MJHL Power Rankings | 2021-22 Week 1

1st – Winnipeg Blues
This Week: 2-0
Impressive Player: Forward Eric Fawkes – 4 goals, 3 assists for 7 points
Notes: The Blues beat up on the Winnipeg Freeze by a combined score of 14-3 over the first two games. Fawkes and teammate Josiah Vanderhooft each put up 7 points while Brayden Foreman picked up 5. The Blues were undefeated in regulation last season before the stop and they looked to have picked up right where they left off. The tests will get stiffer but there’s a real chance for the Blues to put some points in the bank early and build momentum. Hard not to imagine the Blues being at or near the top of the East Division throughout the year.
Up Next: Sept. 24 vs Freeze, Sept. 25 @ Freeze

2nd – Winkler Flyers
This Week: 2-0
Impressive Player: Forward Justin Svenson – 3 goals, 4 assists for 7 points
Notes: While their first game was a bit of a nail-biter, the Flyers thumped the Portage Terriers on Sunday night and showed off their impressive depth and scoring putting up 14 goals over the course of two games. Interesting that through the first two games, the Flyers lead the league in penalty minutes with 87. Granted, the Terriers whom they played are second with 79 but it’ll be interesting to see how head coach Justin Falk manages sticking up for yourself/teammates vs not taking yourself out of a game with penalties. The tough players are also very talented, and they’ll need to keep that talent on the ice and not in the box. Winkler looks to be the real deal.
Up Next: Sept. 24 vs Portage, Sept. 25 @ Portage

3rd – Steinbach Pistons
This Week: 2-0
Impressive Player: Forward Quinton Pepper – 3 goals, 2 assists for 5 points
Notes: Like the two teams before, Steinbach put up 14 goals in their first two games but something they can really be happy about is that almost every player on their roster has a point. It’s something that brings a team together early where every guy feels like he’s having an impact on team success. Quinton Pepper looks to be a force this year and defender Eduard Wruck is tied for the MJHL scoring lead for defenders with four points. Time will tell if this Pistons team is built more for the bigger ice surfaces on the road or the smaller one in Steinbach. Either way, the deep appears deep, big, and skilled.
Up Next: Sept. 24 vs Selkirk, Sept. 25 @ Selkirk

4th – Waywaysecappo Wolverines
This Week: 2-0
Impressive Player: Goalie Liam Tereposky – 2-0, .947 sv%, 1.50 GAA
Notes: The Wolverines have put the MJHL on notice that they are legit. If people thought they might be an underdog in their opening series vs Virden, they got an eye-opening awakening. The impressive third period comeback in the first game and then to follow it up with another strong third period in the second game shows that this team fights to the final buzzer. Balanced scoring will be a theme as 13 players hit the scoresheet over the course of the first two games. It’s been a couple of years since they were in the cellar of the league but they still seem to catch some people off guard. They won’t be catching Virden or other teams sleeping anymore. You have to be at the top of your game or prepared to be clawed.
Up Next: Sept. 24 vs Virden, Sept 25 @ Virden

5 – OCN Blizzard
This Week: 2-0
Impressive Player: Forward Parker Johnson – 1 goal, 2 assists for 3 points
Notes: And now, the most surprising team perhaps to be undefeated through two games, the OCN Blizzard. Young teams need to find a way to win and that’s what the Blizzard did vs the Stamps. Winning leads to belief and if you get a young, hungry team that believes in themselves, it makes for victories. A more balanced and disciplined team should get fans excited for what this team can build throughout the year. There will be down times but, at least early on this year, OCN has shown they have an ability to find ways to win. They don’t ask how you got your points at the end of the night, they just look to see where you are in the standings and right now, the Blizzard are right at the top.
Up Next: Sept. 21 vs Swan Valley, Sept. 24 @ Swan Valley

