A two-team race for first place in the Sask West Hockey League is closer after the season-long unbeaten streak for the Kindersley Sr. Klippers was snapped on Sunday.
The Macklin Mohawks have given the Sr. Klippers all they could handle this season. The Mohawks defeated Sr. Klippers 5-3 on Jan. 13 in Macklin and the loss put an end to Kindersley’s 15-game unbeaten streak that began with the team’s first win of the season.
Macklin boasts the best record in the league against Kindersley this season at 1-0-2 versus the league’s top team. The Mohawks lost in overtime in Macklin early in the season and lost one week earlier after a shootout in Kindersley.
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Kindersley (15-1) still has 30 points and a six-point lead over the Wilkie Outlaws (11-1-2) in the SWHL standings, but the Sr. Klippers have played two more games than Wilkie. The Sr. Klippers have played two more games than all five of the league’s other teams.
A pair of wins last weekend has moved Macklin into a tie for third place in the standings. The only team whose playoff ranking is certain is the winless Luseland Mallards because they would have to win all six of their games just to have a chance.
The race for third place is anything but settled, and it is a lucrative position because the team in third will play Luseland in the first round of the playoffs. Kindersley and Wilkie have locked up the top two spots and a first-round bye, but the race for first is far from finished.
Kindersley has a tough schedule to go with a road game against the Biggar Nationals, a home game against Macklin and two home games against Wilkie. The Outlaws could still displace the Sr. Klippers atop the standings.
Biggar (6-7-1) and Macklin (5-6-3) are tied for third in the standings with 13 points and the Unity Miners (6-8) are in fifth with 12 points. Biggar, Macklin and Unity are separated by one point and each team has six games remaining, so there is no telling which teams will play each other in the playoffs.
In games on Jan. 11, the Mohawks beat the Nationals 8-2 in Biggar and the Outlaws beat the Miners 6-4 in Wilkie. In games on Jan. 12, the Sr. Klippers beat the Mallards 8-5 in Luseland and the Miners beat the Nationals 9-8 in a barn burner in Unity.
The Outlaws were scheduled to play the Miners last night in Unity, but the result was not available due to a publication deadline. There are six games scheduled for the next week. The games include several key match ups.
Kindersley is in Biggar and Macklin is in Luseland for games tonight at 8:30 p.m., and then Luseland is in Macklin and Wilkie is in Kindersley for games tomorrow at 8 p.m. Unity is in Macklin for a game on Jan. 20 at 5:30 p.m., and Wilkie is in Biggar for a weekday game on Jan. 22 at 8:30 p.m.