By Bill Burfoot
Photo by Deny Gravel
The puck drops on the MMJHL playoffs Friday night with all eight teams taking to the ice.
The first place Pembina Valley Twisters welcome the Charleswood Hawks to the Morris Recreational Complex on Friday night for Game 1 of their first round best-of-7 series in what should be a fantastic series. The Twisters were the highest scoring team in the MMJHL this season with 244 goals, have three of the league’s top four scorers in their lineup including Braeden Beernaerts (80pts), Jeremie Goderis (70pts), and Travis Penner (70pts). The Twisters suffered just six regulation losses all season (35-6-4), including just one regulation loss on home ice. That loss was a 2-1 loss to the Hawks back in mid-December. The Twisters won the season series winning three of the five games, but all five games were decided by just one goal, with three of the games needing overtime.
Raiders Jr and Stonewall Jets go head-to-head in their first round series getting underway Friday night at the Seven Oaks Sportsplex. The Raiders won four of the five meetings between the two clubs, but all but one game was decided by two-goals-or-less. The Raiders allowed a league-low 121 goals for, with goaltenders Jeremy Pikel (18-6-3) and Logan Thiessen (9-4-2) leading the way. Stonewall’s Aiken Chop looks to continue leading the way offensively for the Jets after finishing 10thin league scoring this season with 31 goals and 56 points. The Jets also come into the series winning their final five games of the regular season.
The St. James Jr Canucks and Ft Garry/Ft. Rouge Twins begin their best-of-7 Friday night at the St. James Civic Centre, and if it’s anything like the regular season, it’s going to be a great series. The Canucks took the season series with three wins in the five games, but the Twins took the most recent game 5-3 back in late February. Offensively, there wasn’t much difference as the Twins filled the net 178 times, while the Canucks finished with 174 tallies. On the defensive side, the Canucks have the advantage, allowing just 128 goals, while the Twins allowed 161. The Twins had a great end to the regular season, going 7-2-1 in their final 10 games, while the Canucks
The fourth-place St. Vital Vics face off against the Transcona Railer Express in a matchup that pits two of the league’s top scorers against each other. The Victorias are led by the MMJHL’s leading scorer Riley Beauchemin, who tallied 81 points, including a league-high 42 goals, for the Vics. Not to be outdone, the Railer Express have an offensive weapon of their own as Noah Skorpad fired home 29 goals and finished fifth in league scoring with 68 points. The best-of-seven series gets underway Friday night at the St. Vital Centennial Arena.