For the first time since 2015, the Richardson Pioneer Weyburn Red Wings will be taking on the Humboldt Broncos in the post-season. That year, the Red Wings came out on top, winning the best-of-five wild card series in four games against the higher-seeded team. This year, they will look to emulate the success from nine seasons ago when they open up play at the Elgar Petersen Arena in Humboldt tonight.  

The series will also be a matchup between two legendary franchises. The Red Wings and Broncos are the two winningest teams in SJHL history, with a combined 18 league titles and four national championships. They are also the only two teams in league history to have over 1600 wins and over 13,000 goals for.  

The season series between these two teams was in favour of the Broncos, who won three of the four games. However, with the exception of the game on October 11th (a 10-1 win for Humboldt) each of the games was a one-goal game. (Yes, technically the final score in the game on November 21st was 8-6, but there was a last-minute empty-net goal by the Broncos).  

As it is in so many playoff series, special teams will be key for both sides. While the Red Wings do enter the postseason as the most penalized team in the league with 1610 penalty minutes, the number of times they were actually shorthanded on the ice was barely ahead of the Broncos. Weyburn is also a more disciplined team on the road, with fewer penalties called against the Red Wings during away games than at Crescent Point Place.  

In terms of special teams, Weyburn also made teams pay when they were on the power play. The Red Wings had the second-best power play in the league, converting 23.7 percent of their opportunities. This means the Broncos will need to play especially disciplined hockey at home, as they have only successfully killed off 76.2 percent of the penalties they take at home, which is 11th in the league.  

The talent on the ice for both teams is plentiful. The Red Wings are coming into the series with five players with 40 or more points and five skaters with 15 or more goals. The Broncos have the advantage there, with six skaters with 40 or more points, and five with 15 or more goals.  

The Red Wings will look to some of their top offensive producers – Jerome Maharaj, Max Monette, Cade Meiklejohn and Jaxson Ruthven – but also have the depth to see scoring from any of the lines, with players such as Carter Briltz, Blake Betson and Braigh LeGrandeur standing out as of late. The blueliners for the Red Wings are also more than capable of putting up offensive numbers, with Nicholas Kovacs and Tyler Teasdale leading the way.  

Against the Broncos this season, no one player has lit the lamp for the Red Wings, with 11 different players scoring in the four games. The only player with more than one goal is Meiklejohn. On the other side, most of the goals for the Broncos against the Red Wings have come from Spencer Bell, who has eight in the four games.  

When it comes to goaltending, it will be a match-up of two of the top 10 goaltenders in the SJHL. Benjamin Motew comes into the series having played in 40 games for the Broncos, putting up a 2.74 goals-against average and a 0.915 save percentage. He allowed 109 goals on the season and recorded one shutout.  

At the other end, Dazza Mitchell made a strong case for him to be in the conversation for goaltender of the year with three shutouts and a 0.916 save percentage while finishing with 107 goals against and a 3.18 goals-against average. The third-year Red Wing was also the team’s MVP for the regular season, winning 18 games between the pipes.  

You will be able to listen to all of the Red Wings playoff games on Great Plains Ford Red Wings Radio, Country 106.7. Nick Nielsen will be on the call for all of the games, with the games on Friday and Saturday nights starting with the pregame show at 7:15 p.m. 

Tickets are now available for games 3 & 4 at Crescent Point Place on Tuesday and Wednesday nights.