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.
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.
The London Jr. Knights are currently the number one team in the province according to the OHL Cup rankings and have been nearly untouchable for the Alliance season. Sun County recently clinched a playoff spot and a some recent tough games led them to falling into the 8th seed.
London only lost two season games all year and dominated the majority of the teams. The one team they did not totally dominate was the Sun County Panthers. In three league games this year, London went 2-0-1 but their largest victory was just two goals. Only Waterloo and Kitchener played the Jr. Knights tougher than the Panthers did this season. Click here for full article
Just one day after releasing our first round of Alliance Scout player rankings, we are back at it again as we get closer and closer to the top of the list. This group of players, which counts down to the top five, features some skaters who I probably would have had in the top five had I done a preseason rankings.
That isn’t to say that their game has regressed by any means, but that some others players have seen immense improvements in their game. To repeat something that I talked about yesterday, the difference between some of these players is incredibly miniscule. After making the tough decision of getting down to 25 players, placing them in a specific order was even more of a challenge.
With the players from 6-15 now released, look for the top five Alliance Scout rankings to come out very soon. Click here for full article
Coming up this weekend, Waterloo will host yet another Alliance All-Star weekend. The event, which showcases players from Bantam to Midget, is also the beginning of the selection process for the Alliance OHL Gold Cup team as well as the first viewing for some looking to represent Team Canada next year at the U16 tournament.
68 Minor Midget players were selected as part of the four team mini tournament that occurs throughout the weekend. 36 forwards, 24 defenseman and 8 goalies in total will make the trek.
It was an early Friday morning for Day Two of the Whitby Silver Stick tournament. The Alliance teams got into action at around 8am and there was lots to take in. By the end of the 2nd day of action, three out of the five Alliance teams were still alive for a spot in the quarter-finals. Not only that, but two teams still have a shot at winning their divisions with one being a bit of a surprise based on how the season had played out to this point.
Sun County Comes Up Big In Tournament Opener
In their first game of the tournament, Sun County came out blazing against a tough Soutern Tier team. The Panthers started out the game more shorthanded then they were expecting. With Josh DiCarlo out for the tournament, Sun County began the game without leading scorer Stephane Crevier as he appeared to have an equipment issue.
Without Crevier, the Panthers were still able to strike first thanks to Hunter Hutchins banging home the loose puck in front of the net. Crevier returned to work a Panther powerplay when the Admirals turned it around a scored a shorthanded goal on a nice breakaway, sliding it underneath and outstretch Aidan Pitre.
Prior to the flood, 02 born Zane Dalpe capitalized on another scramble in front of the Admirals net to give Sun County another lead, this time 2-1 this lead would hold until the flood.
Starting the third period off strong, Marcus Joughin, probably the Panthers strongest player in this game, put Sun County up 3-1 and they never looked back. An empty netter gave Sun County a 4-1 win and their first win of the tournament. Joughin was big in this game along with Everett Parent. Aidan Pitre, would is getting his work in this weekend, had another great game for the Panthers. Click here for full article
After cruising through Thursday afternoon traffic on the 401 and spending a ridiculous amount of time trying to find a parking spot, finally I was ready to take in my favourite tournament of the year, the Whitby Silver Stick.
This is the 2nd year that I have attended this tournament and after one day the Alliance has already surpassed what they did in last year’s tournament. I remember last year, there were a lot of high hopes for teams such as London, Waterloo and Windsor. Needless to say, the Alliance teams all laid an egg and none of the six teams that entered the tournament advanced to the quarter-final round.
Before I even got to the arena, the Alliance was 0-1 after the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs, in the first Minor Midget game of the tournament, fell to the Southern Tier Admirals. It was a tough start for the Chiefs, especially considering that Friday morning they will have to try and contain Jack Hughes and Graeme Clarke as they take on the Toronto Marlboros.
The first full game that I was able to take in was the Waterloo Wolves and the always tough Mississauga Rebels. Let’s just say, the day didn’t start off on quite the greatest foot.
Waterloo Wolves downed 8-2 by Mississauga Rebels in flat tournament opener
The game actually started in favour of the Wolves. The forecheck was putting lots of pressure on the Rebels defense and they were using some speed to stretch the offense. The Wolves opened up the scoring when Nathan Allensen took and pass and ripped it top corner from the faceoff dot and it appeared that the Wolves were in business. Click here for full article
First off, I’d like to give a big thumbs up to the organizers from the Huron-Perth association and those working at the Pyramid complex for setting up a fantastic first day of the weekend. The home baked treats were an added bonus this year.
Secondly, the net at this arena are atrocious. I have never in all my years involved in hockey ever seen the nets come off its pegs as often as I did today, and we’re only one day into the event. Hopefully something can be figured out overnight to save us from having an extra 10 stoppages per game.
Now over to the actual games being played. Day one saw a couple of close games and a couple of blowouts. The close games had the drama while the blowouts showcased some big games for the forwards. As I am only one person, not every game could be viewed in its entirety, but I was able to catch at least a chunk of every game today.
