It was another competitive week in the Hanover Tachi Junior Hockey League – teams combined for 27 goals in the four league games. Steinbach Jr. Huskies (3-2-0-1) opened the weekend with another home victory, this time over Springfield Xtreme 5-4 while Red River Mudbugs downed Lorette Comets 3-1 on Friday night. Grunthal Jr. Red Wings (5-1-0-0) stayed on top of the league standings with a hard-fought 5-3 win over Mitchell Mohawks the following night. Springfield (3-2-0-1) closed weekend play on Sunday night defeating Red River 4-2.
With the game even at 2-2 Springfield picked up a much-needed win against the Mudbugs (4-2-0-0), who they now trail by just one point in the standings. Xtreme forward Riley Welsh was instrumental in the the victory scoring twice while adding an assist on the winning goal scored by Colin Ross. Welsh added two assists in the game against Steinbach for a five-point weekend and is the Week 6 HTJHL Player of the Week.
Born in Oakbank, MB the 19-year old grew up playing in the Springfield Icehawks Minor Hockey system and was a 10th Round selection of the Swift Current Broncos in the 2011 WHL Bantam Draft. Welch played two seasons (2011-13) of Midget hockey with the Eastman Selects scoring 18 goals and 25 assists in 75 games.
After a very successful season of high school hockey with the Springfield Sabres (27 GP: 37 goals, 43 assists) Welsh began his Junior hockey career in the Manitoba Junior Hockey League. Welsh scored one goal in four games with the Swan Valley Stampeders in the Fall of 2014 before deciding to return home to play with the hometown Springfield Xtreme. Playing 19 regular season games in 2014-15 Welsh was second among team scorers with 25 points.
This season the 6’0″ 180 lbs. winger has stepped up his game, currently tied for second in league scoring (6 GP: 4 goals, 4 assists). He also likes the way the Springfield season is progressing:
Every game we seem to be picking up the level of play and buying into the systems in place. We know we have what it takes to make good things happen this season and we’re hoping the work we put in each game will eventually help us succeed in reaching our goal, a championship.
With one more season of Junior eligibility, Welsh is hoping to eventually get into law enforcement. Asked if college hockey would be included in that future Welsh said, “Whatever happens, happens!”
2015-16 HTJHL Player of the Week
Week 1: Bailey Fehr, Grunthal Jr. Red Wings
Week 2: Luke Friesen, Mitchell Mohawks
Week 3: Walker Enns and Luke Friesen, Mitchell Mohawks
Week 4: Jayden Sabourin, Red River Mudbugs
Week 5: Haden Hiebert, Steinbach Huskies
Week 6: Riley Welsh, Springfield Xtreme