AJHL Weekend Preview: November 22-24

Photo  Credit – Dave Watling:

The AJHL 2019-2020 campaign is through the first third and heading into this weekend there are some big games on the schedule for Junior A hockey fans to check out.  There?s a rivalry meeting between the top two teams of South, while a pair of northern teams have a gruelling three games in three nights slate.

Bonnyville Pontiacs
3rd AJHL North
Weekend Schedule: Friday vs Wolverines; Saturday vs Wolverines

Lucas Thorne?s 8-game point streak will be put on the line in a pair of rivalry games this weekend as he and the rest of the Bonnyville Pontiacs take on the Whitecourt Wolverines on both Friday and Saturday night.  The Pontiacs are six points up on the Wolverines for third in the division, but if the previous matchups in the season series are any indication these could be close shaves for Bonnyville.  Already meeting for the 5th and 6th times this season, Bonnyville has recorded just one regulation win over Whitecourt.

Brooks Bandits
1st AJHL South
Weekend Schedule: Friday vs Oilers; Saturday vs Canucks

After their record AJHL win streak was snapped by the Spruce Grove Saints this month, the Brooks Bandits picked up another two wins before being felled in overtime by the Pontiacs 4-3 last weekend.  The Bandits will look to re-enter the win column in a big matchup at home Friday night against the Okotoks Oilers. Always a marquee showdown, the Bandits edged the Oilers 2-1 in a shootout in their only previous meeting this season.  On Saturday, Brooks will welcome the Calgary Canucks, a team they?ve beaten four times this season.  The Bandits also have three invitees to the Team Canada West World Junior A Challenge camp: defenders Corson Ceulemans and Ethan Lund and forward Brayden Krieger.

Calgary Canucks
7th AJHL South
Weekend Schedule: Friday @ Grizzlys; Saturday @ Bandits

The Calgary Canucks will attempt to end a four-game losing streak on the road this weekend, as they pay visits to the Olds Grizzlys and the Brooks Bandits.  Calgary?s last win was a 5-2 road win in Lloydminster on November 9th and they?ll look to recapture the gutsy road effort in Olds.  A win against the Grizzlys would pull them within 4 points of Olds for the final playoff spot in the South. Much like last season, Olds and Calgary appear to once again be in a see-saw battle for the position.

Camrose Kodiaks
4th AJHL South
Weekend Schedule: Saturday vs Dragons

Entering the weekend in the top half of the AJHL South Division, the Camrose Kodiaks have just a lone game this week but it?s a key rivalry game with the Drumheller Dragons in town on Saturday.  The Kodiaks and Dragons have met just once so far this season, a 6-5 Dragons victory.  Defenceman Robert Kincaid will represent the Kodiaks at the Team Canada West selection camp for the World Junior A Challenge, and he?ll be joined by assistant coach Clayton Jardine and goalie coach Allen York.

Canmore Eagles
5th AJHL South
Weekend Schedule: Friday @Dragons; Saturday vs Oilers

The Canmore Eagles broke a three game slide by defeating Drayton Valley earlier this week and will look to make it back-to-back wins when they visit the Drumheller Dragons.  While they?ve picked up two points against the Dragons this year, they?ve come in a pair of overtime losses.  On Saturday, the Eagles will return home to host the red hot Okotoks Oilers.  Eagles forward Alex Young is the lone Canmore player taking flight to the Team Canada West selection camp. 

Drayton Valley Thunder
5th AJHL North
Weekend Schedule: Saturday vs Oil Barons; Sunday vs Oil Barons

The Drayton Valley Thunder will play the role of host this weekend, entertaining the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on Friday and Saturday night.  The Thunder have followed up a three game win streak with back-to-back losses.  The Thunder also came up short in their only prior meeting against the MOB this season, a tight 3-2 loss.  Forward Jeremy Klessens will also try to get back on the scoresheet, as his five-game point streak was snapped against the Oilers on Tuesday.

Drumheller Dragons
3rd AJHL South
Weekend Schedule: Friday vs Eagles; Saturday @ Kodiaks

The Drumheller Dragons are looking to breathe fire on a month that has been relatively cool with a 2-4 run. They?ll host the Canmore Eagles on Friday night, a team they?ve upended in overtime twice this season, before they head up the highway to Camrose to face Kodiaks for the second meeting of the season between the two clubs. Drumheller took the season series opener in a high scoring affair, 6-5.  Eric Martin paces the Dragons with 29 points in 24 games and picked up two assists in his last game against Canmore.

