The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League has set the dates for the Bauer and Sherwood Conference Survivor Series.
Here is the run down of the schedule and previews courtesy of the sjhl.ca.
Best of Five
Feb 24 Flin Flon at La Ronge, 7:30pm
Feb 25 Flin Flon at La Ronge, 7:30pm
Feb 27 La Ronge at Flin Flon, 7:30pm
Feb 28 La Ronge at Flin Flon, 7:30pm (if necessary)
March 1 Flin Flon at La Ronge, 7:30pm (if necessary)
Head to Head
The Ice Wolves were 5-2-and-1 against the Bombers, who were 3-3-and-2 against La Ronge. The season series meant a lot of close games.
La Ronge 5 at Flin Flon 9
Cameron Blair 2G 3A, Brett Penner 1G 4A, Nathan Boyer 1G 2A
La Ronge 2 at Flin Flon 6
Dylan Balaski 2G 1A, Riley Storzuk 3A, Andy Desautels 29-saves
Flin Flon 1 at La Ronge 6
LJ Sawyer 2G, Zac Ashdown & Skyler Hladun 1G 1A, Alex Rajotte 28-saves
Flin Flon 2 at La Ronge 3 (SO)
Devin Buffalo 47-saves, Zac Ashdown tying goal in third and shootout winner
Flin Flon 1 at La Ronge 8
Byron Sorensen 2G 1A, Wilson Dumais & Nathan Boyer 2G, Zac Ashdown & Brett McNevin 1G 2A
La Ronge 3 at Flin Flon 2 (SO)
Devin Buffalo 42-saves, Zac Ashdown late 3rd pd goal to tie. Marc-Andre Carre SO winner
Flin Flon 5 at La Ronge 7
Skyler Hladun 3G, Marc-Andre Carre 3A, Riley Storzuk 3G
La Ronge 2 at Flin Flon 3 (OT)
Dylan Balaski scored with :41 left in third and again in OT. Devin Buffalo 42-saves.
Tale Of The Tape
Alex Rajotte should be one of the final considerations for SJHL Goaltender Of The Year, if not SJHL Most Valuable Player. It’s safe to say any success La Ronge has in the playoffs starts with their all-star goalie.
The Bombers employed a rotation for most of the season, but it’s tough to argue with Devin Buffalo, who played some of his best hockey against the Ice Wolves. Still, if Mike Reagan needs a spark, he won’t hesitate to use the capable Andy Desautels.
Getting Byron Sorensen back at Christmas was a godsend for the Ice Wolves. Matt Weisensel is a good all-around blueliner and Brennan Ritchie is one of the tougher 1-on-1 players in the league.
Bombers have some guys that can really crank it from the point. David Roper, Tanner Clark, and Brandt Weldon have all had some shining moments this season. Weldon shouldn’t be overlooked. He led the team in scoring over the last twenty games.
Most players wouldn’t be disappointed averaging a point per game, but Marc-Andre Carre didn’t have a regular season that many expected, scoring just 10 goals in 43 games. He’ll need to produce more for a three peat. Skyler Hladun, Nathan Boyer, and Aaron Enns carried the offense early in the year and they all have plenty of experience. Cy Young winner since January 1st is Wilson Dumais (16-10-0-10).
Jesse Mysiorek is the grizzled veteran added to a youthful team that despite some hiccups, can really bring you out of your seat. They could use a healthy Jay Young and Konrad Litke (8-3-11 in last 15 games) may become a vital piece. The usual suspects of Storzuk, Balaski, Penner, McCombie, and Blair must produce points in order for the Bombers to advance.
La Ronge PP 16.2% (10th), PK 82.7% (3rd)
Flin Flon PP 18.9% (6th), PK 79.0% (9th)
Beating a champion is probably the hardest thing to do and the Ice Wolves are trying to three peat, so they have to be considered the favorites against the young Bombers, who emerged as contenders perhaps a little ahead of their time. Toughest rink to play in is the Mel Hegland in the postseason. The Ice Wolves were 19-6-and-3 at home, 11-13-and-5 away. Flin Flon went 16-7-and-4 at the Whitney Forum, which is no picnic for visitors either. They were 11-14-and-5 on the road. Ice Wolves were five points better in the standings. All of those points were a result of the better record at home.
Best of Five
Feb 24 Notre Dame at Estevan, 7:30pm
Feb 25 Estevan at Notre Dame, 7pm
Feb 27 Notre Dame at Estevan, 7:30pm
Feb 28 Estevan at Notre Dame, 8pm (if necessary)
Feb 29 Notre Dame at Estevan, 7:30pm (if necessary)
Head to Head
The Bruins won five of six meetings and scored a ton of goals doing so.
Estevan 1 at Notre Dame 3
Brandon Millin 2G, Todd Christian 3A, Ty Reichenbach 24-saves
Notre Dame 1 at Estevan 9
Dylan Smith 2G, Cole Olson 3A, Estevan had 40 shots and 3 ppg
Notre Dame 2 at Estevan 9
Calder Neufeld 3G, Austin Yano 1G 3A, Steven Glass 33-saves
Notre Dame 3 at Estevan 8
Ben Johnstone 3G, Tyler Kauk 1G 2A, Five goal third for Bruins
Estevan 7 at Notre Dame 2
Austin Yano 1G 2A, Ryan Ostertag 2G 1A, Bruins 4-for-8 on powerplay
Estevan 7 at Notre Dame 5
Dylan Smith 2G 1A, Taylor Reich 1G 2A, Ben Morgan & Brandon Millin 2G
Tale Of The Tape
Both teams could end up using both of their netminders. Steven Glass is, presumably, the number one for the Bruins having played in 28 games; but he was hurt for a portion of the second half and Tyler Ross played 10 of the last 14 overall, compiling an impressive 2.79-GAA and .910-SPCT.
For the Hounds, Ty Reichenbach and Matthew Smidt pretty much split their time evenly from January 10th onward as Smidt played 8 games (3.38, .891) and Reichenbach 7 (2.99, .897).
Estevan will look to Connor Milligan as their shut down guy, while Austin Yano would be the powerplay specialist if he’s healthy. Tyler Kauk has also seen his offensive game mature in the second half (27-1-11-12 since December 1st).
Notre Dame’s defense almost starts and stops with potential SJHL Defenseman Of The Year Carson Grolla, who was second in the league for points amongst blueliners (56-15-25-40). But, the unit has been one that has stayed together almost all season, missing just 40 man games overall between seven players.
Offensively, the Bruins were at the most dangerous earlier in the season when they played the Hounds several times. It will be interesting to see if the Dylan Smith-Cole Olson-Calder Neufeld line will be reunited. It doesn’t sound like Taylor Reich will be healthy enough to play. His loss is big.
Greg Ferguson got hot after Christmas and hasn’t cooled off (20-7-12-19). Todd Christian had one of the quietest point per game seasons in recent memory (57-25-32-57). Brandon Millin and Ben Morgan will also have to step up. Rookie Dillon Schwartzenberger’s availability is up in the air, which if he can’t go, would be a disappointment as he was really starting to come on.
Notre Dame PP 19.6% (5th), PK 78.8% (10th)
Estevan PP 23.9% (1st), PK 82.8% (2nd)
The match-up might be closer than you think. The Hounds were 9-and-11 from January 1st on. Estevan was 8-and-9. Playing in a new rink, the Bruins were just 17-and-11 on home ice. They went 11-17-and-2 on the road. The Hounds were 13-13-and-3 in Wilcox. 9-and-19 away from home.