Thursday, September 27, 2012

Mustangs Acquire Fauchoux:

The Melfort Mustangs have made a splash this week by trading for former-Cowichan Valley Capital Adam Fauchoux.

Fauchoux is an 18 year old from Prince Albert who also spent the early parts of this season with my home town Vernon Vipers.

He had appeared in two games for Cowichan, putting up 0 points.

He played in Notre Dame last night picking up an assist in the 4-3 win over the Hounds.

Here's Adam's stats:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Mustangs Weekend Recap:

This past weekend, the SJHL opened the doors on a brand new season.

In a weekend of home-and-homes, most teams earned a split down the middle. The Melfort Mustangs, along with the Estevan Bruins; did not.

The 'Stangs hosted their home opener in front of just over 1000 Mustang faithful on Friday night, but a 4-assist night from Josh Roach led the Flin Flon Bombers to a 5-2 victory.

The Mustangs got goals from Jay Aasen and Jarret Zentner, while Brandon Formosa and Brandon Sloan each picked up 2 assists in the loss.

Jesse Wilkins made his season debut making 25 of 30 saves, while Devin Buffalo shut the door making 28 stops for the win.

On Saturday night, the two teams met for a rematch, this time in Flin Flon. The Mustangs would open the scoring on the powerplay as Anthony Pickering picked up a puck in front following a strange board bounce after a Carter Berg dump in to the zone.

Josh Roach and Brody Robinson would score goals after that for the Bombers.

Melfort would find themselves down 2-1 midway through the 2nd when Brandon Sloan picked up a loose puck in the offensive zone and made a move on Buffalo beating him through the 5-hole to tie the game. Josh Roach got in for his 2nd assist of the evening to put Flin Flon in front shortly after.

With under a minute to go in the 3rd, the Mustangs pulled their netminder and a defensive giveaway right to the stick of Konrad Litke would seal the victory for the Bombers.

Jesse Wilkins again stood tall making 45 of 48 saves, while Buffalo stopped 28 of 30.

With the loss, the Mustangs dropped to 0-2 in the standings, while Flin Flon improved to 2-0.

The Mustangs are in Estevan tonight as the two 0-2 teams meet up for a 7:30 puck drop. Tune in to CK750 with Branden Crowe tonight beginning at 7:15 for the pregame show.

Head coach Gavin Holcomb was pleased with the way his team played, and felt they were a few bounces away from picking up a few points.

Hawks Weekend Recap:

The Nipawin Hawks went in to La Ronge on Friday night knowing they were going to face an inexperienced and fresh faced Ice Wolves team.

But what they didn't know, was that led by Nathan Boyer and Myles Hovdebo, the Ice Wolves were prepared and ready to play.

It took just 46 seconds for the Hawks to open the scoring in La Ronge, as Jesse Williamson fired, errr flicked, a puck up and over the heads of 4 or 5 players, including netminder Hovdebo. Jesse Bernard and Tad Kozun, who both played crucial roles in the game picked up the assists.

La Ronge would strike back less then a minute later, with Pavlo Zerebecky beating Davis Jones on the man advantage. Midway through the first, the Ice Wolves would take the lead with another powerplay goal(according to the SJHL website, although no one was in the box at the time) scored by Brennan Ritchie.

Early in the 2nd, Tad Kozun would get his first of the season off a setup by Bernard and Grant Jensen, and the 2-2 tie would last until midway through the third when Eric Bollefer put the Hawks in to the lead with Bernard and Michael Lambert getting assists.

Rhyse Dieno would bury a chance in front with just over 5 minutes to go in regulation, with Boyer picking up his 2nd assist of the night.

After regulation, David Jones made 39 of 42 stops and Myles Hovdebo stopped 38 of 42.

In overtime, both teams would exchange minimal chances and the game would then head to a shootout.

The second shooter for La Ronge, Nathan Boyer, would score, leaving Ryan Ostertag a chance to send the shootout on, but a diving poke check by Hovdebo would send the crowd in to a frenzy with fish covered ice, as the Ice Wolves won 4-3 in the shootout.

The following night, these two teams would meet up at the Cage for the Hawks home opener.

Revenge would be sweet for the Hawks as they would beat the Ice Wolves in similar fashion, in a shootout.

Brett Mcnevin opened the scoring to silence the Hawks home opening crowd, but four and a half minutes later Keenan Martens would bury his 1st from Eric Bollefer and Taylor Balog.

In the 2nd, the Ice Wolves would appear to 'open the flood gates', scoring 3 straight goals.Pavlo Zerebecky got it started before Brendan Boyd and Nathan Boyer added insurance. Just 17 seconds following Boyers' goal, Brenden Hopkins would get a goal from Dustin Skilliter and Garret Lockridge to make it 4-2 La Ronge.

To the third, and Brady Zerr scores a early goal to pull the Hawks within one, with Taylor Balog collecting his 2nd assist. 10 minutes later, Nipawin would tie the game with a powerplay goal from Ryan Ostertag. Captain Jeff Datoff and Wheaton King picked up the helpers.

