2017/18 Alliance Player Rankings Top 5

Apologies for the long and lengthy delay, but the Alliance Scout Top 5 rankings are finally here. Unlike previous years, there is some competition for the top spot in the association. The gap between spots three and five is incredibly thin while the top two spots are a toss-up on a daily basis. The tight nature of these rankings makes the final month of the regular season and the playdowns all the more exciting for all these players.

5. George Diaco (London Jr. Knights)

Diaco is the engine that keeps the Jr. Knights offense rolling. Not only does he take charge of the forwards, but Diaco is the quarterback for their powerplay. An undersized forward, Diaco uses his speed to create space and blow past defenders. Many will compare Diaco to Hawks forward Joseph Serpa. The difference I see is that Diaco is a finisher. A fantastic shot and quick dekes is one reason Diaco is a top scorer in the league. Diaco could up his stock with an extended run by London in the post season.

4. Matt Maggio (Sun County Panthers)

The best pure goal scorer in the league this season, Maggio began this year like a bat out of hell. The first showcase of the year in Windsor hadn’t even started and we knew that Maggio was going to wreck havoc this season. Armed with a tendency to shoot for any angle possible, Maggio has shown repeatedly that he can score from these odd angles as well. Maggio has quick acceleration which allows him to deceptively get past defenders. Like Diaco, Maggio could vault himself higher with a strong run deep this season with Sun County.

3. Sheldon Serraglio (London Jr. Knights)

A calm defender at all times, Serraglio is criminally underrated in what he can create on the ice. Serraglio isn’t flashy nor does he have the size one would expect from a top defender, Serraglio is as effective as anyone along the boards. On the offensive size of things, Serraglio has the perfect low point shot you want on a powerplay and has the vision and ability to thread the needle for scoring chances. The more I see Serraglio, I see him as being similar to Owen Lalonde when he was with Windsor. As long as he stays healthy, Serraglio should see his name mentioned more often with the other top players in the Alliance.

2. Blake Butler (Lambton Jr. Sting)

An argument could be made for Butler to be number one on this list and that debate happened in my mind over and over again. Butler was the preseason top choice in the Alliance for his combination of size, speed and skill. There is no doub that Butler has an OHL calibre shot. He has scored some OHL level goals with one that sticks in my mind is his game winner against Hamilton at the Showcase in Woodstock in early December. Butler has taken Lambton on his back this year and has brought them into contention of a playdown spot. Don’t be surprised to hear Butler’s name called in the first couple of rounds come April’s OHL Draft.

1  Ben McFarlane (Cambridge Hawks)

McFarlane nabs the top spot in my initial rankings and as mentioned above, it wasn’t an easy decision by any means. McFarlane brings a big game in a small frame. A small player at the minor midget level, McFarlane has a lightning quick shot to go along with very good speed. Despite his small size, McFarlane plays a highly physical game and throws hits like he’s been shot out of a rocket launcher. Although on a team with loads of talent, McFarlane has been the one to take games over when the Hawks are in need of a boost. McFarlane has all the tools to be a great player at the next level, especially in this new age of hockey where size isn’t the be all end all.

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2017/18 Alliance Player Rankings 6-15

Here we are, back at it with the second section of the inaugural Alliance Scout Player Rankings for the 2017/18 season. This list will bring us all the way to the top five and has some players who will be able to make a run at a top five position based on their play in the last few months of the season heading into the OHL Draft in April.

15. Matt Onuska (Waterloo Wolves)

Onuska is the lone goaltender to make the rankings in its first format. While there were a few goaltenders in the discussion for top netminder in the assocation, Onuska has done plenty to distance himself for the pack. Onuska has size on his side, already standing over six feet tall. He’s also incredibly agile for a bigger goaltender and rarely gives up bad rebounds. Onuska has been a key in the Wolves recent march up the Alliance standings.
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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.

2016/17 Alliance Scout Player Rankings 6-15

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

Jake Murray, Mitch Hoelscher among 15 Alliance Alumni named to GOJHL Top Prospect Game

The Alliance crop of players from the 2000 age group is really making its mark on the Junior B circuit.

On Wednesday, the rosters for the 2016/17 GOJHL Top Prospects game were released and the Alliance association was well represented. 15 players with Alliance roots were selected to represent their Junior B clubs with another four former Alliance members being named as alternates.

While some names were probably expected, it is also great to see five undrafted players from last season named to the squad.

Here is the full list of former Alliance players selected to the squad.

