The puck has officially dropped on the 2020-21 Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League season, with each team having now faced off at least once, and some having played up to three times since opening night on Tuesday, October 13.
On that night, the Transcona Railer Express picked up its first victory of the season, beating the host Charleswood Hawks 5-2. After jumping out to a 3-0 lead through 40 minutes of play – courtesy of two power play goals – Transcona let its guard slip, giving Charleswood some life with back-to-back third period tallies. The Railer Express sealed the deal with two goals in the final minute, spoiling the Hawks home-opener.
Transcona was then back at it on Thursday in only the second league game of the season, this time destroying the St. Vital Vics 7-2. A 2-2 game was blown open midway through the second frame, as Conner Grunsten and Mattie Boonstra scored back-to-back power play goals, before the two added a second tally each in the final period.
The team then had two days off – which saw the Hawks shutout the Raiders Jr. Hockey Club 3-0, the St. James Canucks beat River East 6-2, and the St. Boniface Riels rough up Pembina Valley by the same 6-2 score – before picking up its third victory in as many tries. This time it was another narrow win over Charleswood, 3-2.
Finding itself trailing for the first time this season, The Railer Express came out with two goals in the second period, to retake the lead on Sunday. But the Hawks weren’t done there, as Max Fisher found his first of the season just 4:20 into the final frame, knotting the game at twos. But with four minutes to play, Boonstra put his league-leading fifth goal of the season past star netminder Patrick Wiens, winning yet another game for Transcona, 3-2.
Also taking place on Sunday were games between the Canucks and Raiders, Twisters and Twins, and Jets and Royal Knights. The Canucks only managed one goal to the Raiders four, while the Royal Knights gave up six goals and only mustered two. The Twisters-Twins game was easily the most exciting of the matchups, as Pembina Valley found the twine 10 times, beating up on Fort Garry 10-6, including a run of seven-straight goals following the Twins’ game-opening goal.
With six points in three games and a deadly +9 goal differential, the Railer Express have quickly jumped ahead as the team to beat in the early stages of the 2020-21 MMJHL season. Despite playing just one game apiece, both St. Boniface and Stonewall are in a two-way tie for second, while Pembina Valley, St. James, Charleswood and the Raiders also each have two points. Fort Garry and St. Vital each have lost their only contest, while River East is back to its losing ways, having dropped both contests this season, being outscored 12-4 in the process.