Fort McMurray Oil Barons
T-6th AJHL North
Weekend Schedule: Friday @ Saints; Saturday @ Thunder; Sunday @ Thunder

The Fort McMurray Oil Barons are coming off their first November victory and will hop out of the frying pain and into the fire this weekend as they start off a three game trek in Spruce Grove against the Saints.  The MOB are 1-3 against Spruce Grove this season, with the lone win in  a thrilling 3-2 victory back in October.  From Spruce Grove, the MOB shift to Drayton Valley where they?ll face the Thunder in back-to-back games on Saturday and Sunday.  Defender Kobare Dunn will represent Fort McMurray at the Team Canada West selection camp.

Grande Prairie Storm
T-6th AJHL North
Weekend Schedule: Friday @ Bobcats; Saturday @ Bobcats; Sunday @ Saints

Tied with the Oil Barons for 6th in the AJHL North, the Grande Prairie Storm will also face a tough test this weekend with three games in three days.  The Storm will start off in Lloydminster, playing the Bobcats on Friday and Saturday night, before closing off the trip playing the Spruce Grove Saints on Sunday. 

Lloydminster Bobcats
8th AJHL North
Weekend Schedule: Friday vs Storm; Saturday vs Storm

After a slow start to the season, the Bobcats find themselves playing much more consistent hockey in November, adding two of their three wins on the season this month.  This weekend, a pair of home games against the Grande Prairie Storm present a unique opportunity to gain some ground in the AJHL North on a team directly above them in the standings. 

Okotoks Oilers
2nd AJHL South
Weekend Schedule: Friday @ Bandits; Saturday @ Eagles

The Okotoks Oilers are the hottest team in the AJHL right now as winners of nine straight games.  The stage is set for a dramatic way to push the win streak to ten as the Oilers faceoff against the record-setting Bandits in Brooks on Friday night.  The Oilers fell 2-1 in a shootout against Brooks in the only other meeting this season.  Okotoks will close out the weekend against the Eagles in Canmore.  Forwards Louis Jamernik and Jack Works have been tabbed to attend the Team Canada West selection camp.

Olds Grizzlys
6th AJHL South
Weekend Schedule: Friday vs Canucks; Saturday @ Crusaders

Since beating the Dragons 3-1 at home to begin the month, the Olds Grizzlys have found themselves on a four game slide, going 0-2-2.  This weekend, the Grizzlys will try to shake the schneid hosting the Calgary Canucks and visiting the Sherwood Park Crusaders.  Olds is undefeated against the Canucks this season, while they will look to avenge a 7-2 loss to the Crusaders to close out the weekend.

Sherwood Park Crusaders
1st AJHL North
Weekend Schedule: Saturday vs Grizzlys

The Sherwood Park Crusaders continue to have a magnificent season, with only two losses and five wins in a row.  Led by Carter Savoie?s 29 goals and 48 points, the Crusaders have a single game this weekend ? hosting the Olds Grizzlys on Saturday.  During their win streak, the Crusaders have outscored opponents 20-7 and have scored at least three goals in each game.  The Crusaders are sending three players to the Team Canada West selection camp: goaltender Carter Gylander, defenceman Michael Benning, and Savoie. 

Spruce Grove Saints
2nd AJHL North
Weekend Schedule: Friday vs Oil Barons; Sunday vs Storm

The Spruce Grove Saints are having a noteworthy month, with wins over the Sherwood Park Crusaders and the Brooks Bandits.  The Saints are on a five game tear, outscoring the opposition 27 -10 in the run.  The Saints will welcome the Oil Barons and Storm to the Grant Fuhr Arena on Friday and Sunday.  When it comes to the Team Canada West selection camp, the Saints will be represented by goaltender Matthew Davis, defenceman Ethan Edwards and forwards Stanley Cooley and Cam Mitchell.

Whitecourt Wolverines
4th AJHL North
Weekend Schedule: Friday @ Pontiacs; Saturday @ Pontiacs

The Whitecourt Wolverines have won five of their last seven, but are coming off a 4-1 loss to the Crusaders on Sunday.  Whitecourt will close out their season series against the Bonnyville Pontiacs this weekend and are 2-1-1 against the ?Yaks this season.