Photo credit - Pederson Photographic

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The top two teams in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League are set to square off in a home-and-home this weekend, starting in Steinbach.

The Dauphin Kings open up the weekend on the road at the TG Smith Centre as they take on the Steinbach Pistons. In their recent meeting, Kaden Bryant scored three times as Dauphin earned a convincing 6-2 win at the league's showcase last week.

Since that game, Dauphin won three more games in a row and they are now riding an eight-game winning streak and have reached 20 wins. Remarkably, they reached 20 wins before December even started.

Since that loss meanwhile; Steinbach has also won three games in a row and they now have 18 wins to sit in second place in the league, two points behind Dauphin.

Offensively, Steinbach has a slight edge as they've scored 103 goals while Dauphin has found the back of the net 97 times. However, defensively, just like they are in the standings, Dauphin is on top. The team has given up just 49 goals which averages to just more than two per game. The Winnipeg Blues are the team that's allowed the second fewest with 59 while Steinbach has given up 64.

Dauphin and Steinbach are third and fifth, respectively on the man advantage this season while they are one and two on the penalty kill.

One of the major keys to success for Dauphin when the home-and-home opens on Friday is to allow two or fewer goals. Of their 20 wins, the Kings have given up two or fewer 16 times and they're a perfect 16-0 when doing so.

Dauphin has scored at least four goals in six straight games while Steinbach scored 10 times in last weekend's games against Neepawa

By the numbers:

Dauphin

GF - 97

GA - 49

PP% - 24.5

PK% - 89.2

Road record - 10-2

Leaders - Colby Jaquet 6g, 24a

Kaden Bryant 17g, 12a

Parker Malchuk 6g, 15a

Carson Cherepak 16-3, .929 save percentage, 2.04 goals-against average

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Steinbach

GF - 97

GA - 49

PP% - 20.4

PK% - 88.3

Home record - 10-2

Leaders - Dawson Milliken 13g, 14a

Davis Fry 8g, 19a

Jack Rogers 10g, 15a

Simon Harkness 10-4, .899 save percentage, 2.92 goals-against average.

The Saskatchewan Roughriders survived a slugfest of a night to defeat the Calgary Stampeders 33-30 to advance to the Western Final.

Cody Fajardo survived a four-interception night and Brett Lauther hit a 34-yard field goal to put the game away, as the Riders advance to their second consecutive Western Final. They’ll face the Winnipeg Blue Bombers at IG Field on Dec. 5, to battle for a berth in the 108th Grey Cup.

Ed Gainey also had two interceptions for the Roughriders in the game and he's expected to play a big factor come Sunday. Buck Pierce is Winnipeg's offensive coordinator and he knows the Riders will be stingy on the defensive side of the ball.

"They're playing with confidence which is a key component to playoff football," said Pierce. "They believe in each other and they're starting to click on that side of the ball with some big-time plays."

One of the side notes people have been talking about this week is the weather and how it may play an impact on the game. At the time of publishing, the forecast is calling for a chance of flurries and minus 5 for Sunday afternoon when the two teams kick off at 3:00 p.m. But whether it's hot or cold, Pierce doesn't believe it should change many things.

"People always like to put things in your head of what you can't do, but I tend to believe the other way," said Pierce. "We've been practicing in the cold and we're going to be able to execute our offence."

Winnipeg outscored Saskatchewan, 56-17 in two regular-season meetings this year. You can hear the game on Sunday right here on 730CKDM with Bob Irving. It'll be Irving's final game as he is set to hang up the mic after a near five-decade career with the Blue and Gold. 

Klim Georgiev’s first practice with the Kings was back on October 21 and now more than a month later, the native of Toronto has now played 13 games with the team, scoring twice and adding five assists.

Klim started his season with the Cowichan Valley Capitals of the British Columbia Hockey League before coming to Dauphin and he’s been a welcomed addition to the team’s back end and has been put in every situation possible from on the man advantage to on the penalty kill and everything in between.

Klim’s last full season was in the 2019-20 campaign when he suited up for the Toronto Jr. Canadiens of the Ontario Junior Hockey League. He had 24 points, seven of which were goals across 48 games and he also racked up 115 penalty minutes. And while living in a small community is a new experience for Georgiev, he’s really enjoying it.

“It’s been a great time so far, Dauphin has surprised me,” said Georgiev. “When you think of a medium-sized town in Manitoba, I didn’t really think much of it but it’s a beautiful place and I’ve liked what I have seen so far.”

Heading into last week’s showcase, Klim had one goal to his name but he added to that by scoring his biggest goal as a King, the game-winner against the Winnipeg Blues on Wednesday afternoon. The win moved the team’s winning streak to six games at the time and they are now winners of eight straight and Dauphin is the only team in the league with 20 wins.