After an overtime of 4-on-4, the two teams would head to the shootout, and the goal scorers would be the previously mentioned couple of players; Datoff and King. The crowd went home happy and the Hawks gave the fans a salute to victory.

Next Hawks game will be Friday when the Estevan Bruins come to town. 7:30 puck drop at the Cage.

Friday, September 21, 2012

2012/2013 Nipawin Hawks Roster:

2012-13 Nipawin Hawks

The Regular season is finally here, and this a look at this years edition of the Nipawin Hawks. 7 Rookies make their mark on his roster of 22 skaters and 2 goaltenders. 8-20 year old skaters are back and ready to look for their first CanAlta Cup.

It all begins from La Ronge, TONIGHT.

Broadcast time is 7:15 while the puck drop is 7:30 from the Mel Heglund Uniplex. The game can be heard on 105 CJVR and online at


41-Davis Jones
Born: April 26, 1992
From: St. Albert, Alberts
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 38 GP, 2.42 GAA, .920 SV%

37-Jordan Liem rookie
Born: April 30, 1993
From: New Westminster, BC
Last Season: North. Van Wolfpack/PIJHL, 39 GP, 3.24 GAA, .903 SV%


4-Ian Bablitz rookie
Born: 1994
From: Edmonton, Alberta
Last Season: KoC Pats/AMHL 34 GP, 1 G, 4 A, 5 Pts, 32 PIMS

5-David Heath rookie
Born: May 23, 1994
From: Melita, Man
Last Season: Southwest Cougars/MMHL 44 GP, 3 G, 16 A, 19 Pts, 56 PIMS

6-Jeff Datoff – Captain
Born: May 17,1992
From: Nanaimo, BC
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 56 GP, 12 G, 23 A, 35 Pts, 73 PIMS

7-Mitch Doell
Born: June 23, 1993
From: Winkler, Man
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL 56 GP, 15 G, 18 A, 33 Pts, 44 PIMS

8-Brady Zerr – Alternate Captain
Left/Left Wing
Born: January 20,1992
From: Goodsoil, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 57 GP, 15 G, 14 A, 29 Pts, 55 PIMS

10-Wheaton King – Alternate Captain @ Home
Left/Left Wing
Born: October 9, 1992
From: Brandon, Man
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 17 GP, 9 G, 8 A, 17 Pts, 16 PIMS

11-Jesse Bernard
Born: February 2, 1993
From: Killarney, Man
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 32 GP, 17 G, 10 A, 27 Pts, 73 PIMS

12-Dexter Bricker rookie
Left/Left Wing
Born: April 22, 1995
From: Saskatoon, Sask
Last Season: Swift Current Legionnaires/SMHL 35 GP, 7 G, 13 A, 20 Pts, 93 PIMS

13-Garret Lockeridge rookie
Left/Left Wing
Born: April 30, 1994
From: Regina, Sask
Last Season: Regina Pat Canadians/SMHL 41 GP, 9 G, 9 A, 41 Pts, 137 PIMS

17-Brenden Hopkins
Right/Right Wing
Born: March 31, 1993
From: Warman, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL 28 GP, 6 G, 5 A, 11 Pts, 109 PIMS 

18- Carter Coben rookie
Left/Left Wing
Born: June 14, 1994
From: Saskatoon, Sask
Last Season: Saskatoon Contacts/SMHL, 38 GP, 7 G, 12 A, 19 Pts 

20-Grant Jensen – Alternate Captain on Road
Born: July 13, 1992
From: Radville, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 51 GP, 2 G, 5 A, 7 Pts, 157 PIMS 

21-Keenan Martens
Born: January 13, 1993
From: Calgary, Alberta
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 41 GP, 4 G, 14 A, 18 Pts, 4 PIMS 

22-Yan Kalashnikov
Right/Right Wing
Born: July 28, 1992
From: Minsk, Belarus
Last Season: Alberni Bulldogs/BCHL 36 GP, 13 G, 22 A, 35 Pts, 6 PIMS

24-Michael Lambert
Right/Right Wing
Born: April 30, 1993
From: Fort Vermillion, Alberta
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 28 GP, 5 G, 6 A, 11 Pts, 35 PIM 

28-Jesse Roden rookie
Born: March 21, 1993
From: Saskatoon Sask
Last Season: Saskatoon Blazers/SJHL, 42 GP, 3 G, 19 A, 22 Pts, 34 PIMS 

33-Jesse Williamson – Alternate Captain @ Home
Born: January 9,1992
From: Saskatoon, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 49 GP, 5 G, 18 A, 23 Pts, 37 PIMS

47-Dustin Skilliter - Alternate Captain on the Road
Left/Left Wing
Born: February 17, 1993
From: Hudson Bay, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 48 GP, 1 G, 9 A, 10 Pts, 69 PIMS

51-Eric Bollefer
Born: February 26, 1993
From: Lake Lenore, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 51 GP, 1 G, 8 A, 9 Pts, 73 PIMS

71-Taylor Balog
Born: April 21, 1994
From: Kipling, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 26 GP, 6 G, 9 A, 15 Pts, 2 PIMS

92-Ryan Ostertag
Left/Left Wing
Born: September 20, 1992
From: Regina, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 28 GP, 9 G, 10 A, 19 Pts, 14 PIMS

93-Tad Kozun
Left/Left Wing
Born: March 3, 1993
From: Nipawin, Sask
Last Season: Nipawin Hawks/SJHL, 37 GP, 16 G, 11 A, 27 Pts, 72 PIMS

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

SJHL Season Set To Kick Off:

Well, the season-opening week is finally here!

