By Carter Brooks
Photo courtesy of the MJHL
The Winnipeg Blues are the Manitoba Junior Hockey League's hottest team.
Currently riding a streak of 10 wins in their past 11 contests, Winnipeg's only remaining MJHL team has turned its game around after finding themselves on the outside of the playoff picture, looking in, for the better part of the 2018-19 season.
A huge 2019 Trade Deadline deal on Thursday, January 10th helped shape the team into winning form. The acquisitions of 20-year-old Tony Apetagon, and 19-year-olds James Maxwell and Darren Gisti have provided some stability and a veteran presence in the room, linking directly to an increased win percentage in January/February.
Since the arrival of the three newcomers, the Blues have gone 12-3. With just three games to go on the season, Winnipeg (having played the fewest games of all MJHL teams) has the potential to move up from their current position of sixth-place to fifth overall in league standings.
Apetagon - who was ranked fourth in league-scoring at the time of the trade - has put up nine goals and 20 points in just 15 games for the Blues, bumping himself up into third-place in league scoring. The Norway House native will make his return to OCN for the first time since the trade this coming weekend. Maxwell has nine points in 13 games with the Blues, while defenceman Darren Gisti has three goals and five points since the trade.
In facing off twice against the cellar-dweller Blizzard in OCN, and then against a 40-win Swan Valley Stampeders team to round out the season, it is anyone's call as to where the Blues end up. Winnipeg travels to OCN for Friday and Saturday road contests, before finishing the season in Swan Valley on Sunday evening.