The 2019-2020 MJHL regular season will come to an end in just about a month and a half. The Steinbach Pistons remain atop the standings, but a few teams are breathing down their necks.
Let's take a look from the top to the bottom as the league presents a one-game schedule this evening.
1st Place - Steinbach Pistons - 30-8-2-2 = 64 points.
Steinbach has arguably been the most consistent team all season. The Pistons have lost two straight games only twice this season and they have yet to suffer three defeats in a row.
They aren't a team that lights up the scoreboard, but they certainly don't allow their opponents to do so. Among playoff teams, the Pistons have scored the seventh-fewest goals (139). However, the Pistons have only allowed 98 goals which are the fewest in the league, nine less than Portage.
Steinbach plays two games this week prior to the league's break for the MJHL/SJHL Showcase. Both come on home ice against OCN and Virden.
Trade Deadline key additions: Ryan Butler and Thomson Phinney.
2nd Place - Winkler Flyers - 27-10-2-3 = 59 points.
Winkler is definitely the hottest team in the league. They have gone 8-0-0-1 in their last nine games dating back to a 2-1 shootout win against Steinbach on December 20. Winkler also beat Steinbach in overtime on Tuesday night.
The Flyers have scored 167 goals, the second-most in the league and their +32 goal differential is the third-best in the league.
Winkler opens up a three-game road-trip and two of the games are against some of the league's best. They're in Virden tomorrow before playing their final game prior to the break in Porage on Saturday.
After the break, the team finishes the trip with a game in Selkirk before they play five straight on home ice.
Trade Deadline key additions: Kaeden Tenkoppel and Connor Gallagher.
3rd Place - Portage Terriers - 28-10-2 = 58 points.
For a team that will host the Centennial Cup in May, the Terriers must have not been overly happy with their performance prior to the deadline. However, the team has added some pieces and they are now trending in the right direction.
Portage has won two of their last three games and they've earned five of a possible last six points since the deadline.
Unlike Steinbach, Portage's offence can be lethal and it's a big reason why they're so successful. The Terriers 155 goals are the fourth-most in the league. They also added some offensive touch at the deadline which will surely help the cause.
Portage plays in Dauphin this Friday which is a very intriguing game for a few reasons. It's the return of Koby Morrisseau to the Parkland and Dauphin improved their roster at the deadline with some offensive touch of their own which should make for a good battle.
The Terriers' final game before the break is on Saturday against Winkler at Stride Place, the home of the 2020 Centennial Cup.
Trade Deadline key additions: Noah Giesbrecht, Parker Malchuk, Carter Barley, Austen Flaman, Chase Felgueiras.
4th Place - Swan Valley Stampeders - 25-13-4 = 54 points.
The Stampeders now face a bit of an internal blow moving forward. They dealt their top scorer, Mattias Dal Monte to the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in the BCHL. Without their top offensive player and top defenceman, the landscape of this team has changed.
However, they did receive a boost when they acquired Parker Rey. He started the season with the SJHL's Battlefords North Stars and in his first game as a Stampeder, he shutout Neepawa earlier this week.
Despite losing Dal Monte, Swan Valley still has plenty of offensive options. Five other Stamps' have at least 30 points while Josh Maucieri is sitting at 29.
Swan Valley plays OCN and Neepawa this week prior to their break.
Trade Deadline key additions: Parker Rey, Colton Sun.
5th Place - Waywayseecappo Wolverines - 22-16-3-2 = 49 points.
The team has played the most games in the league with 43 and when it comes to goals allowed, they've allowed the seventh-most when it comes to playoff teams. However, the Wolverines are an extremely gritty team and they have the skill to work down opponents which is why they are one of the stronger teams.
However, the goals against issue continues to be a reason why the team hasn't been able to make a jump up the standings. Wayway has lost three of their four games so far in 2020 and they've allowed 19 goals in the process. The Wolverines also shutout Winnipeg, so really, the team has allowed 19 goals in three games.
Wayway will look to get back on track with a home-set against Selkirk beginning tomorrow and ending Friday.