The SJHL is ready to begin it's 45th season this weekend, with one game scheduled on Thursday night(Melville hosts Estevan), while Saturday will see the other 10 teams in action with games in Estevan, Kindersley, La Ronge, Melfort, and Yorkton. 

The two teams I will be covering this season, the Nipawin Hawks and Melfort Mustangs, will both be in action on Saturday as well. 

Nipawin will play La Ronge in La Ronge on Friday on CJVR, with the pregame show beginning at 7:15. That night, Melfort will host the Flin Flon Bombers in their home opener. 

The following night will see reverse home teams, with Nipawin holding their home opener at the Cage vs the Ice Wolves beginning at 7:30, and Melfort visits the 'Flon beginning at 7:15 on CK750. 

Games will be heard on the radio and online on Your Town



In roster moves, the Mustangs have welcomed back goaltender Patrick Johnson from the Saskatoon Blades(WHL). In order to make room for Johnson, intern-backup Tyrell King has been dealt to the Kindersley Klippers as per his twitter (see for official trade). Here is what King tweeted earlier today:

Well boys I had fun for the 3 weeks I was here traded to the klipps talk to you boys later

BC's Brandon Formosa is another new addition to the team, he came in from the KIJHL. He has been a solid player at the BC Jr. B level for a few seasons after cracking the Powell River Kings roster in his 16 year old season.


As per the title of this piece, I suppose I am obligated to write 60 times more material for the Hawks.... Orrr I could just share what I've got for ya!

The Hawks have signed Jordan Liem as their backup 'tendy behind the star, Davis Jones. Liem is a '93 born New Westminster, BC product who played last season in the PIJHL for North Vancouver.

Here's his stats!

With the signing, the Hawks released '94 born Regan Santoro. No word on where Santoro will play this season but personally, the kid should be a starter somewhere in the SJHL. Best of luck Regan!

So the season starts Friday at 7:30 for the Nipawin Hawks in La Ronge. Tune in to 105 CJVR or online at for the official broadcast with myself.

See you at the rink! PS- hearing rumblings the SJHL will launch a new web page before the start of the season, so keep checking!

Thursday, September 13, 2012

Mustangs Drop OT Decision To La Ronge:

 The Melfort Mustangs hosted the La Ronge Ice Wolves tonight at the Northern Lights Palace. It was a high scoring affair that ended in a 7-6 overtime win for the Ice Wolves.

 3 Stars

3rd Star:
Matt Saunderson(1+1)
Melfort Mustangs

2nd Star:
Nathan Boyer(0+5)
La Ronge Ice Wolves

1st Star:
Jason Duret(5+0)
La Ronge Ice Wolves

The first period didn't see any sparks until Landon Belchamber scored just after the halfway mark. 5 minutes in to the period Brenden Enns picked up his 1st of 4 penalties, this time for tripping. Clint Pirio would spend 2 minutes in the box for interference which saw the Ice Wolves create a few scoring chances on netminder Tyrel King, who made 11 saves in his half of the contest. The first would wind down with both teams eventually going 0/2 on the PP's, and Melfort leading 1-0 despite being outshot 11-9.

Just 1:13 in to the period, Jamie Miller found a puck in front of La Ronge goalie Jared Lafond and beat the Meadow Lake product. Gage Rapitta and Matt Saunderson got assists. I chatted with Saunderson after the game, and you can hear that at the bottom of the recap. That lead would not last long though, as La Ronge cut it to 2-1 just 8 seconds later on Jason Duret's 1st of get this, 5 goals. The 17 year old had 13 goals in the SMHL in all of last season. Nathan Boyer would get his 1st of 5 assists, and Owen LeClare also assisted. Just over a minute after that, after Enns took his 3rd penalty of the evening, Landon Belchamber tipped in a point shot to restore the 2 goal lead on the power play. The initial shot came from the stick of Brandon Parrone, who was set up d-to-d with Jay Aasen. 4 minutes later the Ice Wolves would strike on the power play as Owen LeClare beat King. LeClare ended up finishing with 1+3 on the night. 46 seconds later, the Ice Wolves would tie the game on Duret's 2nd of the game, with Darian Clarke and Boyer assisting. Teams would exchange penalties, opportunities, and eventually even goaltenders before Mitch Hewson(from my hometown of Vernon, BC) beat Jesse Wilkins to go bar down and give his team the lead with under 2 to go in the period. La Ronge would hang on to the 4-3 lead heading in to period 3, but were down 21-17 in shots. 

