The confusion surrounding the standings in the SJHL was resolved Tuesday night, as the final four games of the regular season were played. Heading into the night, three different teams had the possibility of finishing first overall, and who would finish in positions 1, 2, 4, 5 and 10 hadn’t been determined.
By the time the dust settled, the Nipawin Hawks had secured first overall in the SJHL for the second year in a row, after they beat the Melville Millionaires 2-1 on home ice. With the win, the Hawks finished the year with 81 points, one point up on the Battlefords North Stars for first overall, and three points up on the Melfort Mustangs for first in the Sherwood Division.
The North Stars had entered the night one point up on the Klippers for first in the Global Ag Risk Solutions Division. A 4-3 win in overtime gave the Stars the division title. It is the fourth straight division title for the North Stars.
The fourth place position was held by Melfort heading into the game, and by the final buzzer, was where they remained. The Mustangs fell 3-1 to the Flin Flon Bombers at the Whitney Forum. Melfort will now take on the fifth place Kindersley Klippers in the quarterfinals.
The Klippers had an outside chance of finishing first overall, but a lot needed to happen for them to take the spot. They would have needed Melville and Flin Flon to win, as well as beating the North Stars in regulation. With only one of those three things happening, the Klippers stayed in fifth place.
The Weyburn Red Wings took the 10th and final playoff spot, despite their loss, thanks to the Nipawin Hawks. The Wings will now open the postseason Friday when they host the Flin Flon Bombers for game one of the best-of-three wild card series.
The other wildcard series will see the Yorkton Terriers hosting the Notre Dame Hounds for game one Friday.
The only other playoff match-up which is written in stone is the quarterfinal series between Estevan, who finished in third place as the winners of the Viterra Division, and Humboldt, who finished second.