2017/18 Alliance Player Rankings 16-25

The time has finally come. After nearly four months of watching these Alliance teams go head-to-head with each other and teams from other associations, the initial player rankings are upon us.

Unlike the past couple of years, this year seems to have been the hardest to compile. The 02 age group has a lot of players with such small differences that after compiling this list blindly four times, I got four different lists each time.

The initial list has representatives from 10 different teams. There is a good mix of forwards and defense and a goaltender also happened to make it onto the list. There were also a lot of players who just missed out and that leads me to believe that the second edition of this rankings will look significantly different.

25. Adrian Stubberfield (Chatham-Kent Cyclones)

The list begins with Stubberfield, a Cyclones forward who has under the radar for most of the season thus far. A leader up front, Stubberfield has deceptive speed on the wing and uses that speed to really create breakout opportunities and odd man rushes. When on those rushes, Stubberfield possesses a quick release that catches many goalies off guard. That has let Stubberfield stay at the top of the Cyclones scoring chat with 10 goals on the year.

24. Brendan Mairs (London Jr. Knights)

A player who has really grown over the course of the season, Mairs came over from the Waterloo Wolves and has been an offensive machine for the Jr. Knights. With 15 goals and 33 points, Mairs is tied for third in the Alliance in scoring. Mairs is a bigger forward who has shown the ability to cut in front of the net and wreck havoc. Mairs is also one of the options on London’s first powerplay unit.

23. Alexander Bikos (London Jr. Knights)

A name I thought should have been named to the Alliance All-Star game, Bikos is a very smart defender. His exceptional skating allows him to use his vision to create scoring chances. One thing you notice quickly about Bikos is his tendency to slow play down and seemingly have forever to weigh his options in the passing game. Along with his defensive play, Bikos has shown some ability to bring the puck up the ice himself and be an option from the point.

22. Cooper Walker (Cambridge Hawks)

One of the smartest players in the Alliance this year, Walker is one of those players who may not blow you away from a statistics standpoint. Walker is a great facilitator in the offensive zone and has such a calm demeanor when moving the puck around. There is no aspect of his game that I would consider “elite”, but I do feel that he is a very well rounded player. Learning the game from his father I’m sure has helped a lot and I don’t doubt that he will make an impact at the junior level.

21. Spencer Lecot (Chatham-Kent Cyclones)

Lecot is one of my personal favourites in the Alliance this season. A big defenseman who has a bullet for a shot, Lecot has taken over as the quarterback for a Cyclones team looking to land a top eight spot come seasons end. With size definitely on his size, Lecot will use it to play a more physical game but also has the skating to bring the puck up the ice and even take it down the wing for a scoring chance. With not much buzz, a definitely sleeper opportunity for a team at the next level.

20. Mason Mantzavrakos (Cambridge Hawks)

Another Hawk makes the list as offensive forward Mason Mantzavrakos has done a fantastic job coming over from the GTHL. Mantzavrakos in early games seemed to be more of a sniper and with his shot that is understandable. Throughout the season, Mantzavrakos has relied less on his shot and more on becoming a great facilitator on the ice.

19. Joey Studnicka (London Jr. Knights)

Studnicka missed some time earlier this season, but he has come back and been a big part in London’s offense along with linemates Quinton Pepper and George Diaco. Studnicka plays a power forward game but also has some great puck possession skills. His work down low and in the corners is strong and his goal scoring ability is better than shown.

18. Owen McGowan (Hamilton Huskies)

The lone representative from the Hamilton Huskies, McGowan is a defender who may not get the recognition he deserves based on the performance of his team this season. McGowan is a smooth skating defender who has a rocket for a shot. McGowan could use his size more often but does show flashes at times. McGowan could be a player who slides due to the struggles of Hamilton this year.

17. Dylan Robinson (Brantford 99ers)

Robinson continues the early trend of Alliance defenders in the rankings. Robinson is a different kind of player when compared to the likes of McGowan and Bikos in that he is more offensively gifted than others. A player who routinely carries the puck into the offensive zone, Robinson moves good for a bigger player and uses his long reach to protect the puck from opposing defenders. Robinson is 2nd in defense scoring in the Alliance, trailing only his 03 teammate Cole Hipkin.

