President's Update - January 12th, 2015

Wynyard Monarchs come alive with seven game winning streak….Our defending champions started the year 2-4 but after three more victories this week have now moved to within two points of the Strasbourg Maroons for first place. On Wednesday evening the Monarchs scored six goals in the third period to go on to a 10-3 victory over the Avonlea Arrows. Matt Strueby led the way with a natural hat trick in the third period. Brett Leffler (one shorthanded goal) and Eric Popadynec each scored twice while Justin Zadoroozniak and Riley Storzuk with a shorthanded goal completed the scoring for the Monarchs. Mike Miller, Stuart Holland and James Dombowsky with a power play goal scored for the Arrows. Dave Perkin picked up the win in the Monarchs net while Kelley Lueck was in net for the Arrows. Each team was assessed two minor penalties. On Friday evening the Monarchs defeated the Raymore Rockets 6-4. Donovan Hall scored the winning goal with just under four minutes left in the game and also added an empty net goal with two seconds left. Tyrell Shulko and Cody Mapes scored the first two goals of the game in the first period to give the Rockets a 2-0 lead before Dylan Bentz got the Monarchs on the board late in the period. Jordan Karakochuk and Chad Mazurak scored early in the second period to put the Monarchs up 3-2 but new Rocket Travis Mohr would score quickly to tie the game up. Later in the period Brett Leffler would score on the power play to get the lead back for the Monarchs. Early in the third period Tyrell Shulko would tie the game up for the Rockets before Donovan Hall finished the game with his winning goal. Dave Perkin picked up the win in net for the Monarchs while Kevin Orthner was in net for the Rockets. The Monarchs were assessed two minor penalties while the Rockets had seven. On Saturday evening the Monarchs played the Arrows again and came away with a 5-2 victory. Power play goals from Brett Leffler, Riley Storzuk and Donovan Hall gave the Monarchs a 3-1 lead going into the second period. Kyle Oleniuk scored the first period goal for the Arrows. Brett Leffler would complete the hat trick with two goals in the second period. Shay Neufeld would finish the scoring in the game with a power play goal for the Arrows in the third period. Dave Perkin picked up the win in net for the Monarchs and Kelley Lueck was in net for the Arrows. The Monarchs had three minor penalties called against them and the Arrows had six minor penalties. The Monarchs will now go for their eighth straight win against the first place Strasbourg Maroons on Friday evening.

The Strasbourg Maroons won two games on the weekend. After having played their poorest game of the season against Wynyard after the Christmas break that broke their four game winning streak, they defeated the Avonlea Arrows in Avonlea Friday evening 6-3 and then defeated the Lumsden Monarchs 6-4 on Saturday evening. On Friday, Greg Ferguson scored early in the game to give the Maroons an early 1-0 lead only to have James Dombowsky reply quickly for the Arrows. In the second period the Maroons took the lead for good with goals from Brady Heintz on the power play and Greg Ferguson would score his second goal of the game. Kyle Oleniuk would score late in the period to get the Arrows to within one goal going into the third period. Sean Delwo would score to restore the two goal lead for the Maroons before Layton Ludwar would score on the Arrows power play to make it a one goal game again. Jory Miller and Mitch McNish would score midway through the third period for the Maroons to make the final score 6-3. Jeremy Ellis picked up the win in net for the Maroons while Kelley Lueck was in net for the Arrows. The Maroons took five minor penalties and the Arrows three. On Saturday evening in Strasbourg, Tyson Orban scored twice in the first period and Kurtis Decker scored on the power play to take a 3-1 lead into the second period over the Lumsden Monarchs. Christopher Whitteron scored the Lumsden goal in the first period. In the second period Brady Aulie and Ryan Herman scored for the Monarchs to send the teams into the third period tied. Brady Heintz and Tanner Exner with the game winning goal would put the Maroons up 5-3. Austin Preete would score for Lumsden to get the Monarchs within one but Larry Dohm would score an empty net goal to make the final score 6-4 for the Maroons. Jeremy Ellis would pick up the win in net for the Maroons and Will Hood was in net for the Monarchs. Strasbourg picked up six minor penalties and Lumsden had four.

The enigmatic Cupar Canucks had a solid weekend picking up a win and a loss in two games that went extra time while picking up three of a possible four points in the standings. On Friday evening the Canucks were in Lumsden to play a Monarchs team that has already defeated them twice, once in overtime.  It was a very entertaining game. The first period saw no scoring. Austin Preete would open up the scoring early in the second period to put the Monarchs up but just over a minute later Donovan Chow would score with a quick shot from the side of the net and the game was tied again. Later in the period Ryan Branton would score and then Travis Orr would score on the power play and the Canucks had a 3-1 lead and had outshot the Monarchs 30 -20 going into the third period.  Six minutes into the third period the Monarchs would score the first of three straight goals in five minutes. Shay Wirll got the Monarchs to within one and then David Fisher would score to tie the game. Denby Haysom would then score to give the Monarchs their second lead of the game. Just fifteen seconds later Chad Filteau would score for the Canucks and this game would be headed to overtime. Two minutes into the overtime and on the Monarch’s fourth shot of the fourth frame, Brady Aulie would score to give Lumsden the victory 5-4. Will Hood picked up his second win of the year in net for the Monarchs stopping 35 of 39 shots. Colby Miller was in net for the Canucks and stopped 36 of 41 shots fired his way. The Monarchs outshot the Canucks 21-9 in the final 22 minutes. Each team took five minor penalties. Ryan Stanton had a major called against him which resulted in a one game suspension served against Bethune Saturday evening.

