By Gary Moskalyk
Seven games are on tap in the SIJHL this week. Red Lake and Wisconsin both have the week off. Notable fact: Nathan Dann (Dann the Man) had consecutive hat tricks for the Miners against Fort Frances. Kenora plays their first home games at Woodland Arena in Vermillion Bay against the North Stars. Sioux Lookout has three games, one in Thunder Bay, two in Oliver-Paipoonge. Dryden makes the jaunt to Fort Frances for a weekend pair.
The standings are tight at the top. Three points separate four teams. Kam River took over top spot with a weekend sweep over Dryden.
Sioux Lookout 10-3-1 21 pts .750 3rd GF 57 GA 34 +23 PIMs 254 PP% 25.8 PK% 88.5 at Thunder Bay 9-4-1 19 pts .679 4th GF 56 GA 42 +14 PIMs PP% 17.9 PK% 85.3 Thursday
Thunder Bay was swept by Sioux Lookout in Sioux Lookout in September. The Stars took three in Thunder Bay in late October. Game six, an 11:00 a.m. school day start at Fort William Gardens, should be a good one, especially in front of a young, enthusiastic (albeit partisan) crowd. It’ll probably be a large one, too.
The top two lines in the SIJHL will square off in this one. EJ Paddington leads the league in points with 24. Line-mate Easton Mikus has 13 goals–tied with Owen Riffel for the league lead. Edison Weeks has 20 points. Sioux Lookout’s combo of Riffel and the Burke’s are no slouches. Riffel, back from injury, has 22 points. Connor and Blake Burke have 17 points each. These six players are all in the top nine in league scoring.
Thunder Bay’s Tyler Jordan has played well in his nine games with seven goals and four assists. Three of his goals are game winners, tied for the league lead in that department. Dimitri Trahiotis had a productive weekend stateside. Defencemen Connor O’Brien and Drew Caddo have nine points each. D-man Sam Skillestad is back from injury.
Keenan Marks has a 6-2-0 record between the pipes with Ethan Barron sitting at 3-2-1.
Sioux Lookout is 1-3 in their last four games after a 9-0-1 start. Riffel is back, collecting an assist in a 2-0 game against Kenora. So is defenceman Dayvan Bull. Both are integral members of the team.
Jonah Smith, Nolan Palmer and Bull are next on the Bomber radar with 11 points each. Alex Lucas has nine.
Matthew Spencer-Dahl and Jack Osmond form quite the tandem in net. Osmond has 479 net minutes to Spencer-Dahl’s 244. Their numbers are 2.26 to 2.22 in GAA, and .941 to .936 in the save percentage department–basically two 1A’s in net.
The heavy lifting continues for Sioux Lookout as they face first place Kam River on the weekend.
Sioux Lookout at Kam River 11-2-0 22 pts .846 1st GF 69 GA 31 +38 PIMs 257 PP% 27.3 PK% 84.5 Friday/Saturday
This is the first meeting between these top tier teams.
Kam River is on a five-game winning streak. Their goal differential is +38. They’ve scored more than twice as many goals as allowed.
Riley Borody leads the team in points with seven goals and 11 helpers. He has eight points in his last three games. The Walleye have six of the eight players in the nine through 16 slots in the scoring race: Ryan Doucette (5G 11A), Carter Poddubny (9G 6A), Jeremy Dunmore (7G 8A), Jett Mintenko (7G 7A), Nicholas Fagnilli (6G 8A) and defenceman Brydon Bell (4G 9A). Bell is top scoring defenceman in the league.
Daxton Lang and Sean Smith have 11 points. Kaden Goodwin has 10 as does Liam Bell and Edwin Liang. Max Wright has nine.
The Walleye also have games in hand on everyone except Kenora.
Ashton Sadauskas leads the SIJHL in goaltender wins with eight. He’s second in minutes with 545. Travis VanderZwaag is 3-1-0/2.53/.896 with three wins and a loss.
Dryden 10-5-1 21 pts .656 3rd GF 63 GA 44 +19 PIMs 417 PP% 21.3 PK% 78.6 at Fort Frances 2-11-1 5 pts .179 7th GF 30 GA 70 -40 PIMs 371 PP% 13.8 PK% 81.1 Fri/Sat
The Ice Dogs have cooled of late with two regulation losses and a shootout loss in their last three.
Max Roby is one of four players in the SI with double-digit goals with 12. Combined with six assists his 18 points places him 5th in league scoring. Carson Devine (5G 11A), Bryce Benfield (6G 7A in 9GP), Eli Antoine (5G 7A) and defenceman Sebastiano Biagi (3G 9A) are in the top-20. McLaren Paulsen and Sean Smith have 11 points and Kaden Bandura and d-man Geoff Bjarnason have 10.
Ewan Soutar leads the goaltending parade with a 1.13 GAA and .958 SV% but hasn’t played much of late. Michael O’Sullivan has zoomed up the minutes played chart and leads the league with 585 minutes played in goal.
Dryden leads the league in shorthanded goals with five, but has allowed 22 in their 102 times shorthanded. The powerplay is 21.3, third in the league. They haven’t allowed a shorty in their 16 games.
Fort Frances picked up a much needed 5-1 win against Kenora, but dropped 6-3 and 8-2 decisions to Red Lake on the road.
The two most penalized teams are battling in this series. This is a bit of a statement series for the Lakers, who will have a hometown cheering them on.
Cobe Delaney has 10 points in 12 games with six goals. Ryker Watt has nine points.
In net, Jack Orchard is carrying the load with 517 minutes in the cage. He brings a 4.18 GAA and .897 save percentage to the crease. Lukas Toth is 5.13/.875 in his four games.
The Lakers have a league average penalty kill (81.1% vs 81.6%) but could use a good game or two on the powerplay to up their 13.8% success rate with the man advantage.
Fort Frances is 0-2 versus Dryden this year, dropping 4-1 and 4-0 games in Dryden at the beginning of the season.
Thunder Bay at Kenora 1-10-1 3 pts .125 8th GF 27 GA 84 PIMs 307 PP% 9.8 PK% 70.6 Sat/Sun
Woodland Arena will be the site of Kenora’s home game against the North Stars. The Stars played in Kenora on September 30 and won 11-4.
The Islanders hung in in a 2-0 loss against Sioux Lookout at the Hangar. Kaden King had a huge game in net for the Islanders stopping 47. It’s only one game and King stood on his head but perhaps head coach Nathan Bruyere has nudged the squad in a more positive direction.
Aaron Bertschinger has eight goals and 12 points to sit 17th in league scoring. Brayden Mackay and John Paul Scaringi have nine, and Jeremiah Jacques has eight.
King lowered his GAA to 4.66 and upped his SV% to .933 in his first full game of the year. Matthew Stephens has routinely faced 50+ shots a game. He has 467 minutes in net and a respectable .893 SV% as the main man.