Elgin-MIddlesex edges past Cambridge Hawks
The Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs picked up their 2nd win of the season in what could be described as an upset, 3-2 over the Cambridge Hawks. The Hawks thought they were headed for a tie after Jagger O’Toole tied the game with just over a minute remaining. But the Chiefs stormed right back and Hunter Monkhouse banged home a rebound to put the Chiefs back up for good with 26 seconds remaining. Click here for full article
Coming up tomorrow afternoon is arguably my favourite weekend of the hockey schedule, the Alliance Minor Midget Showcase tournament. It’s always great to have all of the teams from the league in one building and able to showcase their talents for people around the province to see. Teams people may see once or twice a year are exposed to a wider audience.
The event, which is once again hosted by the Huron-Perth Lakers in St. Mary’s, Ontario, is full of great team matchups and interesting angles from an observers perspective. I will personally be in attendance for all of the Showcase, which also gives me the hard task of deciding which games to view as many run concurrently with others.
For those not fully aware of the schedule, here is what the weekend looks like.
Friday, September 23
1:45pm – Elgin-MIddlesex vs Cambridge
2:00pm – London vs Huron-Perth
3:45pm – Hamilton vs Lambton
4:00pm – Chatham-Kent vs Brantford
5:45pm – Sun County vs Kitchener
7:45pm – Waterloo vs Windsor
Saturday, September 24
8:00am – Huron-Perth vs Chatham-Kent
8:15am – London vs Brantford
10:00am – Elgin-Middlesex vs Kitchener
10:15am – Waterloo vs Lambton
12:00pm – Sun County vs Cambridge
12:15pm – Windsor vs Hamilton
4:00pm – Elgin-Middlesex vs Brantford
4:15pm – Waterloo vs Chatham-Kent
6:00pm – Lambton vs Cambridge
6:15pm – Huron-Perth vs Sun County
8:00pm – Kitchener vs Windsor
8:15pm – London vs Hamilton
Sunday, September 25
8:00am – Sun County vs Brantford
8:15am – Elgin-Middlesex vs Huron-Perth
10:00am – Kitchener vs Lambton
10:15am – Windsor vs Cambridge
12:00pm – Hamilton vs Chatham-Kent
12:15pm – London vs Waterloo
Lots of really great matchups on paper throughout the schedule. While the showcase isn’t the bench mark for how teams will do this season, it does give teams the chance to excel and build some momentum while also risking a tough weekend lingering on for some time.
With that said, I do have five story lines, players and teams that I am most looking forward to checking out. This isn’t all I’m excited for, but more what intrigues me heading into the weekend.
Andrew MacLean – By all accounts, MacLean was stellar in net for the Jr. Sting when they fell to Waterloo over the weekend. He also played strong in goal for Lambton during their play at the Titans tournament. It will be interesting to see if MacLean can vault himself into the conversation for top goalie in the Alliance alongside AIdan Petrie and Cy Martin.
Sun County Panthers – I have had the opportunity to see lots of Panthers action early in the season. The team played very well at the Titans tournament, but lost both their season opening games, albeit against tough competition in Cambridge and Waterloo. The Panthers have a decent schedule this weekend and it would be a big boost to the club to come out on a good streak.
Tyler Tulio – Tulio, along with Zane Dalpe, are the lone players in the Alliance born in 2002. Tulio was very impressive in viewings at Bantam but the size of players at Minor Midget is a big difference. Very curious if he will be able to dictate play as well as he did a year ago.
London vs Waterloo – A rematch of both the Bantam and Minor Midget championship from a year ago, the Jr. Knights and Wolves always have nail biting games. London had the advantage at bantam last season, but a new look Waterloo squad are hopeful the new additions will put them over the top.
Jacob Bloomfield – Finally, a player whose bantam play always left me waiting for more, Bloomfield has continued to be a force in the 99ers lineup. One of the top scorers in the Alliance at the Titans tournament, Bloomfield is a player all those in attendance will need to keep their eyes on.
Those are a few of the reason why I’m excited for this coming weekend. With that said, let’s hear from you.
2015/16 Minor Midget Final Result: Lost in 6 to Waterloo in Alliance Championship (Advanced to OHL Cup)
2015/16 Major Bantam Record: 26-1-3 (1st Place)
2015/16 Major Bantam Final Result: Won Alliance Championship in 6 over Waterloo
After two consecutive season saw the London Jr. Knights Minor Midget team lose out in the Alliance championship to Waterloo, this year’s club could be the one to finally lead them to the title with a roster loaded with talent.
It was nearly a clean run through the season last year for the 2000 born London Jr. Knights. Despite not playing a single season game prior to the Alliance Showcase, the Jr. Knights got off to a torrid start and once they claimed first place from the Huron-Perth Lakers, they ran the table at the top with the exception of a few days behind the Waterloo Wolves. London was loaded on offense with multiple weapons. The likes of Eric Guest, Joel Mazzilli and Kyle Fisher were just a few of the names that populated the score sheet. Even with the offense, London came up just short, losing 3-2 in the winner-take-all championship game in Waterloo. Click here for full article