The holiday break is quickly approaching but the Alliance action is also heating up as the stretch run is getting closer and closer.
With league action wrapping up on Friday until January 2nd, this past week was a busy one for the teams. While most will keep busy attending the Toronto Marlies tournament, the seeding for the Alliance playdowns is still far from determined. There will be plenty of work to do in the final three weeks of the regular season before teams get a clearer picture of where they are heading come February 5th.
- London Jr. Knights (1) – With a week between games, London had a big 11-1 win over Lambton last Monday, but needed a last minute goal to finish up a tie with the Kitchener Jr. Rangers. At the break, London currently has the four top point getters in the Alliance this season. Even more impressive, London has allowed just 36 goals in 25 games.
- Waterloo Wolves (2) – Waterloo is now riding a 10 game winning streak after an eight point week last week. While the Wolves had a good showing against Elgin-Middlesex, the Wolves left a little to be desired in tight wins against Brantford and Lambton. Waterloo has a date in Kitchener tomorrow against a Jr. Rangers team they have had loads of success against this season.
- Kitchener Jr. Rangers (3) – Yes, they had an impressive showing in London last night, but they also came out flat against Hamilton this past Saturday. The roller coaster season for Kitchener concludes 2016 with them hosting the Wolves Wednesday night. Kitchener is 0-3 this year against Waterloo with a couple of lopsided losses.
- Cambridge Hawks (4) – The weather wrecked havoc with the Hawks schedule this past weekend, but they finally got into action with a victory over Chatham-Kent Sunday. The defense is now healthy for Cambridge as they reach the stretch run. While the defense is back in tact, the offense will still be missing the energy of Steven Grant, who could return come playdown time.
- Windsor Jr. Spitfires (5) – Windsor edged out Brantford in their lone game of the week. The Jr. Spitfires, along with Cambridge, are in a prime position to gain home ice for the opening round of playdowns. The final Alliance game of 2016 will be in Windsor, when they host the Cyclones.
- Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs (6) – A shorthanded Chiefs team was shutout by Waterloo this past Friday and it wasn’t a game the Chiefs could take a lot away from. The Chiefs have been missing Navrin Mutter and forward Jakob Marche was serving a suspension. The Chiefs will be in a final month battle with Windsor and Cambridge for the 4th spot in the league.
- Hamilton Huskies (7) – The Huskies skated to a 1-1 record last week, but their win over Kitchener was one of the best games I’ve seen them play this season. The accuracy in their breakout plays were something to be hold. If the offense can hold up and the defense gets Ben Sheppard back to solidify itself, Hamilton could become a dangerous team in the near future.
- Sun County Panthers (8) – The Panthers had a huge four point weekend which included a third period comeback win over Brantford. The wins gave Sun County some breathing room when it comes to the 8th spot in the Alliance. It appears the Panthers will ride Aidan Pitre to the end and he is definitely a goalie who can alter a season.
- Brantford 99ers (9) – While the didn’t win a game this past week, Brantford played some very competitive and close games against good Alliance teams. Their losses to Waterloo and Sun County were both blown third period leads. Brantford hosts Hamilton before the break and a win could set off some momentum for a final postseason push.
- Chatham-Kent Cyclones (10) – The Cyclones missed out on a golden chance when they fell 2-0 to the Sun County Panthers. Chatham now sits three points behind Sun County with nine games to play. The Cyclones are in Elgin on Tuesday night against a reeling Chiefs squad.
- Lambton Jr. Sting (11) – Lambton went 0-2 last week while being outscored 14-1 in those two games. The London loss inflates those numbers and their game against Waterloo actually have Lambton outplaying the Wolves for significant portions of the game. Lambton now only has five games remaining and waits over two weeks before their next league game.
- Huron-Perth Lakers (12) – Huron-Perth has now lost nine consecutive games and continue to struggle on the offensive side. A 9-2 loss to Waterloo on Sunday also shows some areas of opportunity on defense as well. The Lakers don’t return to action until January 6th when they once again take on Waterloo.