Things are beginning to get awfully close in the Alliance standings.
In a week that saw many teams deal with some ups and downs, two teams continued to play increasingly well and are shooting themselves up the standings as we reach the midway point of the season.
The big thing for most teams at this point is to either remain or get healthy. Tournament season is upon us as tournaments like the Whitby Silver Stick, Waterloo Gold Puck and the Marlies Holiday Classic all just around the corner. Teams will want to have their best lineup on hand when battling the various teams they will meet in these tournaments.
While the top spot in the rankings remains unchanged, there are some movers and shakers this week.
- London Jr. Knights (1) – London continues to be the class of the league. A tough tie against Waterloo was followed up by a 8-2 downing of Windsor in a game that seemingly got out of hand near the end. London hosts Kitchener tonight in a rematch from a month ago where the two teams tied in Kitchener.
- Waterloo Wolves (2) – The Wolves are still holding on to the 2nd spot in the rankings despite being winless in their past four games. The first thing for Waterloo is to get healthy as their loss in Cambridge yesterday saw just 10 regulars dress with Keean Washkurak out of action. The Wolves get Sun County and Chatham this week.
- Cambridge Hawks (3) – Cambridge continues to hold onto the 3rd spot after extending their winning streak to five games this weekend. The Hawks are starting to get it together with everyone now healthy again. Like Waterloo, the Hawks get the Panthers and Cyclones this week looking to build on their momentum.
- Kitchener Jr. Rangers (4) – Kitchener looked stellar against Chatham-Kent on Saturday night and then came out flat against Brantford on Sunday, needing three straight goals to just secure a tie. The 2nd half of the season will tell a lof about this Jr. Ranger team. 12 of their final 14 games are against teams currently sitting in a playdown spot.
- Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs (5) – A 3-2 win over Windsor gave Elgin their 6th straight victory. The Chiefs are hitting their stride at the right time as the Silver Stick approaches in a couple of weeks. The Chiefs are off until a game with Huron-Perth on Sunday. The big test comes one week from today, another battle against the Jr. Knights.
- Windsor Jr. Spitfires (6) – Windsor began their weekend on a winning note, but then fell to both London and Elgin to end the weekend on a sour note. While still with a record above 500, Windsor now has allowed more goals then they have scored which is something that could come back to haunt this team.
- Sun County Panthers (7) – Every week I feel like I say that the Panthers are on the cusp of breaking out. I still think it is there, but it still hasn’t made an appearance just yet. The Panthers get Waterloo and Cambridge this week in a couple of games that could shape their season one way or another.
- Hamilton Huskies (8) – The Huskies are slowly creeping their way up the standings and have the 7th ranked Panthers in their sights. Hamilton got a big W over Waterloo this past week in what has become their trend over the past while, a tight game. That was more apparent with a 3-3 tie to Sun County as well. Hamilton gets a surging Lakers team this week in their lone ice time.
- Chatham-Kent Cyclones (11) – The Cyclones finally ended that nasty losing streak this week with a couple wins over Huron-Perth and Lambton. With Grayson Ladd still out of the lineup, Briar Dittmer has taken his game up a notch in hopes of getting Chatham back on track.
- Huron-Perth Lakers (9) – If you haven’t seen the Lakers play over the past few weeks, this is a completely different team than the one that began the year. While still not winning every game, they are giving difficult opponents trouble. Having Tyson Koopman back in the lineup gives Huron-Perth some more offensive power.
- Lambton Jr. Sting (10) – The Jr. Sting have played a league high 20 games this season and have now surrendered 105 goals against. Having played so many games so quickly, Lambton gets some time off to prepare for their final 13 games, in which a good win streak can still have them sneak into playdowns.
- Brantford 99ers (12) – The 99ers are doing their best claw their way out of the bottom of the Alliance standings. A win over Lambton and a disappointing tie with Kitchener gave Brantford a bit of momentum heading into this week. Unforuntaely, Brantford doesn’t get back into action until next Wednesday.