By Gary Moskalyk
Just like that, the 2022-23 SIJHL regular season draws to a close.
Mon Mar 13 (PPD)
Wisconsin 17-28-6 .392 6th, GF 194 GA 223 -29, PIMs 15.8/G, PP 17.9 PK 77.9 @ Thunder Bay 27-20-4 .569 4th, GF 179 GA 159 +20, PIMs 17.5/G, PP 17.5 PK 83.6
Wisconsin would have hit Thunder Bay fresh off a two-game sweep over Sioux Lookout. Their two-game winning streak is currently best in the league.
If Thunder Bay sidles past Sioux Lookout into third they would be Wisconsin’s first-round playoff opponent. Otherwise, Sioux Lookout and Wisconsin would tangle.
Wisconsin is 3-4-1 head-to-head against Thunder Bay.
Ryder McMillen became the first SIJHL player to hit 70 points (29-41-70). His teammate Zach Carson is in second with 60 (26-34-60). Carson’s 13 powerplay goals lead the league.
Dillon Phillips and Sal Poggiali have 44 and 42 points respectively. Connor McClure has 32 points in 36 games. Defenceman Dylan Jouppi also has 32 points while playing 48 games.
Cooper McClure has 20 points in just 19 games.
Kyler Lowden is second in goalie minutes with 2,143. He’s improved his record to 14-17-5 with 3.95 GAA.
Wisconsin is the least penalized team in the league.
Thunder Bay has a chance to slip into third. If they do they’ll play Wisconsin in the first round. If they stay in fourth it’ll be Red Lake. The Stars will have a potential payoff preview when they play the Miners in Red Lake to conclude the regular season.
The Stars are 5-2-1 against the Lumberjacks and a 6-1-0 record against Red Lake.
Edison Weeks continues to lead the team in points with 54 in 50 games. Defenceman Matt Halushak has forged a fine season with 11 goals and 22 assists. A trio of mid-season pick-ups: Colby Feist (15-22-37) in 34 games, Nikolas Campbell (17-18-35) in 25 games and Jamie Fuchs (13-18-31) in 25 games have been huge offensively for the Stars.
Keenan Marks recently passed Conner Lemieux in minutes–by three. Either choice is a good one. Marks is 14-7-1 with a 2.94 GAA and .916 SV%. Lemieux is 13-9-3 with a 2.78 GAA and .927 SV%.
Tue Mar 14
Kam River 39-10-2 .784 1st, GF 214 GA 136 +78, PIMs 20.7/G, PP 20.8, PK 87.0 @ Fort Frances 9-38-1 .198 7th, GF 131 GA 287 -156, PIMs 18.0/G PP 17.9, PK 68.5
Kam River clinched first place last Friday.
Their 80 points puts them seven clear of Dryden.
Kam River has won all eight meetings with Fort Frances this year.
Defenceman Jack Cook leads the team in goals with 21 and he’s one of seven players with 50 points or more. Jeremy Dunmore has 18 goals and 38 assists–three assists behind McMillen for the league lead.
Ethan Lang (17-32-49) and Max Leduc (16-26-42) are 9th and 17th in league scoring. Euan Morrison (9-25-34) and Ryan Doucette (11-20-31) are in the top-40.
Eric Vanska leads the SI with 27 wins. Jack Orchard is the best back-up in the league, sporting a 2.18 GAA with 10 wins and four losses.
The Kam River powerplay is second in the league after a slow start. They lead the league in penalty kill with an 87.0 per cent rating.
Fort Frances is winless in five.
Ryker Watt continues to lead the team offensively with 24 goals and 19 helpers. He’s 16th in scoring. Brady Krentz (11-20-31), Kevin Bond (16-14-30), Trever Sanderson (9-21-30) and Clark Scaddan (11-17-28) are big contributors offensively.
Brenden Stroble has led the team in net all year. He has six of the team’s nine wins.
Better days are ahead promises head coach Tyler Miller.
Wed Mar 15
Fort Frances @ Wisconsin
Fort Frances has a 2-5-0 record against Wisconsin. The Lumberjacks are 5-1-1 vs. the Lakers.
Fri/Sat Mar 17/18
Dryden 36-15-1 .702 2nd, GF 222 GA 146 +76, PIMs 29.1/G, PP 25.9 PK 86.7 @ Kam River
Dryden did its best to catch Kam River but in the end will finish second. The Ice Dogs have a 2-5-0 record against the Walleye this year.
Dryden leads the league in goals (222) so far this year.
They have four 20-goal scorers: Landen Stromme (23), Bryce Benfield (20), Brady Frattinger (27) and James Hooton (26). Max Roby has 17 in 30 games. Ben Hackl (13-27-40) in 40 games, Ryland Maier (14-22-36), Jordan Pfoh (17-16-33) Roby (17-15-32) and defenceman Easton Debray (9-23-32) round out a deep, potent attack.
The Ice Dogs excel is special teams. They lead the league with a 25.9 per cent powerplay. Next best is Kam River at 20.8%. In the penalty kill they’re second at 86.7. Add in the 16 goals they’ve scored while shorthanded they’re -30 in 347 penalty kills making them 91.4 efficient.
Dryden leads the league in penalty minutes with 1,515.
Eric Clark and Zac MacDonald both have a 2.77 GAA. Clark has 21 wins to MacDonald’s 14 in about twice the ice time.
Kam River sports a 5-2-0 record against Dryden.
Fri/Sat Mar 17/18
Fort Frances @ Sioux Lookout 28-20-3 .578 3rd, GF 185 GA 154, PIMs 20.6/G PP 17.8 PK 79.6
Fort Frances is 2-4-0 vs. the Bombers this year.
The Bombers hold a one-point lead over Thunder Bay in the standings. Sioux Lookout is 4-1-1 against the Lakers.
Ty Bahm leads the team in scoring with 54 points, good for 5th in league scoring. Blake Burke (24-22-46) and Lucas Trimarchi (15-25-40) are in the top-20. Connor Burke (16-23-39), Owen Riffel (18-18-36 in 34 games) and Teagan Neuman (9-23-32 in 29 games) round out the top-40 players.
Riffle hasn’t played since February 18th. Neuman missed a number of games in late fall.
Jake Manners will likely get votes for goalie-of-the-year. His 21-12-3/2.36 GAA/.930 SV% have won Sioux Lookout in a lot of games this year. Ethan Penner is the back-up and Zach Lance has been pressed into service recently.
Fri/Sat Mar 17/18
Thunder Bay @ Red Lake 22-25-5 .471 5th, GF 169 GA 188 -20, PIMs 16.8/G, PP 12.6 PK 79.1
Thunder Bay is 6-1-0 vs the Miners. Red Lake is 1-4-2 against Thunder Bay.
Jacob Lamoureux’ 35 goals lead the SIJHL. His 15 assists gives him 50 points on the year. Colton Crysler (20-25-45) and Aiden Corbett (15-26-41) are next in production. Defenceman Dayvan Bull has six goals and 26 assists.
Jack Osmond is one of five goaltenders with two thousand minutes (2,034). His .924 GAA is third in the league. Trent Boryszczuk is 4-5-1 in a back-up capacity, with a fine .914 SV%.
The Miners powerplay is at 12.6% and the penalty kill dipped below 80 per cent (79.1).
The Miners are 4-5-1 in their last 10.