Under 5 minutes in the Mustangs would tie the game on a beauty in front of the net from Avery van Blaricom. Zach Walker got the puck down low and Regan Wilton's work led to the puck on van Blaricom's stick and into the back of the net. The Ice Wolves would put the 'cat in the hat'(see this link) by scoring the go-ahead ahead on the powerplay, on an absolute snipe by Duret(his hat-trick goal). And then 1:15 later, Duret struck again on a goalmouth scramble. Assists on the first goal to Boyer and LaClare, while the second was unassisted.The Mustangs woke up with just over 5 minutes to go, and boy did they ever get going. Jarrett Zentner buried his 1st of the night on a beauty cross crease pass by new recruit Brandon Formosa. 3 minutes later, Formosa worked more magic sending a pass to Matt Saunderson, who fired the puck hard and low and beat Leduc, Alberta's Kyle Hynes(an ex-coworker of mine in junior high). Tying the game up was huge for the Mustangs, who once held a 3-1 lead. The last few minutes would be a scramble and both teams ended up forcing overtime at a 6-6 deadlock. Shots in the 3rd favored the 'Stangs again, 13-8 for a total of 34-25.

The Mustangs looked sharp maintaining possession in to overtime but a offensive zone turnover would send... guess who, away to the races. Nathan Boyer streaked up the left side and cut right before getting a shot on net, and there on the doorstep was Jason Duret for his 5th goal of the night and the overtime winner on the 1st shot of overtime. Final score, 7-6 La Ronge.

-Jason Duret: What do you say about the 17 year old? He nearly halved his goal total from last season(13) in one nights work. Looked smart with and without the puck, went to dirty spots, got in face of opponent and it paid off.

-Nathan Boyer: I thought Boyer was playing on-par with Duret, but a little less shooting-dangerous, he liked to dish... to Duret! He was awesome on the rush and always knew where to go to create the best potential for he and his linemates. Good player that will really help the young players from what I saw of him.

-Kyle Hynes: Looked solid in the net and made a solid 19 saves, played well under pressure. I can't put a comparison to his style but he is very good at getting around in his net, and even better at covering the bottom half. I spoke with him post-game, see below for interview!

-Brandon Sloan: I was very impressed with Sloan tonight. He displayed some of the better perseverance of the players on the ice tonight, and he made his patience would eventually pay off with an assist on the Saunderson goal. He didn't have many points in a high scoring game, but it was no indication of the game he played.

-Landon Belchamber: Sometimes a guy earns his way on to the Standouts list simply by scoring goals, but that's not what Landon did. He was always moving his feet and was always chomping at the bit to just get in the front of the net. He tipped in a beautiful goal and that gave him some confidence that you could tell carried in to the latter-half of the game. I see him scoring more than the 5 goals he scored last season.

-Jamie Miller: Very smart player that really almost needed to calm his energy down a little, or my play by play could have suffered. He was flying around the ice with the puck and seemed to always know where he was going and how to get there. Got stymied a few times up the wall but still beat a few guys wide with his speed. He will be a strong player this season.

-Zach Walker: Seemed to play the most ice time of anyone, along with Carter Berg; and they both make the list for it. They both played so well in both the offensive zone and defensive zone. They will be a tough duo to beat this season, especially if they continue to work the puck between them so fluently. Walker had an assist, but they both deserved 2. Strong game from them both.

My Chat with Bob Beatty, Head Coach of the La Ronge Ice Wolves:

My chat with La Ronge goalie Kyle Hynes:

And lastly, I had a chat with the man who scored the big goal to tie the game, Matt Saunderson.

-Brenden Enns had 4 penalties, 3 of which were stick infractions. 2 more and his night could have been over according to rules where I am from, what are the rules here can anyone fill me in?

-The Hawks travel to La Ronge on Friday night for their final games of the exhibition season. Regular season opens September 21st vs Flin Flon at the Palace! Visit the Mustangs office for tickets!

-The blog has now surpassed 2,400 views this month. My previous record high was in March when my BC Senior AAA Savage Cup coverage gained me 1,200 views. I thank everyone for reading and if their is anything I can do for you, don't be shy! Find my profile up there and shoot me an email!

The Hawks have a home-and-home with Humboldt beginning tonight at 7:30 in Humboldt. The two teams will return to Nipawin tomorrow night, again for a 7:30 start. Their season opens on the 21st in La Ronge, that game can be heard online at or on CJVR.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Mustangs vs La Ronge Broadcast:

Tonight's Melfort Mustangs vs La Ronge Ice Wolves game will be broadcast!!!!

Please go to
Pre game show starts at 7:20 puck drop 7:30.


Note: please excuse the URL containing nipawin hawks. I have used the ustream account to stream Hawks games. 

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Hawks-Ice Wolves/Mustangs-Broncos:

The Penticton Vees won the RBC Cup in Humboldt this past season.

Well there's plenty of Junior A action to be had in the Northeast today, as the Melfort Mustangs host the Humboldt Broncos and the Nipawin Hawks host the La Ronge Ice Wolves.

Neither game will be broadcast, but you can come to the rink to check out the action as both games start at 7:30 PM.

