From the Alliance to the OHL (November Edition)

Better late than never as they say. November was another good month for Alliance alumni when it came to Junior Hockey. While some players were sent back to Jr. B teams as players were returned to the OHL from their NHL clubs, many Alliance players were thriving at the Jr. B level while the ones left at the OHL level were still making their mark on games.

In addition to the 2000 born players getting their feet wet, you have the 1999 born players gaining traction as the 2017 NHL Draft is quickly approaching and players are either rising or falling down the mock draft lists.

Now that we have somewhat solidified where these guys will be playing for the remainder of the season, these won’t just include those that are in the OHL, but those were are making their impacts in others leagues across Southwestern Ontario.

Brady Hinz – Sarnia Sting (Huron-Perth Lakers)

Hinz continued to impress and even surprise some scouts as he has been steady in his production level for the Sting. Hinz put in three goals and six points over 11 games in the month of November and was solid on the defensive side of the puck as well, contributing a +1 rating.

Hinz will continue to gain more experience as the season progresses and could see a few extra minutes with Adam Ruzicka away at the World Juniors. With the role he currently sees on the team, Hinz is well on his way to becoming a key piece for the 2017/18 Sting team. Click here for full article

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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Final Alliance Scout Top 25 Player Rankings

Just a couple days out from the OHL Priority Selection Draft and so much is still happening. The excitement for players, parents and coaches starts to hit its peak as the anticipation grows.

Plenty is still happening on the team front as it was announced today that the #3 overall pick was going to be forfeited by the Flint Firebirds due to the abomination that was their ownerships first season. With that news, there is even more talk about plenty of possibilities on who could fall where.

A lot of the talk includes Alliance Player of the Year Owen Lalonde. The Windsor defenseman seems to be a lock to be selected in the top 10 with some mock drafts placing him top five or in a couple cases top three. High praise for the young man, but that leads us into the final player rankings.

The top 25 saw some changes from its predecessor as playoff performances had some players jump while other players took a step back. Although a player does not make the top 25, that most certainly won’t exclude them from possibly hearing their name on Saturday. On average, the Alliance produces upwards of 45 picks every year. Look for a more in depth look at those stats before Saturday.

With that said, let’s begin the countdown and there is only one place to begin.

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Series Preview: (2) Waterloo Wolves vs. (4) Kitchener Jr. Rangers

Season Series:

Kitchener over Waterloo 3-2 (Oct. 4)

Waterloo over Kitchener 3-2 (Oct. 24)

Waterloo over Kitchener 4-2 (Dec. 13 Gold Puck Semi-Final)

Waterloo over Kitchener 5-2 (Jan. 20)

The rivalry will be renewed as the Waterloo Wolves and the Kitchener Jr. Rangers will each travel down Highway 85 with a spot in the Alliance Championships and a guaranteed spot in the OHL Cup on the line.

The first round didn’t go exactly as Waterloo planned, although they did eventually come out on top. The Wolves dropped their first playdown game against the Hamilton Huskies and then needed strong 3rd periods in order to take a couple more games. It was the dynamic and skilled forwards that the Wolves possess that helped them to victory in four games, along with some more strong play from Nathan Torchia in goal.

Kitchener seemingly cruised their way past a hobbled Huron-Perth Lakers squad with a combination of stingy defense and a consistent offensive attack. The offense was led by captain Luke Bignell and Eric and Rhett Kimmel was solid in net playing all three games. The Jr. Rangers got into penalty trouble, but that wasn’t much of a concern for them as they scored three shorthanded goals in their three game series.

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Alliance Quarter-Finals Roundup

It took a little over a week, but the quarter-finals have finally been settled and the final four teams have been decided. London, Waterloo, Kitchener and Windsor will battle it out for the chance to be crowned the Alliance champion. While no series went to a deciding 5th game, the series were close for the most part. The lone series that saw a large discrepancy was London’s win over Chatham, which was a #1 seed against a #8.

With the semi-finals now set, we will see top seeded London take on the lone upset winner of the first round Windsor. While Waterloo will battle with their highway 8 rivals the Kitchener Jr. Rangers. Each series brings different questions will some key factors that could determine who comes out on top. Previews for those series should be released this week.

London explodes offensively to take down Cyclones

The Jr. Knights were able to find the back of the net 18 times in three games as they completed the sweep of Chatham-Kent. The names you would expect to see on the game sheet were there, but there was one prominent name that was missing from this series.

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Series Preview: (4) Kitchener Jr. Rangers vs. (5) Huron-Perth Lakers

Season Series:

Huron-Perth over Kitchener 4-2 (Sept. 20)

Kitchener over Huron-Perth 6-0 (Nov. 18)

Kitchener over Huron-Perth 7-1 (Dec. 2)

It’s a battle of teams separated by just 30 minutes and this one could be a difficult one to predict, should everything go as planned.

The struggle for home ice advantage in the first round came down to the final day as Kitchener edged out Huron-Perth by just two points in the standings to grab that extra home game in the series. With these two teams going at it, it’s quite clear that both have been going in opposite directions for some time now.

Kitchener has been on a roll for the past month or two, rocketing up the standings when they were sitting in the bottom third at one point this season. The Lakers came roaring out of the gate to nab first place, but injuries and other factors led to a bit of a skid and has seen them fall to 5th spot.

Kitchener won the season series between the two teams with two blowout wins in November and December while the Lakers grabbed a win in the opener way back in just the second weekend of the season. The difference between those games was that the Lakers were healthy for the first game, not so much in games two and three.

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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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Alliance All Star Weekend Preview

2015_ALLIANCE_All-Star_logo

The Alliance will take a break this coming weekend to showcase all of the talent in the association with their All-Star Weekend festivities in Waterloo. The Minor Midgets take centre stage with a four team tournament while the Bantams and Midgets will send their best out there in a single exhibition game.

With the Minor Midgets bringing out four teams, there were plenty of players who were chosen to represent their teams. The Minor Midget Teams are as follows:

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Alliance Faceoff Day 1 Recap

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All 12 teams in the Minor Midget Alliance division gathered in St. Mary’s today for the beginning of the Alliance Faceoff Showcase. Scouts from all across Ontario were in attendance on Day 1 and the numbers are sure to increase as the weekend continues.

All the teams I viewed were playing with a sense of urgency as they tried to either continue on their hot streak or turn their season around.

Huron-Perth Lakers 5 – Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs 3

The Lakers improved to 5-0 on the young season with another victory, this time over a very game Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs. The Lakers used strong back checking from their forwards and capitalized on their opportunities to pull out the win in a game where the Chiefs really controlled play.

Tyler Parr was in net for Huron-Perth and came up with some big saves throughout the game, mainly while Huron was on the penalty kill. Brady Hinz was on another level in this game, using his speed and puck handling to create several chances including one goal for himself. On the Lakers second line, Owen Gilhula was the catalyst to keep the Lakers offense rolling.

The Chiefs were not able to get many scoring chances late in the game as Huron-Perth shut down defensively. Aidan Burns shined bright for Elgin. He led the defense as they kept Kaleb Pearson at bay and tried their best to contain Hinz. Jake Murray was once again the big offensive threat for the Chiefs, scoring a late beautiful 2nd period goal.

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