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Warriors thrive in new CRJHL

By: Terry Frey

Posted: 01/10/2019 8:18 AM

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While legal proceedings continue against the Capital Region Junior Hockey League in this their inaugural season, play continues unabated in the new loop, as the five league members, including the St. Malo Warriors, are now into the 2019 portion of the schedule.

The Warriors, celebrating their 25th season, have had success regardless of the league they were playing in, starting first in the Manitoba Junior ‘B’ Hockey League, which morphed into the Keystone Junior Hockey League and now the Capital Region Junior Hockey League.

Five southern Manitoba teams left the KJHL to form the new CRJHL this season, largely to reduce the amount of travel and time commitment from the players in travelling to northern Manitoba. The remaining four teams in the KJHL subsequently sued the new CRJHL, citing racism, among other things, for their decision to leave the KJHL.

In December, a judge ruled against an injunction that would immediately stop play in the CRJHL, until the lawsuit was resolved.

Not surprisingly, the KJHL lost that injunction request and fortunately play goes on in the CRJHL.

And for the Warriors, providing entertaining hockey for a quarter century for fans in the St. Malo area, there has been one constant through all these years, and that is head coach and general manager Ralph Collette.

Meanwhile the Warriors, in their return to action following the Christmas break, doubled the Lundar Falcons 6-3 last Saturday at St. Malo in their first game back.

St. Malo is second in the league standings behind the Selkirk Fishermen with a 10-9-1 record.

In Saturday’s win over the Falcons, Alex Murray and Evan Anstett each had two goals to pace the Warriors. Murray had a four-point outing as he also added two assists. Brennan Schidlowsky and Logan Bueckert rounded out the St. Malo scoring.

Hunter Neilson had a strong game in net for the Warriors making 33 saves as the Falcons outshot the Warriors 36-34 in the contest.

For his part, Collette says he’s excited about with how things are going this year, "our team is playing well, we love the parity in the league."

All five teams in the league will make the playoffs, with the fourth and fifth place finishers playing off in a best of three qualifying series to determine the final semi-final team. The final two rounds will both be best of seven affairs. The regular season concludes on Feb. 24.

St. Malo’s Tyrel Bueckert and Robert Guimond continue to sit one-two in the league scoring race. Bueckert leads with 16 goals and 30 points in 20 games, three points ahead of Guimond.

The Warriors next see action Saturday night at Arborg for a 7:30 p.m. clash against the Ice Dawgs and then Jan. 15 at North Winnipeg. The next home game for the Warriors will be Friday, Jan. 18 vs. Arborg.

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