The two teams will reverse opponents tomorrow as Melfort hosts La Ronge, while Nipawin visits Humboldt Thursday. Friday night will see Melfort in La Ronge and Humboldt in Nipawin.


The SJHL opens on 105 CJVR and on September 21st beginning with a 7:15 pre game show in La Ronge as the Hawks begin their RBC Quest with a home-and-home. The two teams rematch the following night(game will be broadcast on MBC).

Melfort Mustangs Home Opener will be held on Friday night against Flin Flon at 7:30. The first radio broadcast will be on Saturday the 22nd in Flin Flon on 105 CJVR with myself. Branden Crowe will be on CK750 that night also with Humboldt and the Notre Dame Hounds.

Sunday, September 9, 2012

Hawks Defeat OCN 5-1 On Home Ice:

 The Nipawin Hawks met with the OCN Blizzard last night at the Centennial Arena, with the Hawks scoring 2 goals in each of the last two periods en route to a 5-1 victory.

Davis Jones made 17 stops while he split duties with Jordan Liem, who had to make just 5 saves in the second half of the game. Justin McDonald went the distance for OCN, making 22 saves in the losing cause.

 Next Game is Tuesday vs La Ronge at the Cage, puck drop is 7:30. Melfort will host Humboldt Tuesday which can be heard via uStream beginning at 7:15.

1st Period:
The game would get underway with OCN rocking their regular season darks and Nipawin wearing their Exhibition yellow jerseys. Davis Jones would start in net for the Hawks and the Blizzard started Justin McDonald, who played last season with the Kindersley Klippers. The Hawks would open the scoring just over 5 minutes in to the opening period, with Garret Lockridge setting up Blair Macuch on the doorstep. The Blizzard would strike back 10 minutes later as Wilson Dumais was able to pick his spot on Davis Jones, with the assists going to Kolton Baptiste and Kirk Chief. Jones looked very sharp making 4 or 5 great saves, with the final shots being 10-9 in favor of the Hawks.

2nd Period:
The 2nd would start much like the first, with the Hawks striking 5 minutes in on an unassisted goal with Dustin Skilliter. Just under 2 minutes after that, Tad Kozun would find the back of the net with linemates Taylor Balog and Wheaton King picking up the assists. Eric Bollefer took the lone penalty in the period with the Hawks killing it off succesfully at the 10 minute mark. Davis Jones finished with 17 saves as he was replaced by Jordan Liem at the hafway mark. Final shots in the 2nd were 10-9 for the Hawks, totaling 20-18 after 2.

3rd Period:
OCN started to lose their tempers as the 3rd period worked it's way onward, and it all started when Kolton Baptiste got called for slashing under a minute in. The Hawks would be unable to the convert but the path to the penalty box would continue with 4 slashing penalties being called in the 3rd(1 to the Hawks). It would be a power play tip in by Michael Lambert that added to the lead at the halfway mark, off of a hard point shot from Josh Wik. Mitch Doell picked up the other assist. Another power play goal would added by Jesse Williamson with just over 5 minutes to go, while Mackenzie Klatt had the lone assist. OCN kept their cool at the end but managed just 4 3rd period shots, falling 5-1 on the scoreboard. Shots in the 3rd were 7-4 for the Hawks, as Jordan Liem finished the night with just 5 saves in the victory. Justin McDonald wrapped up a 22 save night.

Tonight was the best game of the preseason to date and the Hawks were getting wacked and hacked all night long but continued on to a big win. In order to play this well on Tuesday, they need to continue to provide excellent support along the boards, as their battle support plan was working out just great. They also need to pick up the shot count, as they had just 27 shots in a game they could have had 40. OCN needs to continue to work the puck along the boards but they were too often skating directly in to the most widely covered areas. Either that or the Hawks coverage was just that good.

Thomas Ward-Cardinal was by far the best player on the ice last night. He walked around everyone but just couldn't get a shot in the back of the net. He has such a hard shot and knows how to get himself into position to get it off. Has the potential to go pro if he keeps working hard, much like Bobby Orr.

Wilson Dumais was also a strong force for the Blizzard, although in the end he proved he couldn't 'keep his cool'. He was flying side to side end to end all night long with and without the puck. When he didn't have the puck, you could tell he wanted it, and he wasn't afraid to play physical in able to get it. Left game with shoulder injury late in 3rd after shift before went in to wall awkwardly while trying to cheap shot Justin McCaughey.

Grant Valiquette was also a strong player in the loss, and his best feature was his ability to pick up the puck and skate it around the end boards without being touched. He found the open man in the slot nearly every time and seemed to have excellent vision in the defensive end.

Davis Jones was very sharp seeing his first rubber in a while. Made some early big saves to preserve the lead, and played solid all night long. Guided several hard bombs right in to his chest and didn't let rebounds out. Almost got caught a couple times but his stick handling is just too good. 

