Series Preview: (1) Cambridge Hawks vs. (8) Chatham-Kent Cyclones

The final series to get underway this season is the top ranked Cambridge Hawks taking on a Chatham-Kent team that battled hard at the end of the season to secure the eighth seed. The Hawks rolled through the Alliance regular season, falling just twice through 33 games Cambridge had a roster full of talent from offense to goaltending. Chatham got points in six of their final eight games to propel them into the postseason after a tough battle with Kitchener and Lambton.

Season Series:

Cambridge defeated Chatham-Kent 6-3 on September 30th

Cambridge defeated Chatham-Kent 4-0 on November 5th

Cambridge defeated Chatham-Kent 6-3 on December 1st (All-Star Showcase)

Leading Scorers:

Cambridge                                                 Chatham-Kent

Joseph Serpa 14-26-40                              Craig Spence 7-20-27

Ben McFarlane 21-16-37                            Darby Lemieux 15-10-25

Tyler Healey 14-13-27                                 Adrian Stubberfield 13-12-25

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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.


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 London Jr. Knights Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 27-2-4 (1st Place)

Minor Midget Result: Won Alliance Championship over Waterloo in 4 games (OHL Cup Semi-Finalist)

Major Bantam Record: 19-7-6 (2nd Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in Alliance Championship to Cambridge in 4 games

After a stellar season that saw the London Jr. Knights reign as the top Ontario team for the majority of the season, the 2002 crop comes up with loads of talent and a shot at another Alliance championship.

The Minor Midget Jr. Knights were probably the best team in minor hockey last season. Even though they didn’t win the OHL Cup, the amount of talent that was on that team to go along with how well they played together made it a treat to watch them every single game. Led by Ryan Suzuki, the first overall pick in the OHL Draft, the Jr. Knights had a laundry list of guys who you will probably see playing in the OHL either this year or next. Names like Prueter, Burridge, Van Loon, Drewitt and Say are just some of the guys you could see in the OHL shortly.
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2017/18 Cambridge Hawks Season Preview

cambridge logo

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 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 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 beginning at 9am on Saturday. We will be keeping you up to date on all Alliance players and goalies selected by OHL clubs.