What a crazy week it was in the Alliance.
It was a week where it really solidified the notion that no team is unbeatable and anybody can win on any given night. It was a week where the Hamilton Huskies played Waterloo to a 2-2 tie and then proceeded to give up 17 goals in two games over the weekend.
Only one thing is for certain right now and that is this years playdowns are going to showcase some fantastic parity driven hockey and the beginning of February could not come soon enough.
Here we go with the latest Alliance Scout Minor Midget Rankings.
1. London Jr. Knights (1) – Still not blowing teams out of the water, London continues to be the most talent driven team in the Alliance. Strong offense to go along with some talent on the back end and much like it has been for the past few seasons, London is one of the teams to beat.
2. Waterloo Wolves (2) – If London is one of the teams to beat, Waterloo is the other. Wolves played Hamilton to a 2-2 tie earlier in the week and then came out with a close win over Sun County Saturday night. Waterloo now looks towards the Toronto Marlies tournament to sustain some momentum.
3. Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs (3) – The Chiefs are just on the cusp of joining Waterloo and London in that top echelon of teams, they just aren’t there yet. The Chiefs split two games with Windsor over the weekend after being upset for Chatham-Kent on Tuesday. While entrenched in the third spot now, there are teams coming up the rear and gaining steam.
4. Kitchener Jr. Rangers (5) – One team gaining steam is the Kitchener Jr. Rangers who absolutely rocked the Hamilton Huskies 9-4 this weekend, picking apart the defense while still without Justin McCombs who is recovering from an injury. One year ago Kitchener shocked many by going to the finals of the Marlies tournament. Could 2015 be a repeat of 2014?
5. Windsor Jr. Spitfires (6) – Windsor has been one of the more inconsistent teams of the year in the Alliance with some much potential, but always stumbling a bit when they get hot. A 5-0 shutout win over Elgin may be the spark Windsor needs to help recreate the success this 2000 team had in Bantam last season.
6. Huron-Perth Lakers (7) – It’s hard to say the Lakers are back following their huge win over Hamilton Sunday just because they lost at home 3-2 to Sun County just two days later. Let’s rephrase that and say Brady Hinz is back because he is and he contributed five points in their win yesterday. Next step for the Lakers, the return of Owen Gilhula.
7. Hamilton Huskies (4) – The Huskies began their weekend on quite the high with a 2-2 tie against Waterloo. Unfortunately they followed that up with a 9-4 loss in Kitchener and then an 8-2 defeat at the hands of Huron-Perth. Key for Hamilton going forward is that their defense needs to be shored up. You will some, but not many just trying to outscore your opponents in a shootout.
8. Lambton Jr. Sting (8) – I’ve said it many of times and I will continue to do so, I just can’t get a read on Lambton. Some nights I see them and they look great and other nights I’m left with a few question marks. The Jr. Sting went goalless in two games this weekend and have a date in Chatham-Kent Wednesday with the goal of a win before the holiday break.
9. Chatham-Kent Cyclones (9) – Maybe the Cyclones biggest win of the season came Tuesday when they went on the road and posted a 3-0 shutout win over Elgin-Middlesex. They followed that up with a win over Brantford and a close loss to the Jr. Knights. Cyclones take on the Jr. Sting Wednesday in a big game when it comes to the top eight and making the playdowns.
10. Sun County Panthers (11) – For the first time this season, the Panthers climbed out of the 11th spot and power their way to #10 in the rankings on the heel of a pretty impressive week. The Panthers went just 2-2 this week, but it was their game against Waterloo that showed me the Panthers are on the rise while others are declining.
11. Brantford 99ers (10) – When I say teams are declining, the 99ers have fallen on tough times as of late. Two losses this week has put the 99ers down into 11th place in the standings, albeit with two games in hand. Brantford will hope 2016 is better when they resume Alliance season play.
12. Cambridge Hawks (12) – The Hawks are still in search of that ever elusive first win and they were unsuccessful once again this weekend, dropping a 6-3 decision to Sun County. The Hawks are in Kitchener Wednesday for their final game of 2015, but not all is bleak in Cambridge. The bantam squad is one of the best in the Alliance and has a legitimate shot at vying for the championship.