CALGARY, Alta. – While Canada East and Canada West are both off to impressive starts at the World Junior ’A’ Challenge in Bonnyville, Alta., the remainder of Canadian Junior Hockey League and its member clubs continue to vie for position in their 10 respective leagues prior to the Christmas break.
In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees boast the best winning percentage there while the Wenatchee Wild is one-point up in the standings and the Victoria Grizzlies are in close pursuit as three 50-plus-point sides.
AJHL action has the Brooks Bandits and Whitecourt Wolverines deadlocked for first overall with Brooks holding five games in hand. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons and Bonnyville Pontiacs also remain in the hunt.
The Battlefords North Stars continue to shine in the SJHL having won six straight and upping their lead on the Estevan Bruins and Flin Flon Bombers.
Over in the MJHL, the Steinbach Pistons remain first overall, but the OCN Blizzard and Winkler Flyers both have won three in a row to close the gap.
The Thunder Bay North Stars have reeled off seven consecutive victories to maintain in top spot in the SIJHL while the rival Dryden GM Ice Dogs are just three points in arrears while also holding two games in hand.
The hottest squad in the 132-team CJHL remains the Powassan Voodoos of the NOJHL. They have come out on top in 20 straight outings while the Soo Thunderbirds have eight wins in succession to their credit.
Looking at the OJHL, the Trenton Golden Hawks have a slim two-point lead on the Georgetown Raiders with the latter holding three games in hand and the best winning percentage there. The Whitby Fury and 2017 RBC Cup host Cobourg Cougars are also in contention.
Meanwhile the Carleton Place Canadians remain in first in the 12-team CCHL with the Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators having played three fewer contests and sporting the top win mark. The Hawkesbury Hawks, Kemptville 73’s, and Cornwall Colts also sit close by.
As the No. 1 club in the CJHL again this week, Collège Français de Longueuil still paces the LHJAAAQ standings with a solid 27-1-0-1 overall record while Les Cobras de Terrebonne, Arctic de St. Leonard and Inouk de Granby are also playing over .700-hockey.
MHL play sees the Pictou County Weeks Crushers and Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners neck-and-neck as they battle for first on the East Coast as they are just one point apart.
CJHL TOP 20 (As of Dec. 12, 2016)
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST WEEK)
1. Collège Français de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (1)
2. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) (2)
3. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (5)
4. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (8)
5. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (3)
6. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (4)
7. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (6)
8. Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) (7)
9. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (10)
10. Whitby Fury (OJHL) (HM)
11. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (13)
12. Soo Thunderbirds (NOJHL) (HM)
13. Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ) (9)
14. Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL) (14)
15. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (17)
16. Winkler Flyers (MJHL) (HM)
17. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (HM)
18. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (18)
19. Ottawa Jr. ‘A’ Senators (CCHL) (20)
20. Pictou County Weeks Crushers (MHL) (19)
Honourable Mention: Victoria Grizzlies (BCHL); Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL); Portage Terriers (MJHL); Cobourg Cougars (OJHL); Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL)
ABOUT THE TOP 20 RANKINGS: The CJHL Top 20 weekly rankings are based upon a variety of factors, including the league in which the team plays, winning percentage, win-loss record, total points accumulated, goals-for versus goals-against ratio, etc.