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 →
It was a calm day for Alliance teams at Day Two of the Toronto Titans tournament. Still in the early part of the tournament, the Hamilton Huskies were the lone Alliance team to take the ice on Wednesday. Hamilton was playing their second tournament game before some teams even started their tournament.
Hamilton Huskies fall short against Toronto Young Nationals 4-3.
The Huskies knew they were in tough going up against the Young Nats. Toronto had put up five goals against a solid Guelph Jr. Gryphons team on Tuesday night in their tournament opener. Hamilton was able to keep this game extremely close and hold two separate leads in the first two periods. Matthew Stone opened up the scoring in the first period and it was Matthew Shulist who broke a 1-1 tie in the second period with a powerplay marker. Trailing 3-2, Layne Cartwright would add the Huskies second powerplay goal of the game to even things up at three a piece. Just 90 seconds later, the Young Nats would jump out in front 4-3 and that is how it would end. Continue reading →
Day one of the Alliance tournament has come to a close. For the many teams taking part, the Titans tournament is the unofficial start to the season. While it can be a good measuring stick, it should be mentioned that the performance of a team at an early September tournament doesn’t act as a precursor for their season.
I’ll always look back to the 2000 Waterloo Wolves who went 1-3 at the Titans tournament and scored just four goals in those four games. Those Wolves went on to win the Alliance championship and have a solid showing at the OHL Cup. Continue reading →
2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 19-11-2 (4th Place)
2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in Alliance Championship to Waterloo Wolves in 5 games.
Following a season that was tough in many different ways, the Jr. Spitfires are back in full force with a team that will be a threat to many.
The minor midget team got off to a slow start last year and it was hard to recover from. For a portion of the season, Windsor was battling with Hamilton to stay out of the Alliance cellar. Led by big forward Bryce Ryan and arguably the best goaltender in the Alliance Matt Sbrocca, Windsor quietly played better hockey down the stretch and ended up just a single point behind the 9th place Lambton. Continue reading →
2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Lost in 1/4 finals to Brantford 99ers in 6 games.
2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 14-14-4 (7th Place)
2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Won the Alliance Championship over the Windsor Jr. Spitfires in 5 games. (1-4-1 at OHF Championships)
After failing to reach the Alliance championship and OHL Cup for the first time since 2012, the Waterloo Wolves look to regain their spot as one of the top dogs in the association.
The season didn’t start out strong for the Wolves last season at minor midget. After winning in their season opener, the Wolves would go on to lose their next six games to fall to 1-6 out of the gate. It was after the Wendy Dufton tournament when they really took off, led in goal by Matt Onuska. Goal scoring was always the weakness for the team, but they were able to come up with timely goals to bring them an overtime goal away from knocking out eventual champions Brantford in the quarter-finals. Continue reading →
2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Lost in semi-finals to London Jr. Knights in 3 games (Lost in OHL Cup Quarter-Finals to Toronto Jr. Canadiens)
2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 11-18-3 (8th Place)
2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in 1/4 finals to London Jr. Knights in 3 games
Following an appearance in the OHL Cup quarter-finals last season, the Sun County Panthers have some big shoes to fill in order to replicate that success.
When the 2002 born Sun County Panthers were on, there wasn’t a more entertaining team. Chalked full of speed, the Panthers had a deadly first line that included Matt Maggio, Ryan Gagnier and Zane Dalpe that took the league by storm to begin the year. While the offense was always there, the defense left the team wanting more and it was the defense that ultimately saw their demise in the semi-finals against London. A wild card win over the Toronto Titans was the beginning of an OHL Cup run that got the team to the final 8. Continue reading →
2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Lost in Alliance Championship to Brantford 99ers in 5 games (0-4 at OHL Cup)
2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 19-10-3 (3rd Place)
2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in semi-finals to Waterloo Wolves in 5 games
Year after year the London Jr. Knights find themselves near the top of the Alliance and en route to the OHL Cup. With the 2003 group set to get their season underway, I don’t see any reason why this team would be any different.
The minor midget team last season was fairly under rated in my mind. Those Jr. Knights had depth at forward and ran three lines that could put the puck in the net. Defensively they weren’t flashy but they were effective. Led by the likes of George Diaco, Sheldon Serraglio, Brendan Mairs and Quinton Pepper, the Jr. Knights were an overtime goal away from their second straight Alliance title. Although the OHL Cup didn’t go as planned, the season did showcase plenty of player talent. Continue reading →