2018/19 Minor Midget Record: 21-8-4 (1st Overall)
2018/19 Minor Midget Result: Won Alliance Championship over Kitchener (1-3 OHL Cup Record)
2018/19 Major Bantam Record: 6-20-6 (11th Overall)
2018/19 Major Bantam Result: Lost to Cambridge in preliminary round
The winner of back to back Alliance championships, the Brantford 99ers will be in a tougher spot this season as they look to improve and snag a playdown position.
Following an unlikely Alliance championship in with the 2002 born group, the 99ers were favourites to repeat last season as the team was chalked full of talent. When you can puts the likes of Maddox Callens, Landon McCallum, Steven Laforme and Cole Hipkin in your lineup on a nightly basis, you’re in a good spot. Although injuries hampered their OHL Cup chances, it was the core group along with a stellar postseason from goalie Ben DiGiallonardo to secure the series win over Kitchener.
It will be a much different year upcoming for Brantford as they will try to improve on a rough year last season. The forward group for the 99ers will see a good amount of change from a year ago but they will still be led by Gavin Bryant. Bryant is the engine that keeps the offense rolling and he will be looked upon to provide timely scoring. Other forwards like Hayden McLean and Blake Kersey could also be looked at for secondary scoring.
Only three defenseman from last season returned and they are led by Ryan Vannetten. Vannetten is a very steady player in his own end while also being able to chip in offensively. Coming over from the Cambridge Hawks is Dylan McKittrick. McKittrick doesn’t have the offensive savvy of some, but he should be key when it comes to improving the defense of a team that allowed the second most goals last season.
Tyler Bouck returns in net and is joined by Seth Clarke who comes over from Ingersoll. Neither goaltender is particularly big when it comes to size but Bouck has shown strong lateral play while Clarke does a good job tracking outside shots.
It will definitely be a task for the 99ers to work their way into playdown contention. I will never doubt head coach Scott Rex and his staff as all they’ve done since joining the Alliance is win. If the defense shores up and they get some timely scoring, Brantford could be knocking on the door for the final playdown position.