The Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League reigning champion Pembina Valley Twisters have begun the 2019-20 season the same way they ended 2018-19 – by winning.
It has been a near-perfect start for the league’s southernmost team, who have put together a 15-1-1 record through the team’s first 17 games. In putting up a league-best 87 goals-for, the Twisters boast a +50 goal differential, yet only hold a two-point lead over the second-place St. Vital Victorias, who hold a 13-1-3 record through their first 17 games.
A perfect 9-0-0 record at home has Pembina Valley cemented in first place, while their road record is nearly as impressive (6-1-1). Although coming off their first overtime loss of the season Friday in a 2-1 loss to the St. James Canucks in extra time, the Twisters still own a league-high .912 winning percentage – the only team league-wide sitting at over a 90 percent rate.
Veteran forwards Elijah Carels and Jeremie Goderis continue to lead the way for Pembina Valley, currently sitting atop the league leaders in the points department. Carels, 20, has 15 goals and 32 points on the season, five points up on his teammate Goderis who sits at 10 goals and 27 points. With a combined seven years of Twisters experience between the two alternate captains, it is no doubt that Pembina Valley continues to find success.
Between fellow Twister teammates Wyatt Sabourin (11 goals, 25 points) and TJ Matuszewski (eight goals, 25 points) are a pair of Fort Garry Twins (Jared Bucci and Cole Zadro) and one Vic (Cedric Chenier) on the league leaders list.
Netminders Martin Gagnon (1.99 GAA) and Luke Zacharias (2.22 GAA) are ranked No. 1 and No. 4 respectively on the goals against average leaders list. Gagnon sports a 7-0-1 record .925 save percentage on the season, while Zacharias is 8-1-0 with a .917 save percentage in 2019-20.
The Twisters will look to keep things going on Wednesday, as they travel to Stonewall for their second game of the season against the Blues. Pembina Valley beat Stonewall 7-3 back on November 10 at home. Puck drop is set for 7:30 PM at the Veterans Memorial Sports Complex.