President's Update - February 9th, 2015

Regular season ends, playoffs begin, Provincials continue and our 50th is coming….The Bethune Bulldogs claimed first place in the Highway Hockey League with a 7-3 victory over the Wynyard Monarchs on Wednesday evening. This was the last regular season game of the year. Russ Nielson and Matt Strueby each had a power play goal in the first period and the game was tied going into the second period. The Bulldogs scored three times in second on goals from Kyle Ross, Kayne Ulmer and Joel Kot. Eric Popadynec would score early in the third period to get the Monarchs within two but in the next minute Joel Kot and Kyle Ross would score their second goals of the evening to put the game away. Kyle Ross would complete the hat trick for the Bulldogs but not before Brett Leffler would score on the power play and guarantee his name on the Tyson Sievert Trophy . Leffler picked up a goal and an assist and ended up with 40 points which means he will be sharing the trophy with Michael Jordan from the Rockets who also had 40 points. Ryan Seibel picked up the win in net for the Bulldogs stopping 29 shots. Dave Perkin was in net for the Monarchs and stopped 39 shots. The Monarchs had seven minor penalties and the Bulldogs had nine and a game misconduct. That game misconduct came in the last ten minutes of the game which means Tyler Riche received a one game suspension. With the victory the Bulldogs have a bye to the semi-finals. Strasbourg will now play Avonlea, Wynyard plays Lumsden and Raymore plays Cupar in the first round of playoffs.

On Tuesday evening the Avonlea Arrows scored five unanswered goals in the third period on their way to a 6-4 victory over the Raymore Rockets. Josh Jelinski opened up the scoring in this game in the first period to give the Arrows a 1-0 lead. The Rockets would tie the game up with a power play tally from Tyrell Shulko and the game was 1-1 going into the second period. The Rockets would then score three goals in the second period. Shulko would notch his second of the evening, Michael Jordan would score and then Josh Jordan would get the second Rocket power play goal of the evening. Down 4-1 going into the third period, former League MVP Shay Neufeld would score a natural hat trick (one ppg) and the game was tied 4-4. Ben Struthers would then score the winner and the insurance goal came from Keegan Ludwar. The Arrows scored five goals in six minutes and forty-five seconds. Kelley Lueck picked up the win in net for the Arrows and John Arscott was in net for the Rockets. Each team took one minor penalty in each period. With one goal and three assists, Michael Jordan ties Brett Leffler in the scoring race and will have his name on the Tyson Sievert trophy.

League Awards will be voted on by the teams in the next week. We know that Leffler and Jordan have won the scoring title. We also know that the Bethune Bulldogs have won the Pennant. This League Trophy is 49 years old and is named the Labbatts Sportsman Trophy. This is the second time the Bulldogs have won the league pennant. The Bulldogs have also won the Team Goaltending award. This trophy is 48 years old and is named the Capital Auto Body Trophy. This is the third time that Bethune has won this trophy and the second time that Ryan Seibel has his name on the trophy. Seibel previously won this trophy with Kelley Lueck in 2008. Ryan Senft and Ryan Seibel posted a team average of 2.93 GAA. The Wynyard Monarchs were next at 3.11 GAA and the Strasbourg Maroons were third at 3.21 GAA. We renamed two of our trophies recently and these two trophies will also be renamed in the next year.

Brett Leffler with 17 goals and 23 assists and Michael Jordan with 16 goals and 24 assists finished on top of our scoring race. Mike Reich from the Bulldogs finished third with 18 goals and 21 assists and Kyle Ross from the Bulldogs had 16 goals and 21 assists to finish fourth. Chad Filteau from the Canucks was fifth with 13 goals and 18 assists. Greg Ferguson from the Strasbourg Maroons topped the league with 19 goals. Donovan Hall from the Wynyard Monarchs led all scorers with five game winning goals and six power play goals. Brett Leffler led all scorers with three shorthanded goals. Ryan Senft led all goalies with a 2.11 GAA and had a perfect winning season with a 9-0-0 record with one shut out. Jeremy Ellis was next with a 2.90 GAA and an 8-2-0 record. Dave Perkin from the Wynyard Monarchs was third with a 3.17 GAA. He led all goalies with 1060 minutes played. Kelley Lueck from the Arrows was second with 1026 minutes played. Perkin also led all goalies with 12 wins.

