AROUND THE AJHL: Deis builds on impressive resume

The Okotoks Oiler’s bench boss is coming off 2017-18 Alberta Junior Hockey League and CJHL coach of the year awards.

Noah Corson (middle) was named AJHL player of the week after notching nine points over the last two games. File photo/Postmedia Network

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Tyler Deis will lead Team West into familiar territory at the Canadian Junior Hockey League Prospects Game.

The Okotoks Oiler’s bench boss is coming off 2017-18 Alberta Junior Hockey League and CJHL coach of the year awards. He’s been selected as the head coach of Team West, and will be tasked with taking down Rockland Nationals head coach Daniel Sauve and Team East at the Pason Centennial Arena in Okotoks on Jan. 22 at 7:30.

Deis is in his sixth year with the Oilers organization, and third in the role of coach, general manager, and director of hockey development. During his tenure in Okotoks, the Oilers have gone 117-38-9 in 164 games, and made an appearance in the AJHL finals, before ultimately losing to the Spruce Grove Saints, last season.

Sauve is in his third season with the Nationals in the Central Canada Hockey League. The Nationals currently sit second in the CCHL Yzerman division with a record of 27-10-2 for 57 points. Sauve also served as an assistant coach for the CCHL select squad that won bronze at the 2018 Jr. Club World Cup in Sochi, Russia this past August.

Trade Deadline approaching

Teams will be looking to bolster their rosters ahead of the Jan. 10 trade deadline. Already the Camrose Kodiaks have been active, acquiring goaltender Kyle Dumba from Victoria in the British Colombia Hockey League, after the Seattle Thunderbirds of the Western Hockey League scooped up their starting tender, Roddy Ross.

In addition to the Kodiaks deal, the Lloydminster Bobcats traded Tucker Scantlebury to Swan Valley of the Manitoba Junior Hockey League, and the Calgary Mustangs acquired Noah Kim from Wenatchee (BCHL) in exchange for future considerations.

North Division

The Sherwood Park Crusaders are clinging to top spot in the AJHL North Division by two points after dropping two of their last three contests. The Crusaders are 29-8-2 with 60 points, after losing to the Saints (9-3) and Oilers (4-1) this past week.

Bonnyville moved within striking distance of first place after wins over the Olds Grizzlys, and Camrose Kodiaks. The Pontiacs hold a record of 28-9-2 for 58 points.

With wins over the Crusaders and Canmore Eagles, Spruce Grove held off the chasing Fort McMurray Oil Barons for third place, with a record of 24-14-2 for 50 points through 40 games. The Oil Barons downed the Olds Grizzlys 6-3, but fell 6-3 to the Calgary Mustangs. They sit three points behind the Saints with 47 and a 20-12-7 record.

Grande Prairie held fifth spot down with 42 points, the Drayton Valley Thunder continued their ascent and surpassed the Whitecourt Wolverines for sixth with 37 points. Whitecourt has 34 points for the seventh and final playoff spot. Lloydminster is on the outside looking in with 17 points on the season.

South Division

With 20 games to go, there’s nothing to separate teams in the South Division.

It’s been a log jam all season long, but as the playoff push intensifies, teams in the South are refusing to give an inch. Brooks pushed their current winning streak to 13 games, improving their overall record to 37-3-0 for 74 points. They’re running away with first place.

Second through sixth, however, is wide open. Okotoks surged into second place after wins in eight of their last nine games. Their only loss? you guessed it, the Brooks Bandits. The Oilers hold a record of 25-14-1 for 51 points. From there, the Camrose Kodiaks sit third with 48 points, the Drumheller Dragons also have 48, but drop to fourth because Camrose holds the tiebreaker.

The Calgary Mustangs moved themselves into the conversation for second place after rattling off six wins in a row. They are two points back of the Dragons and Kodiaks with 46 points. Finally, the Canmore Eagles dropped to 43 points in sixth after losing twice to the Bandits and dropping contests to the Crusaders and Saints this past week.

As the battle of the basement rages on, The Calgary Canucks and Olds Grizzlys are determined to go down to the wire for the final playoff spot, with 13, and 11 points respectively.

Special Teams Gurus

Brooks retained the best power play in the league at 29.38 per cent, with the Canmore Eagles chasing at 24.89 per cent and the Crusaders closely trailing at 24.40 per cent. Drumheller and Fort McMurray are fourth and fifth with power play percentages of 21.11 and 20.11respectively.

Sherwood Park continued their dominance on the penalty kill, improving to 85.96 per cent on the year, with 24 goals against in 171 total times shorthanded. Drumheller kills penalties almost as frequently at 85.92 per cent.

The Bandits have moved into third, killing off 85.12 per cent of opponents power-plays. The surging Pontiacs and Oilers hold fourth and fifth place killing 84.80 per cent and 84.73 per cent of power plays against respectively.

Scoring Leaders

It didn’t take Dylan Holloway long to recover from missing time in the AJHL while helping Team Canada West earn a bronze medal at the World Jr. A challenge in Bonnyville from Dec. 9-16.

Holloway notched a pair of goals in the Oilers’ latest win over the Crusaders giving him 26 on the year. He’s also added 34 assists in his 35 games with the Oilers, giving him a total of 60.

He shares top spot with Bandits forward William Lemay, who also notched his 60th point of the season in a 3-1 win over the Drumheller Dragons on Saturday. Oil Barons’ forward Reed Morison sits third with 56 points, while Crusaders teammates Garrett Clegg and Carter Savoie hold fourth and fifth place with 52 and 51 points.

A total of nine teams are represented on the top 20 scoring list. The Bandits hold the most with five. Spruce Grove does not have a scorer in the top 20 in the league.

Players of the Week

Newly acquired Grande Prairie Storm forward Noah Corson was the AJHL player of the week, after he picked up five goals and four assists over the last two games. In total, Corson has recorded six goals and seven assists in six games.

Fort McMurray Oil Barons defence man Tanner Miller earned Defensive Player of the Week honours after recording seven points in five games since the holiday break. The 20 year old is fourth month AJHL defence man in scoring with eight goals and 26 assists for a total of 34 points.

Joseph Karpyshyn earned payer of the month honours for december. The Calgary born forward leads his hometown Mustangs with 47 points. He picked up eight goals and 10 assists over nine games in December.

jthomas@postmedia.com

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