It is the final edition of the Alliance Scout team rankings. The next time we are due to put out some rankings, the regular season will be over and the postseason gearing up to begin. At that point, we will replace the team rankings with series previews going forward.
As we currently stand, the postseason picture is still very murky. There is the top tier of Elgin, Hamilton and Waterloo that are all battling for positioning. Then there is the middle of the standings where four points separates fourth from seventh. It will come down to the very last weekend before we can positively say who will match up with who in the opening round.
The following rankings include some season play but with the holiday break squeezed in there, some teams did not have a plethora of games. We also did see four Alliance teams make it out of round robin play at the Marlies Holiday tournament with the Huskies losing in overtime in the quarter-finals.
- Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs (1) – Still undefeated in league play, the Chiefs made a run to the round of 16 at the Marlies before bowing out. Despite their undefeated play, the Chiefs are still in a fight for top spot with Waterloo and Hamilton.
- Hamilton Huskies (3) – The Huskies are playing fantastic hockey at the moment. A double overtime loss in the quarter-finals at the Marlies showed many what Alliance viewers have known for some time. Hamilton has a huge battle with Waterloo tonight that could impact the team that comes out with the 2nd seed.
- Waterloo Wolves (2) – Disappointing showing at the Marlies tournament shouldn’t take away that the Wolves are three points behind the Chiefs with a game in hand. A bounce here or there and Waterloo could find themselves atop the Alliance standings.
- Huron-Perth Lakers (4) – Secured a big win over Windsor this past weekend to remain in a good position to claim 4th spot and home ice in the opening round.
- London Jr. Knights (6) – London continues to showcase as a tournament team with another good showing at the Marlies tournament. Even with that success, the Jr. Knights will need to win both of their final two games just to secure a 500 record in league play.
- Brantford 99ers (8) – The surprise team over the holidays were the 99ers as they advanced out of the round robin at the Marlies tournament as well. With the team playing as it is behind coach Scott Rex, they may be on the short list of teams you don’t want to play in the first round.
- Lambton Jr. Sting (5) – Rough go as of late for the Jr. Sting as they’ve won once in their past five games. That one win did clinch a playdown spot for Lambton, something they haven’t done in five years.
- Windsor Jr. Spitfires (7) – Every time I think Windsor is ready to take that next step, there is a small setback. With the schedule they have remaining, there is a distinct chance that they could see themselves sitting in eighth come January 20th.
- Kitchener Jr. Rangers (10) – Kitchener has been playing some very good hockey as of late. Considering what I saw from them at the beginning of the season, no team has surpassed my expectation quite like the Jr. Rangers.
- Cambridge Hawks (9) – The Hawks at one point were right in the thick of the playdown race and sitting in 4th or 5th earlier in the season. Now having just two wins in their past 16 games, Cambridge might be in tough in the first round of the playoff rounds at this rate.
- Sun County Panthers (11) – SCP was very close to jumping to 10th in these rankings but I just couldn’t pull the trigger. With a league high eight ties this season, a few goals here or there and it’s a completely different story this year for the Panthers.
- Chatham-Kent Cyclones (12) – The Cyclones have an outside chance at moving up to 11th in the standings, it won’t be easy. Chatham does have the chance to play spoiler with games against Lambton, Waterloo and Elgin upcoming.