Dustin Skilliter played his best game to date I thought, led by his 2nd period goal. Every time he touched the puck tonight he was dangerous with it, and displayed excellent neutral zone speed with the puck. He got the puck to the boards well and supported his line mates in deep for a full 60 minutes. His line was great tonight, with Justin McCaughey and Patrick O'Neill.

Speaking of Justin McCaughey, he also played his best game of the year to date. He was being pestered by several Blizzard players including Wilson Dumais, but he seemed to not be afraid of a thing. He went after Dumais a couple times but got pulled away. Had the puck on a string too, and played very smart with it. As a left winger, played a bit of right wing as well showing his versatility. I spoke with him and here's that interview...

Friday, September 7, 2012

Hawks Drop 7-5 Decision In La Ronge:

The Nipawin Hawks dropped to 1-2 in preseason play with a 7-5 loss tonight in La Ronge against the La Ronge Ice Wolves.

Period One:
Mitch Doell got the Hawks on the board just 50 seconds in to the opening period on the power play after Morgan Eaton took an interference penalty just 39 seconds in. Both teams would exchange penalties but no goals would come until Wheaton King buried a beauty from Taylor Balog and Tad Kozun as the period approached the midway mark. Brady Zerr would score another a minute later to build the Hawks lead to 3-0. Before the end of the period, Owen LaClare of Edam, SK would get La Ronge on the board to make it 3-1. Shots on goal after the first favored the Hawks 19-10. Regan Santoro played strong in the crease for Nipawin, while Kyle Hynes responded for the Ice Wolves.

Period Two:
The second period would prove to be a tough one for the Hawks as they could not capitalize on a early power play and later they gave up the lead thanks to Nathan Boyer, Jason Berube and Owen Solecki. The Hawks took 4 penalties in the middle frame, making it tough for Doug Johnson's’ club to get any momentum going their way. Solecki scored the goal-ahead goal for the Ice Wolves, and it was an absolute rocket from the left point that blew Travis Beekhuizens water bottle off the net. La Ronge would out shoot the Hawks 14-13 in the 2nd, and take a 4-3 lead in to the 3rd.

Period Three:
Jared Iron and Spencer Brennen would both get goals for the home team in the opening 3 minutes, giving La Ronge a hefty lead, 6-3. A double minor penalty led to the offensive outburst which ultimately cost the Hawks the game. They would show signs of life near the midway point though as Mitch Doell pulled them within 2, with assists going to Zerr and Jesse Roden. Less then 2 minutes later, Michael Lambert would make it a one goal game with a hard wrister that beat La Fond under the glove. With 8 minutes left, the tables looked to be turning back in the Hawks favor, but a shorthanded breakaway by Nathan Boyer would be the back breaker. Boyer was hauled down on the breakaway and was immediately awarded a penalty shot, which he made no mistake on. Streaking straight in, Boyer wired a wrist shot which appeared to hit the cross bar(I correct myself: it DID hit the crossbar) but the referee signaled that it had hit the back bar for a 7-5 lead. Doug Johnson was among many disgruntled Hawks and was given the toss by the officials. That would be all she wrote for both teams as the final 7 minutes would feature limited action, and the final buzzer would sound in a 7-5 win for the La Ronge Ice Wolves.

A few players I was impressed with for the Hawks would hands down be Tad Kozun. He was flying all over the ice and seemed to have a play set up in his mind before he crossed the blue line. Tad will play a large role for the Hawks this season after recording 27 points in 37 games last season. I was also very pleased with the play of Jesse Williamson, the 20 year old made smart plays with the puck and body, and was effective from start to finish. Wheaton King also played a strong game for the visitors as he was using his size and speed along the boards and it was what I thought Kings’ best performance of pre-season/training camp. Taylor Balog and Jeff Datoff I also thought were very noticeable tonight, although both made a couple mistakes they normally wouldn’t make. The best part about exhibition is that the players will only get better and the chemistry will only grow from here on out.

For the Ice Wolves, BC’s Owen Solecki was one of few standouts. Every time he got the puck, he put fear in to the Hawks players eyes. He is so strong down low and when he gets the puck at the point he knows exactly what moves to make. I also enjoyed watching the penalty shot ‘scorer’ Brett Boyer. He was dominant with the puck all night and with some more lower-body strength could be one of the most talented players La Ronge will ice this season. Brett Norman was also very effective, getting in to the dirty areas and making the most of his ice time. Jason Duret was the other player I really liked on La Ronge, the PA Mintos’ should be proud of alumni like this kid. Not the biggest, but was fearless and very dangerous with the puck down deep.

Final Thoughts
Overall, it was just another exhibition game where unfamiliar special teams can change the game very easily. The Ice Wolves converted for 4 powerplay goals, something that Hawks coach Tyson Hobbins says will be addressed tomorrow. Other then that, both teams played a sound hockey game, with hard fought battles along the boards from start to finish. A decent crowd of nearly ½ of the Mel Heglund Uniplex attended, and I can’t wait to hear the barn full for opening night on September 21st.

The Hawks will meet the OCN Blizzard tomorrow night at the Centennial Arena at 7:30 with the broadcast again being found on uStream beginning at 7:15. The 2 teams met Wednesday in Mantioba and the Hawks picked up their lone pre-season win, 4-1.

