By Gary Moskalyk
Thunder Bay, ON – Two games on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday and a Sunday tilt populate week 9 in the SIJHL. Dryden has a bye week.
Kam River leads the standings. Four teams are bunched in the second tier with games in hand. Wisconsin enters the week on an eight-game winless streak looking for a ‘W’ despite being just -11 on the year. And Fort Frances plays catch-up with three games on the schedule.
Fort Frances 2-11-0 GF 30 GA 78 @ Kam River 13-4-1 GF 68 GA 57, Wed Nov 16
Last place meets first place Wednesday night at Norwest Arena.
Fort Frances faces a tall order mid-week, facing a Walleye team that rarely loses anywhere and is even tougher at home.
Coming off 8-4 and 9-0 losses at home against the North Stars this past weekend things don’t get any easier for the Lakers.
Clark Scaddan drives the offense with six goals and nine points. Ian Snooks has two goals and six assists, and Ryker Watt has seven points with four goals. Scaddan has 34 penalty minutes and Watt has 48, fourth in the SI.
The Lakers average 2.31 goals for per game and have given up 6.00 goals against.
Goalies Ryan Tanner, Kaden King and Brenden Stroble have been on the receiving end.
The Lakers 15.9% PP is a tick below league average, but the penalty kill is allowing one in every three chances. They’ve also allowed six short-handed goals against.
Kam River has parlayed a +11-goal differential into a .750 winning pct. Their ability to carve out wins in close games has been a hallmark since the team’s inception. And they’re doing it with a power play that clicks only 7.3% of the time. Their penalty kill is at 82.5%.
The Walleye are 14th in the latest CJHL poll.
Ethan Lang, Jeremy Dunmore, Holden Woodcroft and Euan Morrison crack the top-20 in league scoring. Lang’s 16 points is good for 11th among league leaders.
Three more Walleye appear in the 21-40 range. Carson Gorst, 12 points, Anthony Oviedo, 11, and Jack Cook, 10 points in 11 games on defence, round out the top scoring corps. Balanced scoring is leading the way for the Kam River crew.
Eric Vanska (9-2-1, 3.12 GAA, .908 SV%) is the main man in net, leading the league with 730 minutes played and wins. Rookie Jack Orchard is 4-2-0 with similar numbers in 361 minutes.
The Walleye score goals at a 3.78 clip. Their 3.17 goals against is third best in the league.
Sioux Lookout 8-6-0 GF 58 GA 46 @ Red Lake 9-7-2 GF 66 GA 64 Wed Nov 16
Sioux Lookout has the second-best offense in the league, averaging 4.14 goals per game. Blake Burke and Lucas Trimarchi are point-a-game players. Phil Parker has 11 points, and five players are 10-point players. Connor Burke, Tegan Neuman, Tyler Decoff, Graeme Patrick and Ty Balm round out a balanced attack.
Jake Manners has six wins, a 2.81 GAA and .920 SV% in net. Raphael Marois and Odin Church provide capable back-up. The team goals against of 3.29 is half a goal better than league average.
On special teams, the Bombers score on 20.0% of their power plays and kill penalties at an 84.8% clip–both above league average.
Only Dryden averages more penalty minutes per game.
The Bombers are currently on a modest two-game losing streak and are 5-5-0 in their last 10.
The Red Lake Miners reside in third place but have played 18 games. The three teams in their vicinity–Dryden, Thunder Bay and Sioux Lookout–have four games in hand.
They’re on a two-game winning streak, having defeated Wisconsin in two high scoring affairs.
Jacob Lamoureux leads the league in goals with 16 in 18 games. The feisty Sherwood Park, AB native stands in at 5-foot-seven, weighs 163-lb, and has 31 penalty minutes to go with his sniper’s touch. His 23 points breaks up Wisconsin’s monopoly on the top 5.
Aiden Corbett and Colton Crysler are 9th and 12th in league scoring. Corbett has 17 points with seven goals, and Crysler has eight goals and 15 points. Trevor Sanderson and Dayvan Bull have 12 points each.
Jack Osmond has posted stellar numbers in net, helping the team post better than average goals against. Osmond has 2.60 GAA and .928 SV% and seven wins against three losses. Jaxson Taupert has more minutes played but not so much lately.
Red Lake’s power play is at 13.3%. The penalty kill is second to Thunder Bay at 87.2. The Miners average 17.72 penalty minutes, second lowest in the SIJHL.
Wisconsin 5-12-2 GF 74 GA 85 @ Kam River GF 68 GA 57, Fri/Sat Nov 18/19
Wisconsin leads the league with 19 games. Regardless, they have four players in the top-5 and Brandon McDonald sitting 8th.
Ryder McMillen leads the league with 36 points on 12 goals and 24 assists. Zach Carson and Salvatore Poggiali have 11 goals each with 25 and 23 points respectively. Dillon Phillips has 23 points. McDonald has 18, thanks in part to a recent seven-point night against Red Lake. Defenceman Dylan Jouppi has 15 and Connor Hacker has 14.
Despite all the firepower, they’re in sixth place in the SI, on an eight-game slide with a lone overtime point to show for it.
They have nine one-goal losses since October 2nd.
Kyler Lowden has four of the team wins and is second in workload (687 minutes) in the league, posting a 4.37 GAA and .903 SV%. Emmett Doherty and William Forrester share back-up duties.
The power play clocks in at 15.9%, low considering the scorers Wisconsin has. Wisconsin’s penalty kill is 83.1%
Wisconsin averages 16.16 minutes in the bin, nearly seven minutes below the league average.
Red Lake @ Fort Frances, Fri/Sat Nov 18/19
Wisconsin @ Thunder Bay 8-4-2 GF 53 GA 42
Thunder Bay has quietly compiled the third best winning percentage at .643. Edison Weeks is 6th in league scoring with 8 goals and 11 assists. The 17 team goals against Fort Frances propelled four Stars into the top 21-25. Bobby Doukov, Dylan Winsor, Dimitri Trahiotis and Noah Broughton have 13, 13, 12 and 12 points respectively. Trahiotis has seven goals in just nine games played.
New acquisitions have paid off handsomely. Jamie Fuchs has six points in two games. Colby Feist has five goals in four games. Jake Parker netted a goal and two helpers in the two Fort wins. Certainly a great way to kick off careers with a new team.
Thunder Bay is now league average in goals for (3.79) and is tied for the league lead with fewest goals against per game–3.00. Conner Lemieux is 5-2-1 with a 2.37 GAA and .929 SV%–tops in the league. Keenan Marks is 3-0-0 with 1.95/.942 stats in the back-up role. Not a bad choice to spell Lemieux.
Thunder Bay’s power play is a potent 25.9% and the penalty kill is 87.5%, both number ones.
The North Stars spend an average of 23.21 minutes in the penalty box, league average in that regard.
By the end of week 9 they will have the fewest games played–15–in the league.
All of this week’s action can be found at SIJHLTV, the exclusive home of SIJHL Hockey.