Teams in the region’s senior hockey leagues continue to jostle for playoff positions as their regular seasons start to wind down.
The final games for teams in both the Sask West Hockey League and Sask Valley Hockey League are scheduled to be played on Feb. 2, so there are only two more weekends of game action on the horizon with plenty to be decided before the league and provincial playoffs begin.
The Kindersley Sr. Klippers still hold down first place despite two consecutive losses. The Wilkie Outlaws are the only team in a position to overtake Kindersley.
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Wilkie and Kindersley were scheduled to play on Jan. 19, but the game was cancelled and rescheduled due to a snowstorm. The Sr. Klippers won their first 15 games of the regular season before losing to the Macklin Mohawks back on Jan. 13, and they lost again last weekend.
In games on Jan. 18, the Biggar Nationals defeated the Sr. Klippers 6-5 after a shootout in Biggar and the Mohawks defeated the Luseland Mallards 8-3 on the road in Luseland. In other games last week, the Outlaws beat the Unity Miners 7-2 on Jan. 17 in Unity, the Mohawks beat the Mallards 6-1 on Jan. 19 in Macklin and the Mohawks bested the Miners 4-3 on Jan. 20 in Macklin to pick up a third win in three consecutive days. The Outlaws also beat the Nationals 11-3 on Jan. 22 in Biggar.
The Sr. Klippers (15-1-1) are still in first place with 31 points, but the Outlaws (13-1-2) are in second with 28 points and one game in hand. Kindersley and Wilkie still have to play each other twice, so those games will decide the top two seeds in the SWHL playoffs. Both teams will get a bye in the quarter-finals.
As for the rest of the standings, the Mohawks (8-6-3) have surged into third with 19 points, the Nationals (7-8-1) are in fourth with 15 points, the Miners (6-10) are in fifth with 12 points and the Mallards (0-16) are pointless.
There are six games on the schedule for the weekend. Biggar is in Luseland, Wilkie is in Unity and Macklin is in Kindersley for games tonight at 8:30 p.m., and then Unity is in Biggar, Luseland is in Macklin and Wilkie is in Kindersley for games tomorrow at 8 p.m.
There are only two sure things for the Sask Valley Hockey League – the Kyle Elks will finish in first overall and the Elrose Aces will finish in last place.
Kyle has won 15 of its 16 games with two games to play, and the Elks would still finish in a tie for first in the standings if they lost both of their remaining games. The Elrose Aces have yet to win in 14 games and they are the only team mathematically eliminated from playoff contention.
Elrose is the only team with four games left to play in the regular season and five of the remaining nine teams only have two games left. There could still be a lot of movement in the standings, but the top three playoff seeds are all but set.
The Elks (15-1) are going to be the top seed followed by the Delisle Bruins (13-3), and the Eston Ramblers (10-5). The Beechy Bombers (8-8), Outlook Ice Hawks (8-7), Lucky Lake Lakers (7-8), Kenaston Blizzards (7-9), Central Butte Flyers (5-9-0-1), and Loreburn 19ers (4-11-0-1) could still change positions. Loreburn is only two points out of a playoff spot with two games remaining, but Central Butte in eighth has three games left including a game versus the Aces.
In games back on Jan. 18, the Elks beat the Bruins 5-3 in Kyle, the Ramblers beat the Bombers 9-6 in Beechy, the Lakers beat the Aces 5-1 in Elrose and the Ice Hawks beat the Blizzards 5-2 in Outlook. On Jan. 19, the 19ers beat the Aces 8-4 in Loreburn and the Elks lambasted the Flyers 13-1 in Central Butte. On Jan. 20, the Ramblers beat the Lakers 5-3 in Eston, the Bombers beat the 19ers 7-5 in Beechy, and the Bruins beat the Aces 7-2 in Elrose.
As for tonight’s games, Eston is in Delisle, Elrose is in Kenaston and Kyle is in Outlook for games at 8 p.m. Kenaston is in Lucky Lake, Loreburn is in Kyle, and Delisle is in Central Butte for games tomorrow at 7 p.m. Two games scheduled for Jan. 27 include Beechy in Outlook at 2:30 p.m., and Elrose in Central Butte at 3 p.m.