The Canucks would be in Bethune on Saturday evening for yet another entertaining game….especially the third period, the overtime and the shootout. Early in the first period Mike Reich would intercept an errant pass and fire in the first goal of the game over Colby Miller’s shoulder. The Bethune Bulldogs have scored first in every single game they have played this year. The Canucks would respond later in the period with goals from Donovan Chow and Elliot Hubick. Davis Brown would then score early in the second period on the power play to give the Canucks a 3-1 lead….a sense of déjà vu within 24 hours? Well, the Bulldogs would explode for five straight second period goals from Jake Ulmer, Dustin MacAngus, Kyle Ross, Mark Lustig and Mike Reich with his second goal of the game. With a 6-3 lead and a shot clock that showed the Bulldogs outshooting the Canucks 29-27 it really didn’t look good for the Canucks. Eight minutes into the third period, Cody Hall stole the puck at his own blue line and went in alone and scored to get the Canucks within two goals. With three minutes to play the Bulldogs would get into penalty trouble and Josh Lang would score on the power play to get the Canucks to within one and then Cody Hall would score on another power play to tie this game up at 6-6. Overtime was interesting as each team would be penalized twice and we actually watched three on three for over a minute and a half. Nothing was decided in overtime.  Our first shootout of the year saw just one goal and that came off the stick of Travis Orr to give the Canucks a 7-6 victory. We have had five overtime games this year. The Cupar Canucks have been in four of them. The Lumsden Monarchs are next having been in three overtime frames. Colby Miller picked up the win in net for the Canucks stopping 41 of 47 shots. Ryan Seibel was in net for the Bulldogs and stopped 31 of 37 shots fired his way. The Bulldogs had eight minor penalties called against them and the Canucks had five.

A familiar face and former scoring champion has taken over the lead in league scoring…Brett Leffler from the Wynyard Monarchs has 13 goals and 12 assists for 25 points. Michael Jordan from the Raymore Rockets is next with 13 goals and 10 assists for 23 points. Greg Ferguson from the Strasbourg Maroons is third with a league leading 16 goals along with 7 assists for 23 points. Rounding out the top five are Tanner Exner from the Maroons with 22 points and Kyle Ross from the Bethune Bulldogs with 21 points.  Donovan Hall from the Wynyard Monarchs leads all scorers with five power play goals. Teammate Brett Leffler is next with four and Russ Nielson from the Bulldogs has three.  Leffler also leads the league with two shorthanded goals and Hall leads the league with four game winning goals. Ryan Senft (4-0-0) leads all goalies with a 2.00 GAA. Jeremy Ellis is next at 2.71 GAA and has a perfect 7-0-0 record this year. David Perkin from the Wynyard Monarchs is next with a 3.00 GAA and is 9-4-0 on the year.  Perkin leads all goalies with 780 minutes played.  Bethune leads team goaltending with a 2.64 GAA.  The Strasbourg Maroons have the fewest penalty minutes per game average 10.6 minutes per game.  The Bethune Bulldogs have the most penalty minutes in the league averaging 21.9 minutes per game.  The Wynyard Monarchs are 8-1-0 when scoring first and the Strasbourg Maroons 5-0-0 when scoring first and also sport a 5-2-0 record when not scoring first.

The Wynyard Monarchs lead the league with a 30.8% power play success rate. Strasbourg is second at 26.7% and Bethune is third at 21.1%. The Lumsden Monarchs have the lowest power play percentage at 11.5%. The Lumsden Monarchs do lead the league in penalty killing with an 85.2% success rate. Raymore Rockets are next at 84.5% and Bethune is third at 83%. There have been eight shorthanded goals this year. Lumsden has allowed four and Avonlea has allowed two. The Wynyard Monarchs have scored four shorthanded goals and the Bethune Bulldogs have scored three. Lumsden has one shorthanded goal and the other four teams have not registered a shorthanded goal.  We have played 41 of our 63 scheduled games so far and the home team record is 26-11-4. Away teams are 15-25-1.

Provincial draws are now posted on the SHA site. We have the draw up for all of our teams for you to follow on our Provincial page here. Wynyard, Raymore and Strasbourg are in ‘A’ and will all play in January. Wynyard will play Bruno, a team they played in an excellent series two years ago. Strasbourg plays Balcarres from the QVHL and Raymore plays Davidson from the LLHL. Bethune is in ‘A’ and will play the winner of the Wynyard/Bruno series in February. Lumsden is in ‘C’ and will start against Eatonia in February. The Avonlea Arrows will begin the defence of their 2014 ‘D’ title against Central Butte in February.  The Cupar Canucks are not participating in Provincials.To be sure there will be a couple of changes to our schedule, make up games confirmed and it will all be finalized this week….stay tuned.

On Wednesday evening the Avonlea Arrows (0-10-0) will be in Bethune to play the third place Bulldogs (7-2-1). On Friday evening the first place Strasbourg Maroons (10-2-0) will be in Wynyard to play the second place Monarchs (9-4-0) at 8:30 p.m. The Bethune Bulldogs are in Lumsden to play the fifth place Monarchs (5-8-0) and the third place Raymore Rockets (7-5-1) are in Cupar to play the fifth place Cupar Canucks  (4-6-2). On Saturday evening Lumsden is in Raymore, Cupar goes to Avonlea and Bethune is in Strasbourg to play the Maroons.

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: on the Pensky File

Thank you for supporting the Highway Hockey League. Please get out to a game near you.

Gerry Tomkins

President - HHL