The SJHL regular season is entering the final stretch, and while five playoff spots have already been clinched, there is still a lot up in the air for four teams who are battling for the final three playoff spots.  

The Estevan Bruins, Weyburn Red Wings, Nipawin Hawks and Notre Dame Hounds are all in the hunt, however, there is a lot that could happen over the course of the next couple of weeks to shake things up. The situation currently sees Estevan in 6th place, Weyburn in 7th, Nipawin in 8th and Notre Dame in 9th. Here are the scenarios for the teams, as well as projections based on the recent performances of the four teams.  

Estevan Bruins 

The Bruins are entering the final stretch with the fewest games remaining, with just five on the schedule. They currently have 55 points on the season, and the most they can end up with will be 65 if they win out the rest of the season. In terms of scheduling. They do have what could be seen as the lightest schedule of all the teams, with four of their five games in teams that are currently outside a playoff spot, including two games against the Notre Dame Hounds. The Bruins also have a magic number to clinch a playoff spot of 6. 

In terms of recent performance, the Bruins have picked up seven points in their last 10 games – a points percentage of .350. If the team performs at a consistent level from their last ten games, they will likely finish the regular season with 59 points.  

Bruins Schedule 

  • Feb. 25 – vs Yorkton Terriers 
  • Mar. 2 – at Notre Dame 
  • Mar. 4 – vs Notre Dame 
  • Mar. 8 – vs Melville 
  • Mar. 11 – at Weyburn 

Weyburn Red Wings 

The Red Wings have eight games remaining on the season, and six of those are on the road. Coming into the final stretch of the regular season they have 49 points and could end up with 65 if they win out. In terms of toughness of schedule, the Red Wings do have their hands full over the next three weeks, with two games in Flin Flon this weekend, then a game in Humboldt as well. The magic number for the Wings to clinch a playoff spot is currently at 12 points heading into the weekend.  

The recent performance from the Wings has been one of the best in the SJHL. In fact, if the regular season started on January 1st, the Wings would be in third place overall. With 14 points in their last 10 games and a points percentage of .700, Weyburn is on pace to finish the season with 60 points, which would vault them over Estevan for 6th place overall.  

Red Wings Schedule 

  • Feb. 24 – at Flin Flon 
  • Feb. 25 – at Flin Flon 
  • Feb. 28 – at Notre Dame 
  • Mar. 4 – at Kindersley 
  • Mar. 5 – at Kindersley 
  • Mar. 8 – at Humboldt 
  • Mar. 9 – vs Notre Dame 
  • Mar. 11 – vs Estevan 

Nipawin Hawks 

The Nipawin Hawks are currently tied with the Red Wings with 49 points, however, Weyburn does hold the edge in terms of the tie-breaker. With eight games remaining, Nipawin could finish with as many as 65 points, the same as Weyburn, if they win out. Weyburn, though, if both teams win out would still have the edge due to the tiebreaker. Nipawin’s schedule also has them playing six of their eight games against teams ahead of them in the standings. They also have a magic number of 12 to clinch a playoff spot. 

The Hawks have picked up points in six of their last ten games, and have a points percentage of .450 over that stretch. Based on the projections of their recent games over the remaining part of the schedule, they could conceivably finish the regular season with 56 points. This, however, does not factor the strength of the schedule into the projections.  

Hawks Schedule 

  • Feb. 24 – vs Humboldt 
  • Feb. 25 – at Humboldt 
  • Feb. 28 – vs Kindersley 
  • Mar. 1 – at Melville 
  • Mar. 3 – at Flin Flon 
  • Mar. 5 – at Melfort 
  • Mar. 7 – at Battlefords 
  • Mar. 10 – vs Melfort 

Notre Dame Hounds 

The Hounds have the most games to play before the end of the season, with 10. They also have a lot of ground to make up, as they currently trail Nipawin and Weyburn by nine points, but they do have two games in hand. In order for the Hounds to make the postseason, they will need a little help if they can’t win out the rest of the regular season. The last 10 games also have the Hounds playing teams like the Battlefords, Estevan, Humbolt and Weyburn - a challenging set of games for any team heading into the stretch.  

In terms of the last 10 games for the Hounds, they have picked up 9 of a possible 20 points – a points percentage of .450. The most they can finish with is 60 points, but based on recent performance, not factoring in the strength of the schedule, they could end up with 49 points, which would be on the outside looking in.  

Hounds Schedule 

  • Feb. 24 – at Kindersley 
  • Feb. 25 – at Battlefords 
  • Feb. 28 – vs Weyburn 
  • Mar. 2 – vs Estevan 
  • Mar. 4 – at Estevan 
  • Mar. 7 – at Yorkton 
  • Mar. 9 – at Weyburn 
  • Mar. 11 – at Melville 
  • Mar. 12 – vs Melville 
  • Mar. 14 – vs Humboldt 

The projections right now for the final standings in the SJHL currently have the following teams making the playoffs: 

  1. Battlefords North Stars 
  2. Humboldt Broncos 
  3. Flin Flon Bombers 
  4. Melfort Mustangs 
  5. La Ronge Ice Wolves 
  6. Weyburn Red Wings 
  7. Estevan Bruins 
  8. Nipawin Hawks 

If that is how the season ends, the Hawks and North Stars will meet in the first round, with Estevan taking on Humboldt. The Flin Flon Bombers and Weyburn Red Wings would play in the quarterfinals, with the last series being an all-Sherwood Division matchup of La Ronge against Melfort.  

Of course, these are all projections at this point. There is a lot that can change in the SJHL with a total of 46 games to be played by the 12 teams. Once the dust settles in the regular season, though, we will take a look at how close these projections line up with how things ended. The only thing that is certain is that fans of junior hockey are going to be in for a wild ride as the season draws to a close.