Mason Hardy – Stratford Warriors (Waterloo Wolves)

Spencer Lapointe – St. Thomas Stars (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)

Luke Bignell – Kitchener Dutchmen (Kitchener Jr. Rangers)

Jake Murray – St. Thomas Stars (Elgin-MIddlesex Chiefs)

Richard Little – Brantford 99ers (Brantford 99ers)

Holden Wale – Cambridge Winterhawks (Brantford 99ers)

Tyler McBay – Elmira Sugar Kings (Waterloo Wolves)

Parker Jacques – Leamington Flyers (Sun County Panthers)

Brady MacDonald – Strathroy Rockets (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)

Brett Fisher – Lambton Shores Predators (London Jr. Knights)

Mitch Hoelscher – Elmira Sugar Kings (Waterloo Wolves)

Spencer Kersten – Waterloo Siskins (Waterloo Wolves)

Jack Bowler – LaSalle Vipers (Sun County Panthers)

Kyle Fisher – Lambton Shores Predators (London Jr. Knights)

Wes Dobbin – Lambton Shores Predators (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)

*Tristan DeJong – Cambridge Winterhawks (Waterloo Wolves)

*Issac Walker – London Nationals (London Jr. Knights)

*John Parker-Jones – Brampton Bombers (Brantford 99ers)

*Ty Glover – Strathroy Rockets (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)

*Indicates alternate selection

A big congratulations goes out to all the players who were selected to appear in the event.

2016/17 Minor Midget Rankings (Week Two)

We are only two weeks into the weekly team rankings and the shakeups have already begun.

Last week’s #1 Kitchener had a rough start to begin the week while London and Waterloo both had some quality games. Other teams such as Windsor and Huron-Perth had successful weekends while other squads had some games they wish to remove from their memory.

Week two of the rankings has been a crazy one. I can only imagine what week three will bring us.

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2016/17 Minor Midget Rankings (Week One)

2016 OHL Priority Selection Draft Results

The day that so many players and families have been waiting for has finally arrived. The OHL Draft has arrived and with plenty of anticipation.

For the live blog today, we will go through with you every single round and discuss every Alliance player selected in the draft. Historically, the Alliance has produced approximately 42 players into the OHL Draft on a yearly basis. Not a lot considering that there are over 200 players combined in the league.

Just remember, if your name gets called to savour the moment. Do not dwell if it is lower than you were expecting as your draft position is just a number and your future play will determine everything. Those players who will not be as fortunate to hear their name, hard work can still present that opportunity to you. Mike Hoffman of the Ottawa Senators knows that first hand and he is a story that should give motivation for any undrafted players still looking to make that jump to major junior hockey.

With everything said, sit back and relax if that’s possible. The draft begins at 9am and we will be here with you for its entirety.

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Alliance Scout Player Rankings 16-25

Well, it’s finally here. After weeks of watching and observing Alliance games left, right and centre, I’ve finally compiled the top 25 players in the Alliance.

Needless to say, this was not the easiest task in the least. Even after sorting through all 12 rosters and doing my initial lists, I was still sitting at about 45-50 players that I then needed to cut in half to make up the inaugural Alliance Scout rankings.

It must be stated that this is the initial rankings based on play from the first few months of the season. This includes all regular season games, the Alliance Showcase and All Star Weekend as well as other tournaments such as the Whitby Silver Stick and Toronto Titans Early Bird Tournament.

For those players that did not make the initial 25, that does not mean they will not make the list in the future. There are still plenty of tournaments and the playdowns for players to make an impact and make that leap into the top 25.

For today, we will release the players ranked from 16 to 25. The following list will hold players six through 15 while the final list will be a look at the top five players in the Alliance in my opinion.

Here it goes:

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3 Thoughts From Sun County at Cambridge (Sept. 20, 2015)

sun county panthers logo

This game had a lot of intensity for the first whistle all the way to the final buzzer. Both Sun County and Cambridge were coming off lopsided loses the previous day with each team allowing six goals. The pace of play only intensified after Steven MacDonald gave the Panthers a 1-0 just 14 seconds into the game.

While close for the first two periods, both teams exploded for a combined eight goals in the third, six of which came from Sun County. 8-2 Panthers would be the final with Sun County being led by Justin Bondy and MacDonald who each tallied four points.

It was the final game for each team before heading to St. Mary’s for the Alliance Faceoff this weekend. Both will be looking for some momentum as the Alliance season continues on.

Thought 1:

Successful Positioning by the Panthers

One thing most people would agree about the Sun County Panthers is that they are not a large team. So much so that even a small team like Cambridge looked physically larger than them. So you have to give credit to the Panthers coaching staff for realizing this and using more positioning rather than physical play to create scoring chances.

In the offensive zone, the Panthers used the point very effectively to either get shots on net or to draw a defender up so one of their skilled forwards could cheat towards the circle. On the rush, crisp passes and simple hockey allowed them to enter and maintain control in the offensive zone, a big improvement over their game in Kitchener Saturday.

Sun County even had a handful of chances from just catching the Hawks defenders sleeping. There were three or four times that a Panther forward, more times than not Jake Nimmo, was able to sneak behind the defense and an outlet pass later had a clear breakaway on net.

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