President's Update - January 30th, 2017

Early Provincial wins for Rockets and Bulldogs….Ferguson/Cross/Orban Show in Strasbourg...Playoffs are close...The Raymore Rockets defeated the Central Butte 4-3 last Wednesday evening in Raymore and then defeated the Flyers 4-2 this past Sunday in Central Butte and won their first round two game total point series 8-5. The Rockets now go on to the second round of Provincial ‘C’ against the Drake Canucks of the Long Lake Hockey League.Game one is Saturday at 8:00 p.m. in Drake. The Bethune Bulldogs played their first game of their best of three series against the Davidson Cyclones of the Long Lake Hockey League this past Saturday evening in Bethune. Most of the scoring happened in the first period as the Cyclones had a 4-2 lead after the first period and led on the shot clock 14-13. Bethune got goals from Mitch Boucher and Joel Kot. In the second period the Bulldogs outshot the Cyclones 22-6 and got a shorthanded goal from Kyle Ross and a goal from Drew George with 38 seconds left in the period to make it 4-4 going into the third period. Bethune would outshoot the Cyclones 12-6 in the third period. This game went into a ten minute overtime period and then into a twenty minute second overtime period. With one minute left in the second overtime period drew George would notch his second goal of the game with one minute left and the Bulldogs would win 5-4. The Bulldogs outshot the Cyclones 70-40 during 89 minutes of play. These two teams go at it in game two in Davidson on Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m.

This Friday evening the Avonlea Arrows will open up their best of three series against the Balgonie Bisons of the QVHL at 8:30 p.m. in Balgonie. On Saturday two more series begin. In Provincial ‘A’ the Lumsden Monarchs will be in Leroy to play the Braves in game one of their best of three Provincial ‘A’ series at 3:00 p.m. On Saturday evening in Cupar, the Canucks will host the Bredenbury Cougars of the Triangle Hockey League in game one of their two game total point Provincial ‘D’ series at 7:30 p.m.

Regular season winding down…In league action this past week the Bethune Bulldogs defeated the Lumsden Monarchs 7-1 in Bethune last Wednesday. It was 1-0 Bulldogs after one period and 3-0 after two periods before the Bulldogs would score four times in the third period. Drew George scored three times in this game for the Bulldogs including once on the power play and once shorthanded. Joel Kot, Lucas Ulmer, Mike Reich and Kyle Ross with a shorthanded goal completed the score sheet for the Bulldogs. Liam Brennan scored the only Monarch goal. Ryan Holfeld picked up the win in net for the Bulldogs and Will Hood was in net for the Monarchs. Lumsden had five minor penalties and Bethune had nine. On Friday evening there were two games. In Strasbourg it was the Greg Ferguson…Mark Cross…Tyson Orban show. Ferguson had four goals (two pp goals) and four assists while Mark Cross had three goals (one pp goal) and three assists and Tyson Orban had five assists to lead the Maroons to a 9-2 victory over the Cupar Canucks. Tayler Balog had the other Strasbourg goal. Jeremy Ellis picked up the win in net for the Maroons and Colby Miller was in net for the Canucks. Cupar had three minor penalties and a misconduct and the Maroons had six minor penalties, a major and a game misconduct. Donovan Thompson received a one game suspension for an instigator penalty in this game. Also on Friday evening the Raymore Rockets defeated the Wynyard Monarchs 3-1 in Raymore. Cole Melrose scored twice and Brett Mohr scored on the power play to give the Rockets a 3-0 lead in the third period. Drew Litwin would score with three minutes left to break up the shutout bid by Riley Focht-Gabriel who picked up his seventh win of the year in the Rocket’s net. Adam Jordan was in net for the Monarchs. Wynyard had six minor penalties and Raymore had eight. On Sunday evening the Lumsden Monarchs defeated the Wynyard Monarchs 8-5. Lumsden led 2-1 after one period and the game was tied 4-4 after two periods. The third period was wide open and Lumsden scored three times after taking 15 shots in the period and Wynyard scored once taking 16 shots in the frame. Lumsden got three power play goals from Kyle Johnson, Andrew Perrault and Robert Hillier. Brady Aulie, Jesse Matlock, Jared Adams with two goals and Kyle Johnson with a second goal of the evening provided the balance of the scoring for Lumsden. Dylan Shewchuk and Kevin Pelletier each scored twice for Wynyard and Nowell Greasley also scored. Wynyard had three minor penalties and Lumsden had one. Will Hood was victorious in net for Lumsden and Adam Jordan was in net for Wynyard.

Wynyard will finish seventh, Avonlea will finish sixth and Cupar will finish fifth place. Bethune Bulldogs have a bye into the second round of playoffs. Avonlea is in Lumsden on Tuesday evening and Strasbourg is in Raymore on Wednesday evening. When these games are complete we will know the matchups for the first round of best of three playoffs which will begin after this weekend. This will all be updated with a playoff preview in next week’s column.

Kyle Ross continues to lead our scoring race chasing the Tyson Sievert Trophy that he currently is in possession of as the league’s top scorer. Last year Ross had 48 points and he presently has 57 points. Teammate Drew George has 50 points. Both George and Ross lead the league with 24 goals. Jacob Ulmer from Bethune is next with 43 points and Greg Ferguson from Strasbourg is fourth with 41 points. Drew George leads all scorers with six power play goals and also leads the league with three shorthanded goals. Brayden Frank from Cupar has five power play goals. Lucas Ulmer from Bethune and Dale Spelchen from Lumsden lead all scorers with four game winning goals. If you want the first goal scored in game look no further than Liam Brennan from Lumsden as he has four first goals of game this year. Ryan Holfeld from the Bulldogs leads all goalies with a 2.36 GAA and 11 wins on the year. Matt Weninger from Lumsden is second with a 3.50 GAA and his teammate Will Hood is third with a 3.55 GAA followed by Ryan Seibel from Bethune with a 3.56 GAA. Adam Jordan from Wynyard continues to lead all goalies with 1000 minutes played this season. The Bulldogs will win the Gunnar Lindal Memorial Trophy for team goaltending this year. In team statistics the top power play belongs to the Bethune Bulldogs with a 32.4% success rate. The Cupar Canucks are next at 27.5% and the Strasbourg Maroons are third at 26.3%. The top penalty killing unit belongs to the Lumsden Monarchs with an 83.3% success rate. The Monarchs are also the least penalized team in the league only being shorthanded 60 occasions in 17 games. The Raymore Rockets have been shorthanded the most this year and have an 82.4% success rate in the 85 times they have been shorthanded. The Bethune Bulldogs are third in this category at 80.6%.

Provincial Schedules are listed under the Provincials tab. You can follow us on twitter all of our tweets, which include updates from all games, appear on the front page just under the Upcoming Games column if you just want to follow us on the website during games. You can also follow my account the Pensky File

Thank you for supporting the Highway Hockey League and this is the best time of the season…Provincials are on and playoffs are coming…please get out to a game near you…