We only have one month to go in the regular season and it should be a busy one. Not only are 10 of the 12 Alliance teams making the trip for the Toronto Marlboros Holiday tournament beginning today, but the standings in the Alliance are super tight.
Heading into 2020, there is a three point separation between Elgin, Hamilton and Waterloo for the top three spots in the league. Following those teams, only four points separates 4th from 8th place with the Cambridge Hawks and Kitchener Jr. Rangers still clinging to life for that final playdown spot.
As we are looking at player rankings this time around, below is the December edition of the rankings as I once again have players slotted in A, B and C categories.
A new year leads us to a new format for the Alliance Scout player rankings. In previous years, the site would release a top 25 player list during the Toronto Marlboros tournament and then a final list prior to the OHL Priority Selection.
This year, we are changing things up. Rather than just having two rankings, we will be releasing a new ranking every month. And rather than just doing the top 25, we will be modeling the list after how OHL and NHL Central Scouting does their lists. Doing these lists monthly will allow for a more accurate representation and also can allow for players who have been having strong months to make their way onto the lists.
Prospects have been split into three different categories. Those in the “A Prospect” pool are players who I see as the cream of the crop and those who could be hearing their name called in the opening four rounds of the OHL Draft. A player under the “B Prospect” heading I believe could be going in rounds 5-10 while players in the C category could be going in rounds 11-15. Players names are all listed alphabetically and not in any ranking order.
So without any further delay, here is our initial list.
As the calendar turns to November, the standings in the Alliance are starting to shape up more and more. Trends are starting to emerge, and we are getting close to the point where playdown matchups are being discussed according to who is in what position.
While the Alliance has now been putting out their bi-weekly top five rankings for the teams over the past month, I will begin bi-weekly league wide rankings for those weeks where the league focuses on the bantams.
Here we go with the first edition of the Alliance Scout Team Rankings, which I hope to put out every two weeks.
2018/19 Minor Midget Record: 5-25-3 (11th Overall)
2018/19 Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2018/19 Major Bantam Record: 14-15-3 (6th Overall)
2019/19 Major Bantam Result: Lost in preliminary round to Chatham-Kent
Ever since I started this website, the Lambton Jr. Sting are the only team that has not played a playdown game. If I’m correct in my thinking, that streak should end in the upcoming season.
Last year was a tough year for the minor midgets. The struggles were there on both sides of the ice was the Jr. Sting were second to last in the loop in both goals for and goals against. There were some bright spots to the season. Carson Peer emerged early on as a player who could be relied on offensively while Ethan Mathews was a steady defender on a very physical blue line. At the end of things, Lambton missed out on the playdowns for the 4th consecutive year.
The 2019 OHL Priority Selection has come and gone and although we still do have the U18 draft to look forward to tomorrow evening, it’s time to put a nice tidy little bow on the events from this past Saturday.
In total, 40 players from the Alliance were selected on Saturday morning/afternoon. That included 25 forwards, 12 defense and 3 goaltenders. The 40 player mark is right around the average of where the Alliance normally is in terms of players selected. Since the 2015 OHL Priority Selection, the average number of players is 40.4.
In terms of Alliance teams, it was the London Jr. Knights who led the way with eight players selected. The Jr. Knights continue their trend of having the most players selected from their teams of all Alliance centres.
We have finally made it to the holiday break, which actually isn’t much of a break for many teams. 10 of the 12 Alliance squads will be participating in the Toronto Marlboros Holiday Classic, with just the Chatham-Kent Cyclones and the Lambton Jr. Sting skipping out on the tournament.
The new year will bring plenty of battles and lots of exciting play in the Alliance loop. While the eight teams that will be advancing to the playdowns seems to get clearer and clearer every day, it is the battle for positioning that should take us down to the wire. Add in the new postseasons twist of the “consolation” playoff winner having a shot at an OHL Cup Wildcard spot and there is lots of meaningful hockey ahead.
With only a month left to play, here is what I think the opening round of the playdowns will look like.
Brantford vs Huron-Perth
London vs Chatham-Kent
Windsor vs Cambridge
Kitchener vs Waterloo
Now here is the final team rankings for the year of 2018.
The Alliance All-Star Showcase in Woodstock this past weekend gave everyone a great opportunity to see all the Alliance teams in action in one spot. It also provided some fantastic games and top matchups between the best teams in the association.
The game between Chatham and Cambridge on Friday night probably stands as my favourite game of the year thus far. While it ended without a single goal being scored, the chances along with the high intensity and physical play made for a great couple hours of entertainment.
The Saturday afternoon tilt between Brantford and Windsor was a battle between the top ranked teams in my inaugural rankings. Several players shined bright in that game and it was a great showing for a Windsor team that I don’t think really gets the respect they deserve around the league.
The next couple of weeks are busy for Alliance teams. We have the Gold Puck tournament in Waterloo this weekend and teams are getting set for the holidays which means the Marlies Holiday Classic for many.
I said last week that the rankings were very close and lots could be argued. As you will see by this weeks edition, plenty can change in a couple of weeks and it shows just how tight the teams at the top of the standings are to one another. Continue reading →
Feels good to finally be back with some time to bring written content to the site. I know I’ve been absent for quite a long time but things have been a bit busy on my end. I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during the last couple of months.
While I’m unable to attend the vast amount of Alliance games as I’m used to over the past couple of months, I’ve still been keeping a keen eye on things. Now that most teams have completed over half of their regular season schedule, the playdown picture is starting to take shape all the upcoming battles for positioning are sure to be incredible as well.
For the first edition of these rankings, it shouldn’t be a surprise who is occupying the top spot. It is the next five spots where there can be lots of debate as to who seeds where. It is those debates that is going to make the final two months of the regular season a real treat.
Follow along and let me know where I’ve gone wrong. Don’t worry, I’ve got thick skin. Continue reading →
Day three of the Toronto Titans tournament is when things really got kicked off. As the long distance teams begin arriving in town for the tournament, most teams will get their first game of the tournament underway, while others like the Hamilton Huskies will play their third in three nights already.
Results wise, it’s hard to say that Thursday’s play wasn’t a disappointing outcome for the Alliance squads in attendance. All nine teams had games and the overall record was just 2-7. It should be noted for some of these teams it was their first action of the year and there are still some kinks to work out. It isn’t until the entire tournament is over before we can accurately assess the results.
Chatham-Kent off to a rough start, losing 10-1 to the Toronto Marlboros
The Toronto Marlboros probably aren’t the first team you want to see when entering the first tournament of the hockey season. The Marlies, perennial OHL Cup contenders, once again showed that they are a championship caliber club, putting up 10 goals on the Cyclones. Brayden Fryfogle notched the lone goal for Chatham and top Alliance prospect Deni Goure got on the score sheet with an assist. The Cyclones will try to rebound in their second game of the tournament against Ajax-Pickering on Friday. Continue reading →
2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 7-20-5 (10th Place)
2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in 1st round to Chatham-Kent Cyclones in 3 games
Currently riding the longest postseason drought in the Alliance, the Lambton Jr. Sting of this season will rely on plenty of new faces to try and secure their first playdown appearance since the 2014/15 season.
The 02 born team had a chance to break that streak. Led by top Alliance skater Blake Butler, the Jr. Sting were right there alongside Chatham and Kitchener battling for the final playdown spot. Unfortunately for the Jr. Sting, they hit a rough patch to end the year, winning only one of their final nine games to end up on the outside looking in. Continue reading →