Following the Manitoba Junior Hockey League’s opening weekend, the league moved on to Week 2 of the season schedule, where teams battled familiar opponents for the fourth time in a matter of 10 days. On Tuesday, the MJHL announced its three Stars of the Week, following this weekend’s 11-and-a-half games.
Yes, 11-and-a-half. Although 12 games were scheduled, only 11 were completed, as Sunday’s battle at The RINK Training Centre between the visiting Steinbach Pistons and the host Winnipeg Freeze was suspended midway through the first period as on-ice officials deemed the ice surface unsafe to resume play. The game has been rescheduled for Sunday, November 15 at 3:30 in Winnipeg and will resume play with 5:20 to play in a scoreless first period.
On Tuesday, the Star of the Week for each of the three MJHL divisions was announced. 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 Ryan Ostermann (2001-born, forward), Northwest Division Star of the Week Aidan Litke (2003-born, forward), and Interior Division Star of the Week Josh Belcher (2000-born, forward).
Ostermann, 19, put up two goals and a shootout winner in two weekend contests for the Selkirk Steelers last week. First, he scored the game’s opening goal on Friday against the Winnipeg Blues, before finishing it off with the shootout winner, giving Selkirk its first win of the season. The 6-foot-1, 190-pound forward also added another goal the following day.
Litke, 17, scored twice and added three assists in a weekend’s worth of work, while also putting up 19 penalty minutes and adding a power play goal in back-to-back 5-4 losses by the OCN Blizzard to the Swan Valley Stampeders. Litke earned both of his points in the first half of Friday’s game, before putting up three points on Saturday, before getting ejected late in the game on a cross-checking major.
Belcher, 20, continues to lead the Virden Oil Capitals in scoring following a weekend that saw the Rapid City product collect two goals and four points. Facing off against Portage, Belcher picked up two first period assists on Friday, before adding a second period power play strike midway through a 7-3 victory over the Terriers. On Sunday, the 6-foot-3, 200-pound forward scored the game-tying goal that sent Virden to overtime, where the Oil Caps hung on for a shootout victory.