CALGARY, Alta. – As the snow begins to fly across most of the Canadian Junior Hockey League, the top teams early in the season are now facing some stiff challenges for first place across all 10 leagues.
In the BCHL, the Penticton Vees have surged to the top of the overall standings and now sit comfortably ahead of the Chilliwack Chiefs, Wenatchee Wild, Victoria Grizzlies and the Powell River Kings.
Action in the AJHL sees the Fort McMurray Oil Barons continuing to sit first overall in terms of winning percentage, but the Whitecourt Wolverines have edged ahead in points, largely due to more games played. They are now being closely pursued by the Brooks Bandits.
In SJHL play, the Battlefords North Stars had a small stumble as their impressive winning streak came to a close and now have the Estevan Bruins breathing down their necks.
The Steinbach Pistons still pace the MJHL ahead of the surprising OCN Blizzard, Winkler Flyers, Virden Oil Capitals and the Portage Terriers. Portage also holds several games in hand.
The Thunder Bay North Stars and the Dryden GM Ice Dogs are in a virtual deadlock for leadership of the SIJHL as they start to separate themselves from the rest of the league.
In the NOJHL the Powassan Voodoos are rolling along with a 13-game winning streak and have pulled ahead of the Cochrane Crunch, Soo Thunderbirds, Timmins Rock and the Rayside-Balfour Canadians.
OJHL play has the Georgetown Raiders on top, but have the Trenton Golden Hawks, Whitby Fury, Cobourg Cougars and St. Michael’s Buzzers right on their tail.
Meanwhile, the Carleton Place Canadians and Hawkesbury Hawks are neck-and-neck in the ultra-competitive CCHL.
No.1 CJHL-ranked College Français de Longueuil and No. 5 Les Cobras de Terrebonne are still prominent in the LHJAAAQ, but are also being closely being pursued by the Arctic de St-Léonard.
The MHL has the Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners just a single point behind the Pictou County Weeks Crushers, but the Mariners do hold a game in hand.
The following is the latest CJHL Top 20 rankings:
CJHL TOP 20 (As of Nov. 21, 2016)
RANK TEAM (LEAGUE) (LAST WEEK)
1. College Francais de Longueuil (LHJAAAQ) (1)
2. Georgetown Raiders (OJHL) (2)
3. Steinbach Pistons (MJHL) (3)
4. Penticton Vees (BCHL) (6)
5. Les Cobras de Terrebonne (LHJAAAQ) (5)
6. Trenton Golden Hawks (OJHL) (7)
7. Powassan Voodoos (NOJHL) (8)
8. Fort McMurray Oil Barons (AJHL) (10)
9. Battlefords North Stars (SJHL) (11)
10. Whitby Fury (OJHL) (HM)
11. Dryden GM Ice Dogs (SIJHL) (19)
12. Timmins Rock (NOJHL) (NR)
13. Brooks Bandits (AJHL) (14)
14. Whitecourt Wolverines (AJHL) (16)
15. Wenatchee Wild (BCHL) (4)
16. Chilliwack Chiefs (BCHL) (NR)
17. OCN Blizzard (MJHL) (13)
18. Yarmouth Jr. ‘A’ Mariners (MHL) (9)
19. Thunder Bay North Stars (SIJHL) (15)
20. Carleton Place Canadians (CCHL) (20)
Honourable Mention: Bonnyville Pontiacs (AJHL); Estevan Bruins (SJHL); Cobourg Cougars (OJHL); Arctic de St-Léonard (LHJAAAQ); Pictou County Weeks Crushers
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.