2017/18 Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 17-13-3 (5th Place)

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

Major Bantam Record: 14-15-3 (6th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in quarter-finals to Sun County in 3 games

For the first time in a long while, it will be a new coaching staff behind the bench for the Minor Midget Chiefs. The new staff is tasked with maintaining the history of competitive teams over the past few years.

Last year’s Minor Midget squad was one of the most underrated teams in the Alliance. While the season began with an equal amount of wins and losses, it was in late October that the team really turned on the gas and went on a serious run that included them being the first team to defeat the dominant London Jr. Knights. Elgin got great contributions from Navrin Mutter up front, Mark Woolley on the back end and from Jake Weston wherever he played that game. After a disappointing first round showing against Cambridge, the Chiefs went on to the consolation finals, falling to Sun County in five games.
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2017/18 Chatham-Kent Cyclones Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 11-19-3 (9th Place)

Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns

Major Bantam Record: 14-16-2 (8th Place)

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

After an injury plagued season saw the Chatham-Kent Cyclones finish on the outside looking in last year, the Cyclones will return a very familiar team to the ice to try and return to postseason play.

The 2001 Chatham team had some very solid players on their team. Led by first round pick of the Kitchener Rangers Grayson Ladd, Chatham showed some promise early on in the season with forwards Cole MacKinnon and Lucas Fancy also showing promise. Injuries to all three derailed the team leaving them just outside the playoff picture.
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2017/18 Cambridge Hawks Season Preview

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Minor Midget Record: 17-11-5 (4th Place)

Minor Midget Result: Lost in semi-finals to London in 4 games (Advanced to OHL Cup)

Major Bantam Record: 21-7-4 (1st Place)

Major Bantam Result: Won Alliance Championship over London in 4 games

Following a season where Cambridge had their minor midgets return to the OHL Cup and their major bantams go undefeated in postseason play, the Hawks have their sights set on an Alliance Championship.

After some disappointing seasons at minor midget, it was a great breathe of fresh air when the 2001 born Hawks were able to compete with the best in the league and advance to the OHL Cup. It had been a long time since Cambridge had such a combination of elite scoring, shutdown defense and clutch goaltending. While we waited a long time for the Hawks to ice a competitive squad, the 2002 team looks to be even better.

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2017/18 Brantford 99ers Season Preview

Brantford LogoMinor Midget Record – 7-19-4 (10th Place)

Minor Midget Result – Did Not Qualify for Playdowns

Major Bantam Record – 16-10-6 (4th Place)

Major Bantam Result – Lost in 1st Round to Huron-Perth (6 Games)

After a disappointing season at the Minor Midget level and a very disappointing exit at bantam, the 99ers will look to some skilled younger players to bring them back to postseason play.

The 2001 age group for the 99ers was a tough year for many different reasons. The offense was never able to get into a consistent rhythm and the defense, despite having Aidan McLeod on the blue line, couldn’t shut down their opposing offense every single evening to help the low scoring offense.

At the bantam level, the 99ers were one of, if not the top team in the league for the majority of the season. It wasn’t until near the end of the year when Brantford began a slide that continued into the postseason, culminating in a huge upset loss to Huron-Perth in the first round.

Brantford comes into this season having lost their top player from a year ago. Peyton Adams-Matthews was a key piece to the 99ers defense last season, but he has moved on and so has Brantford. As of right now, only one member of the defense from last season will be returning this year. The 99ers have brought in solid names such as Ben Feijo from the Hamilton Huskies and Lucas Branch from the Jr. Bulldogs.

The new defense will join the returning Cole Hipkin, an 03 player who made the bantam all star team last season. Hipkin will be one of two 2003 born players to wear the 99ers jersey this season. Maddox Callens will join the team after player Minor Bantam last season. While there isn’t a whole lot to go off based on zero viewings of Minor Bantam, Callens was 2nd in total points at the Alliance Showcase last season.

In addition to Callens, the 99ers offense will still include Andrew Casasanta, who made an All-Star appearance for the 99ers last season. Brantford will also return both of the goaltenders from their bantam team with Ben Edwards taking the role as the clear number one in net.

While the loss of Adams-Matthews will sting for the 99ers, the team should still be able to find success this season. The 99ers haven’t made the postseason since the 2013/14 season, when they went all the way to the final four. A postseason berth is well within the teams grasp this season while also developing some key pieces for the 2018/19 season as well.

2017 OHL Priority Selection Draft Results

It is finally that time of the year. The OHL Priority Selection draft is upon us and as always it is a very exciting day.

This draft will be different than in past years because of the fact that we now do have the Midget draft in play. Not to say that changes a whole lot but we still do not know what teams strategies will be, especially when it comes to goaltenders.

