Sunday, March 11, 2018
PLAYERS TO WATCH IN THE SJHL PLAYOFFS
NIPAWIN HAWKS - Defenseman Josh McDougall may have been the best player in the league this year, with all due respect to Layne Young. As long as he can handle the rigors of big minutes in big games, the Hawks are in good hands and no other team has a player who can do what McDougall does.
BATTLEFORDS NORTH STARS - Layne Young put up 107 points and he makes his linemates better players as well. What happens behind Young will be the true indication as to whether or not the Stars repeat. Of course, Young may also end up being so good that nobody will stop him and he will carry the Stars the distance.
MELFORT MUSTANGS - Lochlan Morrison has had a great year, overshadowed by McDougall so he wasn’t nominated for any awards despite being the second best defenseman in the league. The overall D core from 1-6 is the best in the league and Tyler Heidt has only played 9 games. This team should be feared.
ESTEVAN BRUINS - Bruins scored a ton of goals in the first half, but it was the play of goalie Bo Didur in the second half that enabled them to finish strong. You may have to go all the way back to Juliano Pagliero to find a big time Bruin goalie who was clutch in the playoffs, but if Didur can do it, the Bruins will be around for awhile.
HUMBOLDT BRONCOS - Goaltending is their key too and Parker Tobin has been lights out. Logan Schatz is the SJHL’s second best forward, behind Young, and if he can find some open ice he will be a game changer as well.
KINDERSLEY KLIPPERS - Justen Close was the league’s most valuable goalie. Not the best, but his play often dictated whether or not the Klippers won or lost. The playoffs will be no different.
FLIN FLON BOMBERS - With Brenden Newton in net, the Bombers were over .500. Without him, they weren’t. It’s really that simple for them. Brandson Hein, back from the WHL after January 10, is their most dangerous forward.
WEYBURN RED WINGS - Rookies Cade Kowalski and Jordan Kazymyra will be asked to play like veterans for the Wings to have any playoff success.
MELVILLE MILLIONAIRES - Deepest goaltending in the league, but you can only play one. Despite Brandon Wells being the older player, look for Colby Entz to get the call. Ultimately, the Mils may need both in order to have any success.
NOTRE DAME HOUNDS - Veteran goalie Jacob Standen may not play because of injury. If he does, the Hounds become the favorites to win the series. That’s how important he is. Otherwise, Jack Flaman, Chance Longjohn, and Tim Gould will have to step up big and aid their young goaltending.