It was another busy weekend in the Alliance as October comes to a close. Almost every team was in action this weekend with the exception of top dog Huron-Perth. Some teams had impressive showings such as the Windsor Jr. Spitfires as they claimed a 5-0 shutout over the Chatham-Kent Cyclones. Then there was Kitchener, who followed up a 3-2 loss in Waterloo with a stunning 3-1 loss to Sun County as the Panthers claimed just their second win of the season while the Jr. Rangers have now lost three straight.
With that said, there were a few things that stood out from the rest.
The Chiefs are making a comeback in Elgin-Middlesex.
After the Toronto Titans tournament at the beginning of September, there was plenty to be excited about in Elgin-Middlesex. The Chiefs had a solid round robin and made it to the round of 16 before being bounced. As the Alliance regular season began though, the Chiefs found themselves with some inconsistent results. Over the past couple of weeks, this week especially, the Chiefs are reminding the rest of the league that they are for real.
It really began to flow on Thursday when the Chiefs went into Hamilton and took down the Huskies in a big way with an 8-4 victory. Following that they took home a 3-2 victory over Cambridge (a game we will discuss in a minute) and they have now won three straight games and have climbed into 5th place in the standings and are knocking on the door of the Alliance Minor Midget Top 5 Rankings.
Offensively, the Chiefs have been led by top scorer Jake Murray and Wes Dobbin while Lucas Bain has been stellar in goal recording an undefeated record through six games this season. Elgin heads into the week with matchups against Sun County and Kitchener, both winnable games so we could see this streak reach the five game mark.
London Knights just keep rolling
The Chiefs of Elgin-Middlesex aren’t the only London area team that has been succeeding. The Jr. Knights, who have still only played 10 games this season, have once again become the top dog in the league. Compiling an 8-1-1 record, London has continued to show very few weaknesses in their game.
Not many could have imagined that London would be able to recreate the success of the team from 2014/15 and while they still have plenty to do in order to duplicate that success, they are definitely on the right track.
All the talk before the season was about Eric Guest and what he was going to bring to the Knights, and while he has played fantastic the season, it has been London mainstays Brett and Kyle Fisher who have led the team in scoring along with line mate Blake McConnell-Barker. Add in Guest and Joel Mazzilli and this team has a plethora of offensive threats. And we haven’t even spoken about the two-headed monster in net with Keaghan Brett and Jukka Schotter each sporting a GAA of under 2.00.
Now sitting 3rd in the standings and 2nd in the Minor Midget Rankings, don’t be shocked to see the Jr. Knights at the top of both lists in the not too distant future.
Cambridge Hawks not an easy out in search of first win
It’s not easy to watch a team struggle game after game and that has been a story for this season with the Cambridge Hawks. Still in search of their first win this season, the Hawks have suffered blowouts and suspensions throughout the season and has never really been able to maintain a consistent lineup for a long stretch of games.
After their two games this weekend, nobody can doubt the will and determination of the Hawks as they played two very good teams and played two very tough games. On Saturday, the Hawks played the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs very tight and even opened up the scoring just 90 seconds into the game. Although they fell 3-2, even the Chiefs acknowledged how close of a game the Hawks played.
Sunday night was an even bigger example of a team still playing hard despite their results when Cambridge hosted Waterloo. Although Waterloo had the speed advantage, two Hawk goals mixed with the stellar play of Kailem Chappelle in net had Cambridge leading the Wolves going into the third period. Some bad penalties and an untimely injury led to another Hawks loss, but the determination was clearly evident.
Sometimes it is hard to find positives in teams that continually struggle, but Cambridge hasn’t been that team recently.