SPOONER, Wis. – The annual Superior International Junior Hockey League Showcase is set to go Tuesday and Wednesday at the Spooner Civic Center, home of the Wisconsin Lumberjacks.
The two-day event will feature all six SIJHL clubs competing in a total of six games, three per day, with each of the match-ups counting towards the league standings.
|Tuesday, Feb. 4|
|Thunder Bay North Stars||Fort Frances Lakers||1:15 p.m.|
|Dryden GM Ice Dogs||Thief River Falls Norskies||4:15 p.m.|
|Red Lake Miners||Wisconsin Lumberjacks||7:15 p.m.|
|Wednesday, Feb. 5|
|Thief River Falls Norskies||Thunder Bay North Stars||1:15 p.m.|
|Fort Frances Lakers||Red Lake Miners||4:15 p.m.|
|Wisconsin Lumberjacks||Dryden GM Ice Dogs||7:15 p.m.|
DAY 1: Tuesday’s slate of three contests begins at 1:15 p.m. as the Thunder Bay North Stars (Visitor) take on the Fort Frances Lakers (Home).
Next up will be a meeting between the Dryden GM Ice Dogs (V) and the Thief River Falls Norskies (H) at 4:15 p.m.
Wrapping up Day 1 will feature the Red Lake Miners (V) going up against the host Wisconsin Lumberjacks (H) at 7:15 p.m.
DAY 2: Wednesday’s docket features Thief River Falls (V) squaring off against Thunder Bay (H) at 1:15 p.m. followed by a 4:15 p.m. encounter between Fort Frances (V) and Red Lake (H).
The Showcase will then conclude at 7:15 p.m. as Wisconsin (V) faces off with Dryden (H).
CLOSE AT THE TOP: Parity has been prevalent so far this season as it’s shaping up to be a close finish for the regular season crown.
Entering action Tuesday, only 13 points separate first through fourth in the overall standings, which is the closest the Top 4 teams have been in recent memory.
WHO’S HOT: The two hottest teams hitting the event are the Lumberjacks and Miners.
Wisconsin has gone 8-0-1-0 in their past nine outings while Red Lake boasts a 7-2-0-1 mark in their previous 10 games.
In terms of players, Thunder Bay’s Cody Bruchkowski is having a tremendous year for the North Stars.
He’s riding a current league-high 10-game point where he has tallied 11 times and helped set-up 10 others in that span.
Bruchkowski also leads the SIJHL in goals (41), points (69), power play markers (13) and game-winning goals (8).
He began the season with the Brockville Braves (CCHL) where he had four markers in seven outings to give him 45 goals in total, which is among the most of all skaters in the entire 131-team Canadian Junior Hockey League.
On the point, Connor Kalthoff of the Norskies is playing at a point-per-game with 34 in as many outings to lead all SIJHL defencemen in offensive production. His 11 tallies also leads all blueliners.
Between the pipes, no one has been hotter than Lumberjacks goalkeeper Hunter Adams.
Adams has come away victorious in each of his past six starts while posting an impressive .943 save percentage in that span.
Red Lake’s Zach Willms paces all SIJHL netminders in wins with 21 and also leads the way in goals-against average and save percentage.
ROOKIES GOT GAME: A foursome of SIJHL rookies are having solid campaigns in their first year in the league.
Sharing the lead in rookie numbers are Jack Michels of Thief River Falls and Red Lake’s Ryan Howe.
Both have amassed 46 points with Michel pacing all rookies in goals with 24.
The North Stars Nikolas Campbell and Joel Matthews of the Lumberjacks have picked up 34 points apiece and in a group that is tied for 11th in overall SIJHL scoring.
THE NOTES: Special teams has seen Cody Bruchkowski collect 26 of his 69 points this season on the power play. … Dryden’s Justin Pitari tops all SIJHL skaters in shorthanded goals with four while teammate Josh Weber is next with three. … Red Lake defenceman Rajvir Sangha leads the league in shootout goals this season with two. … When scoring first in games the Miners sport the best record in the league at 20-3-2-1 while Wisconsin is next at 13-2-2-0, followed by Thunder Bay at 17-3-3-0. … The North Stars lead the league in both power play and penalty kill success at 24.3 and 85.1 respectively. … The Norskies sit second on the P.P. at 22.8% while the Miners are No. 2 on the P.K. at 82.4%. … Dryden leads the SIJHL in shorthanded goals with 11. … Every team in the league boasts a winning record when leading after two periods of play: Dryden (11-4-1-0); Fort Frances (6-3-1-0); Red Lake (17-1-2-1); Thief River Falls (14-0-1-0); Thunder Bay (20-1-1-0) and Wisconsin (12-1-1-0). … Cade Moreland of the Lumberjacks and Cody Bruchkowski of the North Stars have both scored in each of their past four games. … While Bruchkowski has points in 10 straight, Ethan Stuckless of the Miners is on an eight-game run, Kyle Uzelman of Fort Frances has etched him name on the score sheet in six consecutive games while Moreland, along with Bryce Johnson of Thief River Falls, both have five-gamers on the go.
HOCKEYTV: All six SIJHL Showcase games will be streamed live online via HockeyTV.com.