16. Theo Hill (Brantford 99ers)

Speed is the name of the game when it comes to Theo Hill. The 99ers forward is one of, if not the fatest skater in the league this season and it’s his speed and finishing ability that has made him a dangerous threat. Consistency may be one aspect of his game that Hill could address, but there aren’t many holes in his play. When Hill is on his game, the 99ers become a much more dangerous squad.

Advertisements

From the Alliance to the OHL – October Edition

Suzuki

With the OHL season getting underway in late September, it was great to see so many 2001 born Alliance players making their OHL clubs. In addition to the 01’s, there were plenty of 2000 alumni who were also making the step to major junior hockey.

As we did last season, every month we are going to be taking a look at some of the Alliance standouts each month and how they are doing in the OHL. Having covered both the 2001 and 2000 age groups extensively, I will be looking at both years to see who is standing out in the league and there are plenty.
Click here for full article

Alliance Showcase Day Two Recap

It was a quick day of games at the second day of the Alliance Showcase. While it was a shorter day for those watching in attendance, it was a busy day for the players as they went through both on and off ice seminars.

Back at Central Park for the games today, I do have one complaint about the venue. This may be splitting hairs, but I’ve found over the past couple of days that the sightlines at both rinks leave much to be desired. There are few places to watch the games with an unobstructed view so the lesson was learned during day one that early entrance is neccessary.

There were some real solid games on Saturday afternoon. Let’s go through some of the action.

Sun County Panthers hold on against Huron-Perth to remain undefeated

Sun County got out to an early lead and extended it with a couple of quick goals. Penalty trouble for the Panthers allowed Huron-Perth to get back into the game but the Panthers held on and remain undefeated to begin the season.

Davis Edmunds really had a good showing for Sun County. Whether it was on defense or when he was situated up front and attacking as a forward, his quick shot release gave the Lakers and goaltender Garrett Golley some issues. John Ulicny had another good game for Sun County, using his speed and shot to cause havoc. For the Lakers, Sheldon Pryce was all over the offensive zone and played his best game I’ve seen through the early point of the season. Carter Schoonderwoerd also had a great game and had a sweet goal to make it 4-3. This was also the first time I’d seen Schoonderwoerd play a physical game away from the puck which was nice to see finally.
Click here for full article

Alliance Showcase Day One Recap

It was a long trek to get to the Central Park Athletic Centre in Windsor, Ontario. Windsor is playing host to the 2017 Alliance Minor Midget Showcase event after two years of the event taking place in St. Mary’s under the Huron-Perth Lakers banner.

The September showcase is a little bit different than years past. Due to the Alliance running a second showcase weekend in December around their All-Star weekend, all teams will play just three games this weekend as opposed to the four they had previously played.

Here is a brief recap of some of the action that I was able to catch.

Sun County’s Offensive Prowess Powers Past Brantford

In my first viewing of this season’s Sun County Panthers squad, it did not take long to see why the offense has been so successful in the early part of the season. The Panthers used their speed and puck movement to get out in front early and despite a strong third period from the 99ers, held on for the win.

Matthew Maggio, John Ulicny, Ryan Gagnier and Zane Dalpe were all stellar in the contest. Ulicny’s shot and Maggio’s speed were on display in full force as Sun County improved to 3-0. For Brantford, their best players in the game were probably their youngest in Cole Hipkin and Maddox Callens. Hipkin showed he belongs as one of the top defenders in the Alliance while Callens had some of the best chances for the 99ers all day.
Click here for full article

2017/18 Windsor Jr. Spitfires Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 15-14-4 (6th Place)

Minor Midget Result: Lost in quarter-finals to Kitchener in 3 games

Major Bantam Record: 8-16-8 (10th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in 1st round to Chatham-Kent in 4 games

Following a disappointing and inconsistent season for the minor midget team last season, the challenge is there once again for the Windsor organization.

There was plenty of talent on the 2001 born Windsor squad. Led by 2002 born Tyler Tullio and the likes of Aaron Shaw and Adam Jeffery up front, the Jr. Spitfires should have had a dynamic offense that should have been able to compete with the better teams in the Alliance. Windsor never got consistent play and was bounced quickly in the postseason by Kitchener.
Click here for full article

2017/18 Waterloo Wolves Season Preview

wolves

Minor Midget Record: 26-5-2 (2nd Place)

Minor Midget Result: Lost in Alliance Championship to London in 4 games (Advanced to OHL Cup)

Major Bantam Record: 13-10-9 (5th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in semi-finals to London in 5 games

A year after seeing their streak of three consecutive Alliance championships come to an end, the Waterloo Wolves are once again positioned to possibly start a new streak this season.

