THUNDER BAY, Ont. – Skating in his first season in the Superior International Junior Hockey League, Bryce Young of the Red Lake Miners has made quite the impression.
The 19-year-old forward, who hails from The Pas, Man., enters play this weekend on the verge of joining an exclusive club in the history of the league.
In the 18-year run of the SIJHL, only three players have managed to score 50 or more times in a single regular season.
Young will hit the ice tonight in Thief River Falls at 7 p.m. CT as the Miners kick off a two-game set vs. the hometown Norskies at Ralph Engelstad Arena needing just one more marker to reach the 50-goal plateau on the campaign.
His 49 tallies to date in 2018-19 currently lead all players in the league as do his 79 total points.
The SIJHL All-Star is having a MVP-type season in Red Lake and brings a skill set that that has caught the attention of many with his knack of putting the puck in the back of the net, when given the opportunity.
“Bryce has a quick release and he doesn’t like to waste time once he receives the puck,” offered Miners’ head coach and general manager Derek Sweet-Coulter on discussing his team’s offensive leader.
“It (the puck) is not on his stick long and his shot is heavy,” stated the Red Lake bench boss. “He is deceptive as well when he shoots the puck as he has the ability to get the goalie to go down with slight movements in his arms and shoulders just prior to releasing the shot.”
With a league-best five hat tricks already this season, Young has 18 multi-goal games in his first 40 SIJHL contests and hasn’t gone more than two outings during the campaign without scoring at least once while only having been held off the score sheet a mere seven times to date.
“Bryce is able to find those soft areas in the offensive zone and get open,” stated Sweet-Coulter. “His overall hockey awareness is at a high level especially in the neutral and offensive zones. He can play in all situations; he’s able to surprise defenders by changing speeds in the neutral zone and he’s able to anticipate transition and feel the game at an incredibly high level.”
As mentioned, that next marker for Young would see him become just the fourth player in league tenure to hit the half-century mark in tallies.
The other three to accomplish the feat all helped lead their respective clubs to Bill Salonen Cup championships in the seasons they notched 50 or more markers.
The SIJHL record for goals in a season was set back in 2005-06 by Kory McEwan as the Thunder Bay product scored 69 times while helping power the Fort William North Stars to both a SIJHL and Dudley-Hewitt Cup crown and a berth in Canadian Jr. A championship where they advanced to the semifinals.
One year later in 2006-07, Chris Bryson tallied 56 times for the Schreiber Diesels as they too went on to win the Bill Salonen Cup.
The last SIJHLer to reach 50-plus goals in a season was just in 2016-17 when then SIJHL MVP Braedin Allkins lit the lamp on 53 occasions for the Dryden GM Ice Dogs en route to a league title.
As for Young, that next goal for him will add his name to this exclusive list of SIJHL standouts.
|SIJHL SINGLE SEASON 50-GOAL SCORERS|
|2005-06||Kory McEwan||Fort William North Stars||69|
|2006-07||Chris Bryson||Schreiber Diesels||56|
|2016-17||Braedin Allkins||Dryden GM Ice Dogs||53|
|2018-19||Bryce Young||Red Lake Miners||49*|
Young photo credit: Patrick Boucha