Hawks/OCN Blizzard Broadcast:

For all you interested, I will be broadcasting tonight's SJHL exhibition game (September 8th) between the Nipawin Hawks and OCN Blizzard. 

The game is in La Ronge and the pre-game show will begin at 7:50. 

The game will NOT be broadcast on CK750 nor CJVR.

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Hawks Win In Manitoba:

This is from Branden's blog.

The Nipawin Hawks picked up their first win of the pre-season last night in OCN.

Jesse Bernard, Grant Jensen, Brady Zerr and Michael Lambert all scored as the Hawks put 4 past goaltenders Ryan Brown and Kamil Prezpiorka.

The Hawks dominated from the get go as they fired 44 shots on goal compared to OCN’s 28.

Reagan Santoro and Jordan Liem split the netminding duties for the Hawks.

Nipawin will head to La Ronge tomorrow before hosting OCN on Saturday.

The game tomorrow can be heard live at

Hawks Roster vs OCN

30 – Jordan Liem (93)
1- Regan Santoro (94)

2- Grant Jensen (92)
3- Eric Bollefer
4- Josh Wik (95)
5- Ian Bablitz (94)
6- Mackenzie Klatt (94)
7- Keenan Martens (93)
8- Garrett Lockeridge (94)
9- Brett Rossi (94)
10- Michael Lambert (93)
11- Carter Coben (94)
12- Taylor Balog (94)
13- Brendan Hopkins (94)
14- Brady Zerr (92)
16- Jesse Bernard (93)
17- Patrick O’Neill (94)
18- Dustin Skilliter (93)
19- Mitch Doell (93)
20- Ryan Ostertag (92)

Wednesday, September 5, 2012

Mustangs Season Preview:

Branden also put together a team preview for the Melfort Mustangs who look hot and ready to have a much-improved season! They open exhibition Friday at home against Battlefords. 
Last Season: 13-39-2-4  32 points (6th in the Bauer Conference)
Graduates: 2 (Steven Jean, Brendan Tash)
Overagers: 8 (Wourms, Pirio, Gourley, Parrone, Horn, Wilkins, Tham, Berg)
Returning Players: 19 (11 Forwards, 6 Defense, 2 Goalies)
New Recruits: 7 (4 Forwards, 2 Defense, 1 Goalie)
The Melfort Mustangs enter the second year under GM and Head Coach Gavin Holcomb in a much better position than one year ago.
With 19 players eligible to return including both goaltenders the Mustangs are in a position to make some noise in the Bauer Conference. With a 13 win season behind them the club is anxious to redeem themselves.
Training camp officially opened this past Friday but many of the players were in town the previous Monday to begin off-ice training with the coaching staff. Players were put through the paces on the track, turf and in the weight room.
With returning forwards Brandon Sloan, Jarrett Zentner and Godric Tham expected to do the majority of the scoring, the biggest question is where will the rest of the goals come from?
Clint Pirio had a fantastic camp offensively. The 6’2 225 pounder put up points in bunches and showed flashes of offensive brilliance. The key for him will be to keep the pace for the remainder of the year.
Jake Daughtry and Pearce Gourly looked solid at camp as well. With Gourley coming off a nagging knee injury the first few weeks could be key. If he stays healthy, his leadership and presence in the room will be felt. As for Daughtry, his size and speed are certainly assets… what his role will be with this club has yet to be determined.
When it comes to energy, the Mustangs have a pile of it. The line of Anthony Pickering, Landon Belchamber and Avery Van Blaricom was in my opinion one of the hardest working lines in the league last season. They finished checks, back checked hard and managed to find the back of the net as well.
If you consider the likes of Sheldon Argent, Clint Pirio, Gage Rapitta and Regan Wilton the club is full of guys that can throw their weight around as well.
On the back end, the team returns their entire corps. Carter Berg looks to cap off a junior career on a high note. His leadership and experience will be heavily relied on to mold recruits Jay Aasen and Mark Foster into everyday SJ rearguards.
Team Rookie of the Year Matt Saunderson and a slimmer, faster Zach Walker provide the mobility while Cody Brown, Brendan Parrone provide the size.
Goaltending will not be an issue this year as 20 year old Jesse Wilkins is back for his final year of junior hockey. The Calgary native was the team MVP last season and put up a .900 save percentage while facing the most shots out of any goalie in the league.
Patrick Johnson remains in camp with the Saskatoon Blades but could return in the coming days. “Johnny” picked up 4 of the Mustangs 13 wins and posted a .912 save percentage of his own in 15 appearances.
The club has also added Prince Albert Minto netminder Tyrel King to the fold. Both him and Johnson are expected to battle for the backup spot.
The 2012/2013 year will be an interesting one for the Mustangs as the Bauer Conference is expected to be tighter than it has ever been. Flin Flon, Nipawin, North Battleford and Humboldt are all slated to have big years while fans know to never count La Ronge out of the equation.
If the Mustangs can find a way to limit the rubber Jesse Wilkins faces and play with consistent grit and energy, this could very well be a playoff bound team.