“It was a good feeling to get that one. I’m just happy that the team rallied to win that game,” said Georgiev.

Klim also shared a special moment with two Kings Superfans over the weekend. After a thrilling 4-3 overtime win against the Portage Terriers, Georgiev joined Areta and Jim Kozar of Ethelbert for a photo. It was one that the Kozar’s were looking forward to and so was Georgiev.

“They’re great people, it was pretty special,” said Georgiev. “I promised them a signature a few games before so I’m glad it happened. I’m looking forward to seeing them in the rink again this weekend.”

Klim will be back on the ice this weekend as Dauphin opens a home-and-home with the Steinbach Pistons on Friday at TG Smith Centre in the Automobile City. The two teams return to Dauphin on Saturday night at 7:30.

Get to know Georgiev:

What are your hobbies? I love spending tons of time with my family and friends, golf, play poker and I enjoy playing video games as well

When did you realize you wanted to play hockey competitively? It was pretty frustrating for me when I was younger because I wasn’t a good skater. But my parents really wanted me to play so I stuck with it and here we are, it’s been a pretty cool family journey

What is your ultimate goal? Moving forward, I would love to get a university scholarship. But for now, I just want to win a championship with this team, that’s all I’m thinking about

Georgiev’s grandma lives in Russia and he says he would love to spend some more time with her.

More than 30,000 loud and proud fans are expected to pack inside IG Field on Sunday as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the West Division final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders.

A rematch of 2019, the Bombers enter the game after going 11-3 in the regular season and earning a bye while Saskatchewan edged Calgary, 33-30 in double overtime last week. 

Winnipeg was a perfect 7-0 on home turf this season while the Riders were 4-0. In a chat with Darnell Duff on Wednesday, Zach Collaros spoke to the importance of playing in front of their home crowd. And on Thursday, Mike O'Shea said much of the same as the Bombers get set to host their biggest rivals in the biggest game of the season so far.

"Even the young guys on our team, they all understand how important the fans are to us," said O'Shea. "I don't think they're going to dwell on that, they're going to get down to business, but there's no doubt that the fans can help us."

Winnipeg hammered Saskatchewan in their two regular-season meetings this year, outscoring the Green and White, 56-17 in two games. A berth in the Grey Cup is on the line and the winner of Sunday's West final will play the winner of the East final where the Toronto Argonauts host the Hamilton Tiger-Cats. This is Winnipeg's first elimination game since the 2019 Grey Cup and the team won all three of their playoff games that season. This year, the team only has to win two but they aren't looking any further than Sunday's game to start.

"When the guys step into the locker room, they take a lot of pride in doing well on a daily basis," said O'Shea. "I'm not sure if they're going to feel pressure once they hit the field but they will continue to work for their teammates."

In other news, Andrew Harris was back on the field for practice Thursday. He said he's taking it day by day and he's hoping to be in the mix.

A goal-line stand helped the Winnipeg Blue Bombers advance to the 2019 Grey Cup, one in which they won against Hamilton.

The stand came against the Saskatchewan Roughriders as the Blue and Gold edged their prairie rivals, 20-13 in the West Division Final. And now, the same two teams will square off in this weekend's West Division Final; however, the venue will change.

After Saskatchewan hosted the game in 2019, the Bombers will host this weekend's game at IG Field in Winnipeg after they finished the regular season at 11-3. Winnipeg earned a direct berth to the game after finishing first in the league while Saskatchewan narrowly downed Calgary last week in double-overtime. 

Zach Collaros completed 243 passes this season for 3185 yards and his 20 touchdowns thrown were six more than any other quarterback in the league. He led the Bombers to the Grey Cup in 2019 and he's looking forward to the biggest game of the season so far on Sunday.

"Saskatchewan is a great football team. Defensively they're really good upfront," said Collaros. "It's going to be a battle for sure, there's no doubt about that. We're looking forward to getting to work this week and playing the game."

Winnipeg hammered Saskatchewan in their two regular-season meetings this year, outscoring the Green and White, 56-17 in two games. Winnipeg was a perfect 7-0 on home field this season while Saskatchewan was just 4-3 on the road. 

"Playing in front of these fans in this province has been amazing, you really feel the energy as soon as you step on the field, even just in the warmup," ended Collaros. "If we make a big play, the fans are always involved and I'm sure the Rum Hut will be a great place to be."

Collaros added that the team hopes it turns out to be cold on Sunday as they've been practicing in cold conditions for quite some time now and it doesn't bother them. As of this publishing, Sunday calls for a mix of sun and cloud with minus seven. 

