Without a doubt all of the attention has been focused squarely on the Springfield Xtreme, Red River Mudbugs, Steinbach Huskies, Lorette Comets & St. Adolphe Hawks and the race for first place in the Hanover Tache Junior Hockey League and who gets the bye to the semifinals.

Also at stake is who will have home ice advantage in round one of the playoffs.

There are two teams at the bottom of the standings who aren't concerned about home ice advantage but are quietly going about their business and playing some pretty decent hockey as the regular season schedule winds down.

The sixth place Grunthal Red Wings went to Steinbach on Wednesday and built a 4-0 lead before the Huskies rallied for four unanswered third period goals.

Steinbach's Haden Hiebert completed the comeback as he potted his second goal of the game in overtime.

The seventh place Mitchell Mohawks, who defeated the Huskies 3-2 at the T.G. Smith Centre back on January 22nd, traveled to St. Jean on Thursday.

The Mudbugs got an empty net goal from Adam Zalluski and beat the Mohawks 7-5.

"I saw a hard fought game," said Mitchell coach Steve Larson. "We got down by two goals a few times throughout the game and each time we battled back and made it a one-goal game. It just seemed whenever we did that, we had a little bit of let down. It might not have been letdown - just maybe Red River picked up their tempo of play, outmatched us and made it a two-spot again. Also their power play killed us. They have one of the best in the league and that really sunk us."

The Mohawks won two of their first three games to start the season and then lost 10 of their next 11 to end the 2016 portion of their schedule.

Mitchell has fared much better in 2017.

"The first two-thirds of the season we were playing on average 10-12 skaters," said coach Larson. "We've had 14, 15, 16 the last six games and with that depth we can really get our guys going. We don't have to sit back and hope we have the stamina in the third period. We can actually play our game right through to the full 60."

The Mohawks have three games left and are two points back of the Red Wings.

Mitchell will host Lorette and Steinbach and play their regular season finale in St. Adolphe against the Hawks.

"We want to get a winning attitude going," said the Mohawks bench boss. "At the beginning of the season we would see a close game followed by a 6-0 loss - a lopsided one. The last five or six have all been one or two-goal games. You want to see that battle level because every team makes the playoffs. We're hoping to catch Grunthal obviously. That would be nice for morale and also means we get another win or two the rest of the way. We want to get the work ethic going that can carry over into the playoffs."


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SCOREBOARD

Sunday, February 19th

HTJHL
Quarterfinals
Steinbach 8 Grunthal 0
(Huskies lead best of 5 series 2-1)
Mitchell 3 Springfield 2
(Mohawks lead series 2-1)

Keystone Junior Hockey League
Lundar 8 St. Malo 3

MJHL
Wpg Blues 3 Neepawa 2 (OT)

MFMHL
Quarterfinal
Eastman 5 Yellowhead 2
(Selects lead best of 5 series 2-1)

Manitoba AAA Midget Hockey League
Eastman 4 Pembina Valley 2
Southwest 3 Brandon 1
Wpg Thrashers 6 Central Plains 5 (OT)
Wpg Wild 7 Yellowhead 1
Interlake 3 Kenora 3 (tie)
Parkland 7 Norman 2
(end of regular season schedule)

City AAA Midget Hockey League
Wpg Warriors 6 Eastman 2

NHL
Winnipeg 3 Ottawa 2
N.Y. Rangers 2 Washington 1
Detroit 5 Pittsburgh 2
Chicago 5 Buffalo 1
Nashville 4 Columbus 3
N.Y. Islanders 6 New Jersey 4
Toronto 4 Carolina 0
Tampa Bay 3 Colorado 2 (OT)
Boston 2 San Jose 1 (OT)
Anaheim 1 Los Angeles 0
Philadelphia 3 Vancouver 2

Monday, February 20th

MJHL
Winkler at Steinbach, 2:30 p.m.
Virden at Portage, 4:30 p.m.

NHL
Florida at St. Louis, 7 p.m.
Anaheim at Arizona, 8 p.m.

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