Hawks Season Preview:

The Nipawin Hawks are in the Pas, Manitoba tonight to face the OCN Blizzard in their second exhibition game. The game will not be broadcast but all 3 of this weekends games will be, stay tuned for the link!
Here is the Nipawin Hawks season preview as done by my friend Branden Crowe!

Last Season: 34-20-4-0 (Third in the Bauer Conference)
Graduates: 5 (Szerlip, Cole, S.Bollefer, Reichart, Peterson)
Overagers: 9 (Jones, Zerr, Holland, Jensen, Datoff, King, Waskewitch, Ostertag, Williamson)
Returning Players: 18 (11 forwards, 6 defense, 1 goalie)
New Recruits: 7 (4 forwards, 3 defense)
2011 was a year to remember for the Nipawin Hawks that included a 10-1 start to the season, a top ten CJHL Ranking, their first playoff birth in three years and an unbelievable seven game battle with the Battlefords North Stars in the Bauer Conference semi-final.
What could top that you ask? How about an SJHL Championship?
Some fans may chuckle at that idea but the Hawks are in a legitimate position to make some noise in the Bauer Conference and take a run at the Canalta Cup.
With 17 players eligible to return including the SJHL’s top netminder from last season, the 34 win team from one year ago virtually remains in tact.
Up front the Hawks return eleven forwards including Wheaton King, Jesse Bernard and Taylor Balog. Those three are expected to carry most of the offensive workload but when you sprinkle in a healthy Tad Kozun, a heavier Mitch Doell and the always dangerous Justin Waskewich the Hawks have several bodies that know how to score.
Defensively, Captain Jeff Datoff will anchor a veteran core that includes Grant Jensen, Keenan Martens and Eric Bollefer. Big man on campus Jesse Williamson appears to have fully recovered from a shoulder injury and will once again be relied on to log big minutes on the back end.
In net it will once again be the Davis Jones show. The reigning SJHL Goaltender of the Year is back for more and based on his playoff performance against the Stars, he is desperate for an SJ title. If Jones can mirror his performance from last season he will certainly be in the running to defend his goalie of the year honors.
His backup is quite possibly the biggest question in Nipawin. With Taran Kozun cracking the Kamloops Blazers roster and goalie prospect Austin Rediron getting dealt to Weyburn for Taylor Balog the cupboard is looking pretty bare.
Several goalies came to camp trying to earn their way onto the team and it appears the former Beardy’s Blackhawk Regan Santoro may have the slight edge at this point but at this point, your guess is as good as mine.
The Hawks will play 8 pre-season games before kicking off their season on Friday, September 21st in La Ronge. Every single Hawks road game can be heard on CK750 this season.

Monday, September 3, 2012

Hawks Fall In Exhibition Opener:

Nipawin, Sask- The Nipawin Hawks opened the exhibition season in front of a large crowd Monday night, but came up short 6-1 against the Flin Flon Bombers.

Sporting maroon practise jerseys, the Bombers got goals from Lucas Anseth(Prince Albert), Brenden Zupanich(Surrey, BC), Davidson(help with information? please comment below!),  Brett Boehm(Martensville)and Dalen Mimeault(Edmonton).

The hometown Hawks got a beauty from Garret Lockridge(Regina) off a nifty cross ice pass from Brandon Arnold, who I had the chance to speak to post game.

The Hawks will travel to The Pas, Manitoba on Wednesday to face the MJHL's OCN Blizzard, before heading to La Ronge on Friday for a date with the Ice Wolves. The Hawks next home game is Saturday against the OCN Blizzard.

Regular season opens on September 21st in La Ronge, with the broadcast on CJVR with myself. September 22nd will be the home opener against the  Ice Wolves once again.

I also chatted with d-man Jesse Roden about how he felt playing with Zack Harms.

Assistant Coach Tyson Hobbins also shared his insight on the game. 

Hawks-Bombers Exhibition Preview:

Flin Flon Bombers
Last season: 28-21-3-6 65 pts 5th in Bauer Conference
205 GF, 214 GA

Nipawin Hawks
Last Season: 34-30-4-0 72 pts 3rd in Bauer Conference
204 GF, 167 GA

Tonight is the first of 9 exhibition games for the Nipawin Hawks, and the first of 2 versus the Bombers in the pre-season. 

The Hawks last hit the ice on March 13th when they lost 2-1 in OT to the Battlefords North Stars in the Playoffs. 

The Bombers and Hawks last met on February 21st in Flin Flon, with the Bombers winning that game 5-2. Taylor Balog had both goals for the Hawks.

Training Camp has come to a close and this game will be the Rookie game for Doug Johnson and his team. Yesterday was the Black-Gold intrasquad game that ended in a 3-0 win for Team Gold. Goaltenders Regan Santoro and Jordan Liem picked up the split shut out. 

Goaltenders in tonights game for Nipawin are Travis Beekhuizen and Santoro. Each will play half the contest.

Puck drop is at 7:30 at the Cage and the broadcast can be caught at this link: