Record: 15-13-0-1 (31 points, .534%) 4th in Sherwood
On Pace: 30-26-0-2
The Terriers became the SJHL's final team to hit the halfway pole, when they fell 4-3 to Estevan on Sunday. I expected the Terriers to hover around .500 and be somewhere in the middle of the pack, and be a hard team to play against come playoff time. They haven't had any extended losing streaks, and during a 6 game road swing, went 4-1-1. They also just had a 4 game winning streak snapped by Battleford over the weekend. The Terriers have a handful of core guys who've been to the SJHL final twice, like Brent Struble (injured in last year's playoffs), Riley Paterson and Nathan Murray up front, along with Kelly Leismeister on the backend, and Warren Shymko (backup for both finals appearances) in goal. The offense got a big boost with the additions of Tayler Thompson and Tyler Giebel from the WHL, although Giebel recently found a new WHL home in Red Deer, and scored in his first game in Regina on Friday. At times, the Terriers had as few as one 20-year-old on defense, and regularly have 4 defensemen dressed who are 18 or younger. With only three 20-year-olds up front, this team's young, but they're hangin' in there, and have every opportunity to grab a top-three spot.
What they have left: 29 games
Sherwood Conference: 16 games (7H, 9A)
Notre Dame: 5 (2H, 3A)
Melville: 4 (2H, 2A)
Kindersley: 4 (2H, 2A)
Weyburn: 2 (1H, 1A)
Estevan: 1 (1A)
Bauer Conference: 13 games (8H, 5A)
Nipawin: 3 (2H, 1A)
Melfort: 3 (2H, 1A)
Battlefords: 2 (1H, 1A)
La Ronge: 2 (2H)
Flin Flon: 2 (1H, 1A)
Humboldt: 1 (1A)
What To Expect?
After back to back trips to the league finals, and a lot of turnover... as much as the Terriers would love to be back there, there isn't near as much pressure on them to get there this year as there was last season. I do think they're a perfect dark horse, and they remind me a lot of the team they had 2 seasons ago, that upset three teams enroute to a Conference Championship, especially their forwards. They don't have one dominant line, but they've got four lines they can roll in almost any situation, including powerplay. Trent Cassan plays everyone, and that's why there's not a true 'fourth line.' Everyone gets equal 5-on-5 minutes, and that makes everyone better, in a long season. As far as the trade deadline, I wouldn't be shocked to see the Terriers do very little. With the makeup and youth of this team, they're already set up pretty well for the next couple years, but they've shown they can play with Weyburn, Estevan, and Melville, teams who are above them in the standings right now. They could certainly knock off any of those teams, regardless where they finish, even if they have to go the long way (Survivor Series) like they did two years ago. Because they're right in the pack, I don't see them dealing impact 20-year-olds to build for the future, but at the same time, I can't see them trading any of their youth FOR an impact 20-year-old. In my opinion, they could use one more defeseman with some size and some offensive ability, who can play the PP. If they can pull off a cash deal, or send a prospect for a veteran D, they might, but again... probably not if it means trading a key 92 or 93.
Most Valuable Player
Zak Majkowski, F
The second year forward leads the Terriers in points, assists, and continues to be one of their grittiest forwards, who's not afraid to get down in front of a slap shot (even if it means taking a puck where the sun don't shine). He's on pace to surpass the 36 points he put up in his rookie season, but his seven goals have him behind the pace of 21 that he scored last year. Talking to Zak a couple weeks ago, he said he felt snake-bitten, and almost immediately after that, he erupted for 7 points in 3 games to be named SJHL Player of the Week. I wouldn't be surprised to see him give last year's goal total a run in the second half.
Runners-Up: Riley Paterson, F; Ryon Sookro, F; Brent Struble
Jeremy Johnson, F
I left him off the Pre Season poll on the Terrier website about who would lead the Terriers in scoring this season (sorry Darin Lanigan!), and Jeremy Johnson, at one point did lead the Terriers in goals and points. He's still up there, 2nd in goals, 3rd and points, continues to prove that you don't have to play 'AAA' Midget to have a successful run in Junior. Johnson didn't even play 'AA', he played house league midget as a 17-year-old so he could also play Quarterback for the Sacred Heart Saints, and be a star in most other high school sports. A year after leading the Ochapowace Thunder in scoring, Johnson's fitting in seamlessly in his first full season of Junior 'A', and might pot 25 goals.
Runners-Up: Riley Paterson, F; Devon McMullen, D; Keven Cann, D
Curtis Oliver, F
This is a tough one, because the Terriers have a 19-year-old rookie in Johnson, and a 20-year-old Junior 'A' Rookie in Ryon Sookro, who's leading the Terriers in goals. But, I try to keep rookies to 18-and-under, guys in their first season of Junior eligibility. Regardless of age, Curtis Oliver's had a strong first half of his rookie season, with 7-goals and 14-points in 24 games. He's fitting in nicely on the wing with Riley Paterson and Nathan Murray of late, and for a smaller forward, isn't afraid to get his nose dirty.
Runners-Up: Ryon Sookro*, F; Jeremy Johnson*, F; Jamie Vlanich, F; The Norrish's, D