It was going to be hard pressed for the Wolves organization to top the talent level that the 2000 born team had. When the days of the 2016/17 began to end, many thought that the 2001 team was more talent laden than their predecessor. Led up front by Keean Washkurak and on the back end by workhorse Nathan Allensen, the Wolves ended their regular season winning 16 consecutive league games and continued that with a sweep in the opening round. A phenomenal series against Kitchener followed and after a grueling eight game series win, the Wolves fell short against a dominant London squad.
Click here for full article

2017/18 Sun County Panthers Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 11-15-7 (8th Place)

Minor Midget Result: Lost in quarter-finals to London in 3 games

Major Bantam Record: 13-14-5 (7th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in semi-finals to Cambridge in 3 games

The Minor Midgets last season were a disappointment for the Sun County Panthers as they ran into the London Jr. Knights in round one. With the 2002 crop of Panthers, there is a legitimate shot at an OHL Cup appearance.

There were high hopes for the 2001 born Sun County team. Led in goal by arguably the top goaltender in the league Aidan Pitre, it was believed he would be able to lead the team to a strong season. In addition to Pitre, the Panthers were led up front by the criminally under rated Stephane Crevier, who was one of the best goal scorers in the Alliance last year. An inconsistent season led Sun County to an eighth place finish and a date with London in the first round and a quick postseason exit.
Click here for full article

2017/18 London Jr. Knights Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 27-2-4 (1st Place)

Minor Midget Result: Won Alliance Championship over Waterloo in 4 games (OHL Cup Semi-Finalist)

Major Bantam Record: 19-7-6 (2nd Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in Alliance Championship to Cambridge in 4 games

After a stellar season that saw the London Jr. Knights reign as the top Ontario team for the majority of the season, the 2002 crop comes up with loads of talent and a shot at another Alliance championship.

The Minor Midget Jr. Knights were probably the best team in minor hockey last season. Even though they didn’t win the OHL Cup, the amount of talent that was on that team to go along with how well they played together made it a treat to watch them every single game. Led by Ryan Suzuki, the first overall pick in the OHL Draft, the Jr. Knights had a laundry list of guys who you will probably see playing in the OHL either this year or next. Names like Prueter, Burridge, Van Loon, Drewitt and Say are just some of the guys you could see in the OHL shortly.
Click here for full article

2017/18 Lambton Jr. Sting Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 6-24-3 (11th Place)

Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns

Major Bantam Record: 8-19-5 (11th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in first round to Sun County in 5 games

After a season that saw the team basically start from scratch, the Lambton Jr. Sting will try and bring the program back to prominance and back to the postseason.

The 2016/17 season was quite the anomaly for the Lambton Jr. Sting. After having their bantam season cancelled the year prior, the Jr. Sting gathered a collection of players who played all levels from AAA to MD the year before. There were some standouts, such as forward Nolan DeGurse and goaltender Andrew MacLean, but the team struggled for the entirety of the season.
Click here for full article

2017/18 Kitchener Jr. Rangers Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 17-9-7 (3rd Place)

Minor Midget Result: Lost in semi-finals to Waterloo in 8 games (Lost in OHL Cup Play-In Game)

Major Bantam Record: 12-15-5 (9th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in first round to Waterloo in 4 games

Following another disappointing end to their season at the OHL Cup, the Kitchener Jr. Rangers will once again aim for a permanent spot in the provincial championship tournament.

Last year’s Minor Midget team was one of the more surprising teams in the league. After finishing bantam in last place, the 2001 version of the Kitchener Jr. Rangers were a top tier team in the Alliance thanks to the offensive additions of Cole Mackay and Justin McCombs. In addition to Mackay and McCombs, it was the emergence of Cole Schwindt and the play of Zach Russell that got Kitchener to the semi-finals of the playdowns, culminating in one of the best postseason series I’ve ever seen.
Click here for full article