6 – Neepawa Titans
This Week: 1-1
Impressive Player: Goalie Gavin Renwick – 1-0, .950 sv%, 1.00 GAA
Notes: New name, new logo, new attitude for Neepawa. Really impressive showing and could have easily been 2-0 to start the year if not for running into a hot goalie on Saturday night. Ken Pearson is working on building a culture that will last for years and this team early on has bought in and is showing there won’t be two free points taken from them. A young goalie tandem paired with a mostly younger defensive core may cause for some growing pains as the year goes on, but for now there’s a lot of positive momentum going forward into a weekend rematch with the Kings where the Titans look to prove the first two games were no fluke.
Up Next: Sept. 24 @ Dauphin, Sept. 25 vs Dauphin

7 – Dauphin Kings
This Week: 1-1
Impressive Player: Goalie Carson Cherepak – 1-0, 1.000 sv%, 0.00 GAA, 1 shutout
Notes: I hope the Kings gave Cherepak Sunday AND Monday off after his absolutely incredible 45 save shutout performance on Saturday night. Neepawa threw the kitchen sink, the mircowave, the fridge, and even the oven towards the net but couldn’t cash in. Going 0-2 to start the year is not a disaster but getting that win, especially in front of a packed home crowd, sure had those around the Kings breathing a little easier. It takes time for lines to gel in a season so Dauphin shouldn’t be too concerned with the fact they have only one player who’s scored both their goals this season. There’s something about the #59 that just looks right in the goal-scoring column. Dauphin will look to make a bit of a statement come this weekend rematch.
Up Next: Sept. 24 vs Neepawa, Sept. 25 @ Neepawa

8th – Swan Valley Stampeders
This Week: 0-2
Impressive Player: Forward Jackson Betcher – 2 goals
Notes: Two losses that could have just as easily been wins. A bounce here, bounce there and the Stamps are in the top four or five of these power rankings. But, instead, the Stamps will have some questions to answer when it comes to goal scoring. They have some veteran power that will learn the MJHL game and put up their points. Could see a very different team when facing the Blizzard next. Look for the Stamps depth to keep chipping in throughout the year as well.
Up Next: Sept. 21 @ OCN, Sept. 24 vs OCN

9th – Portage Terriers
This Week: 0-2
Impressive Player: Forward Jaden Pashe – 2 goals, 1 assist for 3 points
Notes: Portage put up quite the fight but just couldn’t keep up with the Flyers and ended up dropping the opening game in a contest I’m sure they felt they deserved better in. Terriers may have eyes for next year when they host the Centennial Cup, but don’t look past the young guns they have now who will look to make a mark on the league. The lessons they learn this year will go a long way to helping this team get a bit of a chip on their shoulder going forward.
Up Next: Sept. 24 @ Winkler, Sept. 25 vs Winkler

10th – Virden Oil Capitals
This Week: 0-2
Impressive Player: Braden Fischer – 2 goals, 1 assist for 3 points
Notes: A pair of tough third periods did the Oil Caps in to open the season. Another young team that will learn how to win as the season goes on but got quite the lesson from the Wolverines in the importance of playing a full 60 minutes. You can bet that wont be an issue going forward. Learning lessons can be difficult but good teams find a way to bounce back and that’s got the be the mindset for Virden heading into a return set vs Waywayseecappo.
Up Next: Sept. 24 @ Waywayseecappo, Sept. 25 vs Waywayseecappo

11th – Selkirk Steelers
This Week: 0-2
Impressive Player: Forward Matthew Gerke – 2 goals
Notes: Don’t let the opening night score fool you, the game was closer than it would appear. Outside of the roof caving in during that third period, the Steelers showed a lot of hustle and heart vs the Pistons. Goal scoring may be an issue but a strong blueline and the team buying into the defensive structure will certainly help keep games close. Look for Selkirk to put up a fight every night as this young team grows together.
Up Next: Sept. 24 @ Steinbach, Sept. 25 vs Steinbach

12th – Winnipeg Freeze
This Week: 0-2
Impressive Player: Forward Nathan Driver – 2 goals, 1 assist for 3 points
Notes: Tough couple of games for the Freeze. Something to be encouraged by was the way they bounced back from the opening night loss. Nathan Driver is an exciting player that will keep growing as will the backend. Getting the first couple games out of the way, the Freeze will look to have a solid week of practice and have better results in their next games.
Up Next: Sept. 24th @ Blues, Sept. 25 vs Blues