners are 5-5-0 in their last 10, battling a slew of injuries and sickness in the process.

And then there’s Corbett, Crysler and Lamoureux. Aiden Corbett has played in all 38 games and has 14 goals and 25 helpers to lead the team in production. He sits third in league scoring. Colton Crysler was back at Norwest Arena for a game against his original team, the Walleye He might be the one that got away. Crysler has 19 goals and 17 assists. Jacob Lamoureux leads the SIJHL in goals with 24. His 11 helpers give him 35 points in 34 games.

Dayvan Bull has fashioned a 24-point season–the third highest scoring defenceman in the SI. Matthew MacPherson has 21 points in 27 games.

Jack Osmond is 14-9-2 between the pipes, with a 2.95 GAA and .929 SV%. Trent Boryszczuk has two wins in five games with a .924 SV%.

The Miners’ powerplay has hit lean times, striking at a 14.6% clip. The penalty kill is 85.0%. League average is 82.6%.

Red Lake is the second least penalized team, averaging 17.8 penalty minutes.

Red Lake @ Kam River, Sun Feb 5

Red Lake is 2-3-1 against Kam River this year.

Kam River is 4-1-1 against the Miners.