Looking back at 2016, the Alliance had 36 players taken in the priority selection draft. Of those 36, 22 were forwards, 11 defenseman and 3 goaltenders. Those 36 players represented all 12 teams in the Alliance. When we look at the draft this season, I would expect to see the number of players remain around the 35-40 mark with the possibility of surpassing 40.

Stay tuned at AllianceHockeyScout.com for all the up to date picks involving Alliance players. It’s going to be quite the day so come along for the ride beginning at 9am EST.

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2017 Final Alliance Scout Top 25 Player Rankings

Another season has come and gone and now it is time to look ahead to one of the final chapters of the season, the 2017 OHL Priority Selection draft. Prior to any draft, you will see hundreds of different rankings for hundreds of different things.

There wasn’t much change in my rankings from when they were released earlier this year. A couple of newcomers have joined the list and there was some shuffling around, but the top of the list remained the same.

  1. Ryan Suzuki (London Jr. Knights) – The reported favourite to go 1st overall come Saturday, Suzuki shows fantastic vision on the ice and pinpoint passing skills. A playmaker, Suzuki has shown the ability to light the lamp when needed.
  2. Brett Budgell (London Jr. Knights) – Budgell was a huge addition to London this season and helped them secure an Alliance championship and a semi-final run at the OHL Cup. Destined for the QMJHL, Budgell could be selected in the top 10.
  3. Grayson Ladd (Chatham-Kent Cyclones) – The best D in the Alliance this year, Ladd has fine tuned his play with the Chatham Maroons once his minor midget season ended.
  4. Aidan Prueter (London Jr. Knights) – Prueter has jumped up the list thanks to an impressive postseason run. Prueter has a knack for getting to the open areas and his puck control and possession is top notch.
  5. Keean Washkurak (Waterloo Wolves) – Washkurak’s speed is undeniable and the 110% he gives every shift is evident. His 200ft game will be coveted by many teams.
  6. Nathan Allensen (Waterloo Wolves) – Allensen was a workhorse for the Wolves near the end of the year. He defended many of the top players in Ontario this year with success and his offensive upside is very apparent.
  7. Stephane Crevier (Sun County Panthers) – Injuries slowed Crevier down a bit at the end of the year but the talented winger continued his strong play to the very end. A wicked shot from the slot and quick cuts allow him to create so many chances on the ice.
  8. Justin McCombs (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) – McCombs season was short due to injuries, but he showed in the postseason his value on the ice. Speed, vision and a strong defensive game should see him be one of the early Alliance picks.
  9. Jeffrey Burridge (London Jr. Knights) – The big winger was a hit at the OHL Cup due to his outstanding play. Burridge is a smooth skater with deceptive speed. Has the potential to develop into a strong power forward.
  10. Cole Mackay (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) – The Alliance leader in goals with arguably the best shot in the league, MacKay’s offensive upside could translate well to major junior hockey. His breakaway speed burned many teams this year.
  11. David Anderson (Cambridge Hawks) – Anderson really developed into a two way player through his minor midget season. A lethal scorer, his defensive skills were on display during the OHL Cup.
  12. Ryan Campbell (Cambridge Hawks) – Campbell had one of the best showings at the OHL Combine and that should boost his stock. Campbell’s play with the Winterhawks has also showed strong possibilities.
  13. Aidan Pitre (Sun County Panthers) – The top and only goalie in the rankings, Pitre helped carry Sun County to a playoff win over Elgin-Middlesex. Pitre has size and has great poise under pressure.
  14. Cole Schwindt (Kitchener Jr. Rangers) – Schwindt is a player many would enjoy on their roster as a strong defensive forward. Schwindt did a great job this season filling in as the top centre with McCombs out due to injury and impressed many onlookers.
  15. Jordan Stock (Hamilton Huskies) – One of my personal favourites in the Alliance this year, Stock is a smooth forward who was a nightmare for defenders down low.
  16. Navrin Mutter (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) – Mutter joins the list after just missing out earlier this year. Mutter is a physical force combined with offensive prowess.
  17. Liam Van Loon (London Jr. Knights) – Many were raving about Van Loon at the OHL Cup and for good reason. The overtime hero for London in their Alliance clinching game, Van Loon gives it his all every second on the ice. He has an underrated shot that surprises many defenders.
  18. Mark Woolley (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs) – One of the best showings at the OHL Combine went to the Chief’s Woolley. Has speed and a bullet from the backend that compliments his physical style. Some added size will help propel him further.
  19. Mason Howard (London Jr. Knights) – Another physical defenseman, Howard uses his great hockey IQ to always put himself in a spot for success. With some of the biggest hits I saw all season, Howard could be a force at the Jr. B level next season.
  20. Nolan DeGurse (Lambton Jr. Sting) – DeGurse was the main offensive option for the Jr. Sting this season. A centre on the smaller end of the size chart, DeGurse uses his quick cuts and even quicker release to capitalize on small chances.
  21. Jagger O’Toole (Cambridge Hawks) – O’Toole played some major minutes for the Hawks this year which included time up with the Winterhawks. A two-way defender, O’Toole’s stick handling is vastly understated.
  22. Gavin Wood (Waterloo Wolves) – Wood showed a lot of improvement in multiple aspects of his game this season. He began the year as a solid defensive option and turned into an offensive threat, leading the offensive rush on several occasions.
  23. Brayden Krieger (Waterloo Wolves) – Krieger was a great secondary scoring option for the Wolves this season. Krieger has good speed and smooth puck skills that allow him to get solid shooting options.
  24. Aaron Shaw (Windsor Jr. Spitfires) – Shaw was a focal point of the Windsor offense this season playing alongside Tyler Tullio and Adam Jeffery. Shaw is underrated in my mind and could turn into a solid value pick for one lucky club.
  25. Jacob Bloomfield (Brantford 99ers) – Rounding out the list is Bloomfield, the shifty 99er forward. Bloomfield has speed and skill that can create ample amounts of chances, which was displayed during All-Star weekend. Small in size now, Bloomfield has loads of potential should a growth spurt occur.

