A MID-SEASON REPORT.
Well Klippers fans here we are, 32 games down and 26 games left to be played in this historic 25th season of Jr A hockey in Kindersley. With the changing of the calendar year everyone seems to enjoy taking a look back at 2017 and coming to grips with what went wrong and what accomplishments we can be proud of while looking forward to a clean sheet for 2018; so we might as well get in on that.
The Klippers are sitting in 8th place as of now in the 12 team SJHL, and that’s a pretty steady 8th place, considering the 7th place Weyburn Red Wings sit 9 points ahead of the Klippers and it would take quite the run to catch the Wings. If the playoffs were to start today the boys in green would find themselves in a “survivor series” versus the current #9 ranked Flin Flon Bombers with whom we have split the season series so far.
The way the schedule is set up with a February heavy with games versus the likes of Melville (3 games), La Ronge (2 games), and Yorkton (4 games) who are currently occupying the bottom 3 spots in the league standings a wild ride to the finish could see the Klippers jump a spot or two in the aggregate. It’s all fine and well to speculate, but it doesn’t mean squat if we don’t win the games we are supposed to.
The longest winning streak the Klippers have gone on this year is a three gamer from Nov 25th thru Dec 5th with 2 wins versus Notre Dame and another vs La Ronge. Consequently we followed that mini-streak up with our longest losing streak of the season dropping six in a row from Dec 6th thru 16th. So consistency will be a point of emphasis as we ramp thing up in 2018.
Dangerous and pointless to speculate I know, but should the Klippers play in and win that 8vs9 survivor series and meet up with the top team in the league Battleford North Stars there is some light in that tunnel as no team in the league has fared so well vs the SJ powerhouse. Of a possible 10 points in 5 meetings this season the Klippers have an even split with 5 points coming from a regulation win, an OT loss, and two shoot-out losses.
One match-up that has been an absolute tire fire for the Klippers thus far has been with division rival Humboldt. In 5 games vs the Broncos the Klippers are yet to get a win; with a blown 3 goal lead at Elgar Peterson Arena highlighting the woes. Here’s to hoping the neutral site confines of the Macklin Arena on January 24th bring a decisive end to the curse.
There is no doubt there needs to be a decided improvement on the Klippers’ team discipline should a deep playoff push become a reality as the 932 PIMs are second only to Estevan’s 966 and the Klippers holding the distinction of being the only team in the league to not have a short handed goal to their name. Kindersley’s 87 goals for is third worst (Yorkton 84, La Ronge 78) as is their power play percentage at 16% (Melville 15.9%, Yorkton 12.8%) so spending time in the box contradicts heavily the need to put the puck in the net.
Injuries are a reality for each and every team in the league, but it is hard to think of a team bit worse than the Klippers in this category. From 20 year old captain Cole Plotnikoff’s severed achilles tendon back in September to Cody Hodgson’s concussion, Kyle Bosch’s leg/face, Tyler Traptow’s bone bruise on the foot, Austin Nault’s broken wrist/arm, and Josh Fletcher’s ailing back it seems there hasn’t been a game all year when the Klippers actually had a healthy scratch in the stands. Compound the injury plague with lengthy suspensions to key center Nik Malenica and D-man Josh Patrician (6 and 8 games respectively) and all things considered we are in a pretty good spot. Factor in the absence of eligible ’97’s Tyler Baier, Jake Gerbner, and Sam Binfet all of whom could be sporting the double K’s and we are left wondering further what 2017 could have been like.
But the door is closed on all that. Literally doesn’t matter. 26 games is all that matters now. After that we will re-focus on a playoff run.
The 2018 calendar year Klippers will feature returning healthy key contributers, a bolstered and balanced scoring attack, one of the biggest, meanest blue lines in the SJ, and steady, confident, timely goaltending.
For the remainder of the 2017-18 season we ask for one thing:
700+ in attendance every single game at the WCEC. Let’s do it Kindo.