The Wynyard Monarchs finished the year with the top power play. The Monarchs had 91 opportunities and scored 28 times for a 30.8% success rate. The Strasbourg Maroons were next with 18 goals on 69 opportunities for a 26.1% success rate and the Bethune Bulldogs were third cashing in on 19 of 74 opportunities. Wynyard had the most opportunities and the Avonlea Arrows had the fewest at 60. The top penalty kill belongs to the Raymore Rockets with 12 goals against in 76 times shorthanded or 84.2%. The Bethune Bulldogs were next with 18 goals against out of 102 times shorthanded. The Bulldogs were shorthanded the most and the Avonlea Arrows the least at 61 times. The Wynyard Monarchs were third with an 80% kill rate.  The Bethune Bulldogs led the league with 425 penalty minutes. The Lumsden Monarchs were next at 315 minutes and the Wynyard Monarchs were third with 310 minutes. The least penalized team in the league were the Strasbourg Maroons with 192 minutes.

PLAYOFFS BEGIN….

CUPAR vs. Raymore….

The playoff began Saturday evening in Raymore with the Rockets prevailing 6-2 over the Cupar Canucks. The Rockets won two out of three games during the regular season against the Canucks. All three games were one goal games.  In this game the Canucks took an early 2-0 lead on goals from Taylor Orr and Ryan Branton. Tyrell Shulko and Michael Jordan would score late in the period to tie the game up heading to the second period. Cody Mapes would score the eventual winning goal early in the second period and then Josh Jordan would score to give the Rockets a 4-2 lead. In the last minute of the period Michael Jordan would score his second goal of the game shorthanded. Josh Schwindt would score the only goal of third period making the final 6-2. Kevin Orthner was in net for the Rockets and Colby Miller was in net for the Canucks. The Rockets were assessed eight minor penalties and the Canucks five. Game two of this best of three series continues on Saturday evening in Cupar.

Avonlea vs. Strasbourg….This series begins on Wednesday evening in Strasbourg. The Maroons swept the season series winning 5-2, 6-3 and 6-3.

Lumsden vs. Wynyard…This series also begins Wednesday evening in Wynyard. Wynyard swept the season series by scores of 5-2, 6-1 and 8-0. Game two of this series will be played in Lumsden on Friday evening.

In Provincials….Last Monday evening the Bruno T-Birds defeated the Wynyard Monarchs 8-4 and won this Provincial ‘A’ series 2 games to 1. The T-Birds hosted the Bethune Bulldogs on Sunday in game one of their second round Provincial ‘A’ series and the Bulldogs won 3-2. Russ Nielson scored with two minutes left on the power play to secure game one. Kyle Ross and Lucas Ulmer also scored for the Bulldogs. The Avonlea Arrows won game one of their defence of the Provincial ‘D’ crown with a 5-1 victory over the Central Butte Flyers. Combined with League play, the Arrows have now won three of their last four games. This is a two game total point series and game two is Sunday in Central Butte at 2:00 p.m. The Lumsden Monarchs are also in a two game total point series in Provincial ‘C’ against the Eatonia Huskies. The Monarchs lost 3-1 on Friday evening in Lumsden and will be in Eatonia on Saturday for game two which starts at 8:00 p.m. There is room on the bus for anyone wishing to go to Eatonia…contact Don Hood or Randy Kuntz.

Highway Hockey League 50th Anniversary is next year….we could use some assistance….The Highway Hockey League will be celebrating 50 years of existence next season.  We are just in the planning stages and we could use some help. There are a lot of ideas of things we can do to celebrate 50 years of senior hockey and nothing has been finalized. At this point it is all about ideas, locating alumni, finding volunteers for a possible weekend celebration and getting sponsorship assistance. I would ask that you email our league highwayhockey@gmail.com if you have any ideas you would like to share, if you would like to help and most importantly we are looking for former players, coaches, managers and volunteers to provide us with at least an email address. We are also asking you to pass along our request for getting that information from anyone you know that was formerly associated with the league. If you have any interest in this 50th anniversary please supply your email address. If we can get a quick following we will be sending out a weekly email with all our updates. Thank you for your assistance!

Please note that the Highway Hockey twitter feed is now on our main page for your convenience….so you don’t have to be on twitter to get the updates from our league. The Highway Hockey feed will show all tweets sent from our feed. You will get our new “mobile view” on your handhelds….there is an option at the bottom of the page to go to a desktop view. If you prefer you can just follow us: http://twitter.com/highwayhockeyor on the Pensky File http://twitter.com/GeraldT

Thank you for supporting the Highway Hockey League. Playoffs and Provincials continue this week. Please get out to a game near you.

Gerry Tomkins

President - HHL