That does it for the Alliance Scout Top 25 player rankings. This was not an easy list to compile and there were a lot of players that just missed out. During the 2016 OHL Priority Selection draft, 22 out of the 25 players listed in the final top 25 rankings were taken.

Follow all the action right here at AllianceHockeyScout.com beginning at 9am on Saturday. We will be keeping you up to date on all Alliance players and goalies selected by OHL clubs.

Alliance OHL Cup Preview

The latest hockey season has come to an end for some of the teams in the Alliance but there is still hockey being played which includes four Alliance teams trying their hand at the illustrious OHL Cup championship title. The London Jr. Knights, Waterloo Wolves and Cambridge Hawks have all punched their ticket to the dance with the Kitchener Jr. Rangers just one win away from joining them. Last year was a disappointing tournament for the Alliance with no teams from the association making it past the round robin portion of the tournament. This season, the Alliance enters the tournament with London being ranked at the top and legitimate contenders to take the crown.

Let’s just go through the divisions and see exactly what each team has in store for them later this week. Click here for full article

Series Preview: (1) London Jr. Knights vs. (2) Waterloo Wolves

For the third consecutive year, Waterloo and London will meet with the Alliance championship up for grabs. With Waterloo having won both of those meetings, and the past three Alliance titles, the Jr. Knights will look to conquer the reigning champion with arguably the best team currently in the province and possibly the best team to wear the Jr. Knights jerseys.

London has cruised their way to the championship series. London powered their way past Sun County in the opening round and then had very little trouble sweeping away an incredibly talented Cambridge team in the second round. London has been led by some familiar faces through their seven postseason games with top OHL Draft prospect Ryan Suzuki leading the way with 18 points while talented winger Aidan Prueter has eight goals and 16 points.

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Jet Greaves, Jagger O’Toole to suit up for Jr. B Winterhawks

With the Cambridge Hawks still awaiting word of who they will play against in the Alliance OHL Cup Play-In series, a couple of players will get some game action in this week. Goaltender Jet Greaves and defenseman Jagger O’Toole will be on the ice for the Jr. B Cambridge Winterhawks this week according to head coach Dan Fitzgerald. O’Toole is expected to play tomorrow against Listowel while Greaves will start in net Friday night as the Winterhawks travel to Listowel for another contest.

Greaves has been one of the standouts for the Hawks during their playdown run this season. He had a stellar series against the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs and then, despite being swept, Greaves had some great games against the top ranked London Jr. Knights. Greaves postseason record sits at 3-3 with a solid 2.67 GAA and a .911 SV%. In his lone game with the Winterhawks this season, Greaves took on Listowel back in October. Greaves allowed one goal while making 28 saves, falling to the Cyclones 2-0.

O’Toole has played in five of Cambridge’s postseason games thanks to a two game suspension he received in game one against London. In those games, O’Toole tallied one goal and two assists to go along with 33 penalty minutes. O’Toole suited up for the Winterhawks back in November against Stratford and did not register a point.

Series Preview: (1) London Jr. Knights vs. (4) Cambridge Hawks

The London Jr. Knights cruised into the semi-finals by further cementing their offensive prowess against the leagues best goaltender. Cambridge also swept their way into the final four in a physical affair that featured a home away from home game. The obvious question heading into this 8 point series is whether the Hawks defense and stellar goaltending can last a full 50 minutes against London’s powerhouse forwards.

London, who still own top spot in the OHL Cup rankings, made a definite statement in their first round series with the Sun County Panthers, outscoring them 17-3 through the three game series. The Jr. Knights were lead by a few familiar faces as Ryan Suzuki (4G, 5A), Aidan Preuter (2G, 6A) and Brett Budgell (2G, 5A) led the way offensively. The offense was spread out though with London having the top five scorers during the postseason thus far.

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