The 2020-21 Manitoba Junior Hockey League season is in full swing. Having officially begun on Friday with all 12 member clubs in action, the league has since seen 12 games, with each team having played twice. Through the minuscule sample size that was opening weekend, a number of storylines have already been etched in the sand.
With back-to-back 6-3 and 6-2 victories over the OCN Blizzard, the Swan Valley Stampeders looked very hot out of the gates this past weekend, putting up 12 goals against Billy Keane’s new-look Blizzard. The Waywayseecappo Wolverines and Dauphin Kings exchanged seven-goal games, with Wayway taking the first 7-3, and Dauphin responding for a 7-0 shutout the following day.
The Winnipeg Blues put up 11 goals over the weekend, fending off the Selkirk Steelers 5-3 on road Friday, before dismantling the same Steelers squad 6-1 at home on Saturday. While the other Winnipeg-based club also owned by 50 Below Sports + Entertainment gave up 10 goals, while failing to score even one time over 120 minutes of action, falling 2-0 in its season opener to Steinbach, before seeing the Pistons pump in eight goals in Steinbach the next day.
Following the season’s opening weekend, the league announced its Star of the Week for each of the three divisions. This season, with the addition of the Winnipeg Freeze, the MJHL has been split into three divisions to alleviate travel, while helping to reduce the risk of the spread of COVID-19 throughout the Junior ‘A’ confines.
Leading the way following the first week of action was Southeast Division Star of the Week Brayden Foreman (2001-born, forward), Northwest Division Star of the Week Koby Morrisseau (2000-born, forward), and Interior Division Star of the Week Reid Dyck (2004-born, goaltender).
Foreman, 19, finished the weekend with an impressive three goals, four assists and four power play points in helping Winnipeg to back-to-back victories over the Steelers. Finding himself involved in each of his team’s first three goals, the second-generation Blues forward scored the game’s opening two goals, before adding a power play assist in the second period. Foreman then collected three first-period assists on Saturday, before later adding a power play marker to finish off his productive opening weekend of play.
Morrisseau, 19, put up two goals, four points and six penalty minutes in two games for Dauphin, as the Kings split their opening weekend series with the Wolverines. The Grandview product collected a goal, an assist and two minor penalties on Friday, before adding a power play goal, an assist, and another minor penalty the following day in Wayway.
Dyck, 16, started both games in goal for the Winkler Flyers, putting up a 1.48 goals against average and a .952 save percentage, while picking up victories in each contest. The hometown Winkler product turned aside 24 of 26 shots in his MJHL debut – an overtime victory – on Friday, before stopping 35 of 36 shots the following day, en route to a first-star performance. Dyck gave up just one power play goal through two games, shutting the door on the 11 other occurrences in which he team was down a man.
Now taking the next four days off, the MJHL will resume with contests running Friday through Sunday, as the next set of 12 games begins. Once again Swan Valley will battle OCN, Dauphin will play Wayway, Virden will battle Portage, Winkler will play Neepawa, Selkirk will take on the Blues, while the Freeze will look for their first goal against the Pistons.