2018/19 Kitchener Jr. Rangers Season Preview

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2017/18 Minor Midget Record: 9-19-5 (10th Place)

2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Did not qualify for playdowns

2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 23-7-2 (2nd Place)

2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in semi-finals to Windsor Jr. Spitfires in 5 games

After a rare down year for the Jr. Rangers last season, the 03 group looks like a team that could inflict some serious damage on the Alliance this year.

It was a tough season for Dean DeSilva and the 2002 born players last season. While nobody was projecting them to be a top-tier team, I personally thought they would easily slide into the 6-8 range of the Alliance. That wasn’t the case as injuries to key guys along with a lack of scoring hurt the team down the stretch as they fell down to 10th place once the season was complete.
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2018/19 Brantford 99ers Season Preview

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2017/18 Minor Midget Record: 19-13-1 (4th Place)

2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Won Alliance Championship over London Jr. Knights in 5 games (1-3 at OHL Cup)

2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 25-2-5 (1st Place)

2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in 1/4 finals to Waterloo Wolves in 4 games

Following a great postseason run that was capped off by an Alliance championship, the Brantford 99ers are poised for a possible repeat this year.

The 99ers went into the playdown season last year not playing their most consistent hockey. At no point after the Woodstock showcase did the 99ers reel off consecutive wins and they went into the postseason as a team I thought was capable of a first round loss. I can admit when I’m wrong and was I ever as the 99ers were as resilient as they come in the postseason, going 4-0 in elimination games to get past Waterloo, Cambridge and finally London and win the Alliance title. Led up front by Theo Hill and 03 Maddox Callens, the 99ers got timely scoring by their supporting players while Dylan Robinson and 03 Cole Hipkin led the way defensively.
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2018 OHL Priority Selection Draft Results

The time has finally come. All the work over the past six months has led us to this date. An exciting date for some players as they will hear their names called and find out where the next step in their hockey career.

As always, this is not he be all and end all of your hockey career should your name be passed over today. I’ll always point towards someone like Mike Hoffman, who didn’t hear his name called in a draft until the Ottawa Senators called upon him in 2009. Don’t take today as the end of a career but rather another step in the journey.

As for today, we will have you completely covered from top to bottom with all the Alliance players selected. In 2017, the Alliance had a record 46 players selected with 10 players going in the first three rounds. It will also be interesting to see how many players from the Alliance Scout Top 25 rankings are taken as 24/25 were selected in 2017.

Stay tuned here all day for continuously updated coverage. It all gets underway at 9:00am.

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Alliance Series Preview: (4) Brantford 99ers vs. (5) Waterloo Wolves

Our next series looks at probably the closest one in the opening round. The Waterloo Wolves will look to reach their sixth consecutive Alliance championship, but their road will be much tougher than previous years. Brantford returns to the playdowns for the first time since their semi-final run with the 1998 born players. This years team has showcased speed and skill along with showcasing some players for the future.

Season Series:

Brantford defeated Waterloo 1-0 on October 2nd

Waterloo defeated Brantford 3-1 on January 9th

Waterloo defeated Brantford 4-0 on January 27th

Leading Scorers:

Brantford                                                                 Waterloo

Andrew Casasanta 13-25-38                                  Chase Broda 16-19-35

Maddox Callens 15-18-33                                       Nathan Dewar 15-18-33

Theo Hill 13-19-32                                                   Zac McCann 14-14-28
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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.

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.
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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.
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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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