Breken Brezden is back on top of the podium once again.

The Dauphin figure skater won gold in her short skate at Skate Winnipeg's Super Skate.

She's now getting ready for the Canadian Challenge which starts later this week in Regina. The event will feature 38 of the top junior women in Canada, some of which will qualify for the Canadian Tire finals.

The Parkland U18 Rangers are on a roll and so is Carter Zalischuk.

In just two games against the Interlake Lightning over the weekend, Zalischuk racked up eight points and he's this week's CCM Player of the Week. On Friday night, Carter recorded a hat-trick and added an assist.

One day later, Carter scored once and had three assists. He's tied for 11th in league scoring with his 30 points and is second in team scoring, only behind Jayce Legaarden.

A Grey Cup berth is on the line in just a few days' time as the Winnipeg Blue Bombers host the West Division Final against the Saskatchewan Roughriders. 

Saskatchewan advanced to the game after they downed the Calgary Stampeders in a thriller after Rene Paredes missed a game-winning field goal for Calgary. 

In their two regular-season contests against Saskatchewan, Winnipeg easily took care of business, outscoring their prairie rivals, 56-17. The forecast for Sunday's game is expected to be around -8 before the wind chill but that isn't bothering the Bombers. Star defensive back Brandon Alexander says whatever the elements are, the team will be ready.

"I don't think anyone on this team is worried about it or even really thinking about it," said Alexander. "We've been practicing in these conditions for a while now and even colder. Whether you're wearing or sleeves, we'll be ready. I just think of it as another game, no worries about the weather."

Alexander recorded 36 tackles for Winnipeg in the regular season and he had two interceptions while also forcing one fumble. The Blue and Gold are looking to defend the title after winning the Grey Cup in 2019 against Hamilton. The team went 11-7 that season, finishing third in the West Division, scoring 508 points while giving up 409.

This year, the Bombers enter the playoffs after an 11-3 season in which they allowed just 188 points against. That's 56 fewer points than Hamilton, who gave up the second-fewest. Winnipeg was a perfect 7-0 on home field at IG Field in the regular season.

"The difference between the two years is the positioning, that's really it," said Alexander. "Our preparation is the same and we know we have to go out there and win a game. We're excited about the challenge and we're happy that we get to play on our home field."

The game will also mark the end of Bob Irving's career. He has decided to hang up his mic after a nearly five-decade career in the booth. 

The top two teams in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League will square off in a home-and-home this weekend; however, there is a little change.

Dauphin will be in Steinbach to play the Pistons on Friday night and originally, the two teams were set to return to Credit Union Place for a rematch on Sunday afternoon at 4:00 p.m.

That game on Sunday has now been moved one day earlier.

New date: Saturday, December 4

New time: 7:30 p.m.

Venue: Credit Union Place

The change will be welcomed by Winnipeg Blue Bombers fans as they play in the West Division Final on Sunday afternoon.

The Dauphin Clippers football team left everything on the field in the championship final of the Rural Manitoba Football League and despite coming out on the losing end, the Clippers stayed right with the undefeated Swan Valley Tigers all game long and it came right down to the wire.

And now that another off-season is here, the RMFL has announced its season-ending award nominees and several Clippers made the list this year.

Matt Zurba ran for 209 yards this season on 24 carries with two touchdowns and 25 yards receiving. 

Sully Fox is a nominee for the most outstanding player on the offensive line. 

Joseph Lopez put together an incredible season defensively. He had 37 tackles and six assists. On top of that, Lopez had one sack, one fumble recovery, three interceptions and two knockdowns. Joseph also ran for 344 yards on just 31 carries.

Damon Nepinak recorded 12 tackles, six assists and one knockdown. An interception he made was also the Clipper player of the year. 

Sergio Garcia made eight of the nine converts he kicked this season and he's a nominee for the special team's most outstanding player. 

In his first year of football, Scott Gower was put into many different situations and he did a great job on the field and now he's a nominee for the league's rookie of the year award.

The Norris Aitken Memorial Award recognizes a player who combines football ability, academic ability and other criteria schools deem to be an asset to all-around individuals. Aitken was a longtime coach of the Clippers and a commissioner for the RMFL for several years. Up for the award this year is Matt Zurba.

The Parker Guy Memorial Award is given to a player in grade 11 or 12 and this award exemplifies character through involvement in football. This year's nominee for the Clippers is Garrett Thompson.

The Dauphin Clippers climbed back from a two-goal third-period deficit on Sunday to earn a point.

Playing against Boissevain, Dauphin found themselves down 3-1 in the third period before they battled back to tie up the contest. 

Logan Chapman, Cole Delamare and Parker Boguski scored for Dauphin in the game.