One weekend into the season and two familiar teams are on top of their respected divisions in the Alberta Junior Hockey League. Last year's Gas Drive Cup champion Spruce Grove Saints are a perfect 3-0 to start the year and are on top of the North Division, while runners-up, the Brooks Bandits, scored 17 goals in their first two games and have a plus-13 goal differential, good enough to sit on top of the South Division.
Spruce Grove will start the weekend tonight at home to the Calgary Canucks, who are winless in their first three games, having only picked up a single point in an overtime loss. Then the Saints will return to division play on Saturday night in a meeting with the Fort McMurray Oil Barons. Spruce Grove went 5-0-1 in six games last season against the Oil Barons, who so far have come out of the gate slowly in the North Division, having scored just one goal in two games, while dropping both contents.
Fort McMurray will have the hardest schedule of the entire weekend as with three games over three nights, they are playing teams with a combined record of 7-0. They start in Sherwood Park on Friday before Saturday's meeting with the Saints, and then finish the weekend with an afternoon affair with the Camrose Kodiaks, who much like the Bandits, started 2-0 and scored nine goals in their openers.
The only other undefeated team in the AJHL, the Lloydminster Bobcats, will look to prove their hot start wasn't a fluke, as they continue their four-game home stand with a meeting tonight with the Whitecourt Wolverines, before welcoming the Grande Prairie Storm in on Saturday night. It's the best start to the season since 2010 for the Bobcats.
With three straight losses to start the season, the Bonnyville Pontiacs will have three chances this weekend to get their first victory of the season. With Grande Prairie visiting on Friday and Whitecourt on Saturday, Bonnyville has two chances at home to turn their start around before heading to Sherwood Park for their third divisional matchup of the weekend.
In the South, the Brooks Bandits have four of the top eight scorers in the league, with Dylan McCrory's six points putting him on top of the AJHL leaderboard, while Jeff Malott and Austin Wright each have five points in the teams first two games. They will look to tame the Dragons tonight, as Drumheller comes to town looking to leap in front of the Bandits with a victory. Brooks will then host the Okotoks Oilers, who so far have played only one game this season.
The Camrose Kodiaks will also look to continue off a 2-0 start when they host a pair of games, starting with the Olds Grizzlys on Friday and then the Fort McMurray Oil Barons on Sunday.
While it's still early in the season, a slow start isn't a wanted one, and for five teams in the AJHL, they will be looking for their first victory of the season. All three teams from the North Division looking for their first win, Grande Prairie, Bonnyville and Fort McMurray play three games each, while the Calgary Canucks get Spruce Grove and Drayton Valley, and Okotoks gets the Calgary Mustangs and Bandits.