President's Update - March 2nd, 2015

Playoffs continue...Avonlea and Bethune advance in Provincials...Award nominees are out…Last Tuesday evening the Bethune Bulldogs opened up their playoff season with a 7-2 victory in the semi-finals against the upstart Avonlea Arrows.  Mike Reich, Shea Van Luven and Kayne Ulmer with a power play goal gave the Bulldogs a 3-0 lead after one period. In the second period Kyle Ross would up the lead to 4-0 until Shay Neufeld would get the first goal for the Arrows. Russ Nielson would make it 5-1 Bulldogs before Josh Jelinski would score to make it 5-2 Bulldogs going into the third period. Mike Reich and Kyle Ross would each score their second goal of the game in the third period to make the final score 7-2. Ryan Seibel picked up the win in net for the Bulldogs stopping 22 pucks directed his way. Kelley Lueck stopped 56 of 63 shots fired his way in the Arrows net. The Arrows had seven minors called against them and the Bulldogs had four minor penalties.

On Friday evening the Raymore Rockets scored twice on four power play opportunities and defeated the Wynyard Monarchs 6-3 to even this series up. Jared Adams scored the only goal of the first period to give the Rockets a 1-0 lead. In the second period Adams would score his second goal of the game midway through the period and then Tyrell Shulko would score on the power play and the Rockets were up 3-0. Joey MacDonald would get the Monarchs on the board and then Brett Leffler would score the last goal of the period and it was 3-2 Rockets going into the third period. Leffler would score his second goal of the game early in the third period to get the Monarchs tied but the Rockets power play would give them a 4-3 lead as Cody Mapes would score what would be the winning goal, Shulko would score his second goal of the game midway through the third period and the final score would be 5-3 for the Rockets. John Arscott picked up the win in net for the Rockets stopping 36 of 39 shots fired his way. Dave Perkin was in net for the Monarchs and stopped 20 shots. Wynyard had seven minor penalties and the Rockets had five.

On Saturday evening the teams met again in game three in Wynyard. The Rockets scored four times in the first period and had a 4-2 lead after one period. Jared Adams opened the scoring on the power play and less than a minute later Shane Flaman scored and the Rockets had a 2-0 lead. With four minutes left in the period Chad Mazurak would score Wynyard’s first goal and their third shorthanded goal of the series. Twenty seconds later Raymore would respond as Godric Tham would score. A minute and a half later Brett Leffler would score for the Monarchs but again the Rockets would respond quickly as Tham would score his second goal of the game just thirty seconds later and the Rockets had a 4-2 lead going into the second period. In two minutes and eleven seconds four goals were scored. The second period though would have no scoring so it came to the third period and the Wynyard Monarchs got a goal from Dale Spelchen early and then a goal from Riley Storzuk midway through period and would get the winner with less than three minutes left in the game from Dylan Bentz. The comeback victory would give the Monarchs a 2-1 lead in the series. Dave Perkin would pick up the win in net for the Monarchs and John Arscott was in net for the Rockets. Raymore had nine minor penalties assed against them while Wynyard had eight. Game four of this series is on Friday in Raymore.

Brett Leffler has played five playoff games and leads all playoff scorers with 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points. Michael Jordan from Raymore has also played five playoff games and is second in the playoff scoring race with 4 goals and 8 assists. Donovan Hall from Wynyard and Tyrell Shulko from Raymore are tied for third with 10 points. Cody Mapes from Raymore leads all scorers with 6 goals. Mason Brewster from Wynyard and Ryan Siebel each have won one playoff game and each has a 2.00 GAA to lead all goalies. Dave Perkin from Wynyard leads all goalies with three wins and 240 minutes played.

In Provincial play… the Bethune Bulldogs defeated the Davidson Cyclones 6-5 on Thursday evening in Davidson and swept this series 2-0. The Bulldogs were up 4-2 after one period in this game and despite outshooting the Cyclones 19-7 in the second period only had a 4-3 lead going into the third period. Davidson would tie this game and take the lead. Late in the period Bethune would score on the power play and then Russ Nielson would score what would be the winner. Bethune outshot Davidson 47-27. The Bulldogs now play the Balgonie Bisons in the Provincial ‘A’ semi-final with game one in Bethune on Saturday evening at 8:00 p.m. The Avonlea Arrows won game one of their series with the Imperial Sabres 3-1 on Friday evening in Avonlea. Game two of this two game total point series was played in Holdfast on Sunday afternoon.  The Arrows defeated the Sabres 10-3 and won the total point series 13-4. The defending Provincial ‘D’ champion Arrows now play the Gull Lake Greyhounds in a Provincial ‘D’ semi-final. This will be a rematch of last year’s semi-final that saw Avonlea defeat Gull Lake in double overtime in game three in Gull Lake. This year Avonlea will have the extra home game in the series. Game one will be Saturday at 5:00 p.m. in Avonlea and game two will be Sunday at 2:00 p.m. in Gull Lake. If a game three is required it will be played on Sunday, March 15th at 5:00 p.m. in Avonlea.

Looking at the Awards ballot that has been sent to our teams for voting we see the MVP candidates this year are dominated by the Center position and MVP-Local is dominated by the Left Wing position. Nominees for MVP are Kyle Ross (C) from the Bethune Bulldogs, Brett Leffler (LW) from the Wynyard Monarchs, Quinn McIntosh (C,D) from the Strasbourg Maroons, Michael Jordan (C) from the Raymore Rockets, Chad Filteau (RW) from the Cupar Canucks, Brady Aulie (C) from the Lumsden Monarchs and Calvin Watson (C) from the Avonlea Arrows. Brady Aulie, Michael Jordan and Brett Leffler are also nominated for MVP-Local (Eckdahl Jenkins Memorial Trophy).  Joining them are Stuart Holland (LW) from the Avonlea Arrows, Lucas Ulmer (LW) from the Bethune Bulldogs, Travis Orr (C) from the Cupar Canucks and Greg Ferguson (LW) from the Strasbourg Maroons.

Other awards being voted on include the Ken Hale Memorial Award for Manager of the Year, Lynwood Miller Trophy for Coach of the Year, Stats-Van Trott Trophy for Rookie of the Year and all positions of the All-Star team.  The Sportsmanship Trophy is the only Trophy that does not go through a nomination process. When teams submit their nominations, each team submits one name of a player for the Sportsmanship Trophy. We will take a look further next blog on the All Star team.

The Tyson Sievert Scoring Trophy will be shared by Brett Leffler from Wynyard and Michael Jordan from Raymore. The Team Goaltending Award has been won by Ryan Seibel and Ryan Senft from Bethune. The League Pennant has been won by the Bethune Bulldogs. The Robert Schultz HHL Championship Trophy will be presented to our playoff winners.

As stated before most of our trophies are 40 to 50 years old and have sponsors on them that are no longer relevant. We have had some trophies renamed and it is our intention to do the same with the balance of the trophies in honour of people that have contributed to our league. This will be done as part of our 50th celebration. The Highway Hockey League will be celebrating 50 years of existence next season.  Again we are asking anyone who was ever involved in the league to please send us an email and let us know your contact information so we can update you about activities next year. Also if you have any interest in being involved please send an email.

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. There are three and possibly four playoff games this week and there will be at least two Provincial games. Schedules are posted on our front page….Please get out to a game near you,

Gerry Tomkins

President - HHL