Trade Deadline key additions: Colin Ahern.
6th Place - Virden Oil Capitals - 22-15-2-2 = 48 points.
The Oil Capitals score a lot, in fact, the team has scored the most goals in the league with 170. That will happen when you have three scorers that have at least 49 points. Kolten Kanaski has that amount while Tanner Andrew has 52 and Hunter Cloutier leads the team with 56.
Five other players have at least 29 points so Virden has plenty of guys who can put the puck in the back of the net and set others up.
Virden's offence, however, has gone somewhat quiet in their last two games. They have just three regulation goals in the past two contests, but Virden still has a win during that time.
Trade Deadline key additions: Darren Gisti.
7th Place - Dauphin Kings - 20-17-3-2 = 45 points.
The team that made perhaps the biggest splash before the deadline and through some additions shortly after.
Just like Virden, Dauphin has several players who have had tremendous offensive seasons. Grady Hobbs leads the league with 57 points while Nakodan Greyeyes has 52 points. In all, Dauphin has six players who have at least 30 points this season.
After a two-game losing streak, Dauphin's offence has caught fire as they have nine goals in their last two games en route to picking up two wins.
Levi Mitchell has also made 66 saves in the past two games.
Dauphin plays Portage this Friday before the break.
Trade Deadline key additions: Bryson Cecconi, Kaden Bryant, Levi Mitchell, Colby Jaquet.
8th Place - Selkirk Steelers - 18-19-2-1 = 39 points.
They've lost some of their best players over the course of the season. That includes Carter Barley, Brett Namaka, Colby Jaquet, and Levi Mitchell, just to name a few. However, the Steelers continue to plug away and they occupy the final playoff spot.
Their most recent win was against the Portage Terriers as they prepare for three-games in three-nights prior to the break. Two of those games are in Waywayseecappo while they also play Neepawa on the third night.
With the deletion of Barley, Blake Burr will be relied upon heavily to continue with his solid season, he has 38 points so far.
Trade Deadline key additions: Nolan Dawson, Rory Dumelie.
9th Place - Winnipeg Blues - 16-23-3 = 35 points.
The Winnipeg Blues are young, they have new owners, a new facility, and they're just four points back of a playoff spot. They made no moves at the deadline, but they made it work for them in their most recent outing.
They picked up two points against Neepawa. Besides Neepawa, Winnipeg has allowed the most goals in the league, however, they do have two very strong goaltenders. Cooper Hatfield who has held the team in most games while Will Gurski began the season in the Western Hockey League.
Winnipeg plays just one more game prior to the break and it comes on home ice against the Virden Oil Capitals.
Trade Deadline key additions: None
10th Place - OCN Blizzard - 13-25-4 = 30 points.
The Blizzard unloaded their leading scorer and top defenceman and now they're even younger than they were. However, they are a team that never gives up and they are still in the playoff conversation. But, for that to happen, the Blizz will need to heat up.
Zack Cloutier's 6-13-3 record doesn't indicate how good of a goaltender he actually is. His .904 save percentage does as he faces more than 35 shots regularly. He also made 62 saves in a game earlier this season.
OCN plays one game against Steinbach before the break.
Trade Deadline key additions: Bradyn Smelski.
11th Place - Neepawa Natives - 8-30-1-3 = 20 points.
Dating back to the beginning of last season to now, 204 points have been up for grabs for Neepawa over the course of 102 games. In that time, Neepawa has secured 46 points and this year, Neepawa is 19 points back of a playoff spot and they only have 18 more games.
In 2020, Neepawa has gone 2-3-0-1 and barring a near-perfect ending to the season, they'll miss the playoffs for the second straight year. Neepawa's team does include some Parkland talent. Brad Marshall and Jaegar Lapointe help boost the team's offence.
Neepawa plays Swan Valley and Selkirk on home ice this weekend prior to the break.
This is a full look at the 2019-20 MJHL standings through Tuesday, January 14. Stay tuned for more of these leading up to the playoffs.
Trade Deadline key additions: None