2017/18 Waterloo Wolves Season Preview

wolves

Minor Midget Record: 26-5-2 (2nd Place)

Minor Midget Result: Lost in Alliance Championship to London in 4 games (Advanced to OHL Cup)

Major Bantam Record: 13-10-9 (5th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in semi-finals to London in 5 games

A year after seeing their streak of three consecutive Alliance championships come to an end, the Waterloo Wolves are once again positioned to possibly start a new streak this season.

It was going to be hard pressed for the Wolves organization to top the talent level that the 2000 born team had. When the days of the 2016/17 began to end, many thought that the 2001 team was more talent laden than their predecessor. Led up front by Keean Washkurak and on the back end by workhorse Nathan Allensen, the Wolves ended their regular season winning 16 consecutive league games and continued that with a sweep in the opening round. A phenomenal series against Kitchener followed and after a grueling eight game series win, the Wolves fell short against a dominant London squad.
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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 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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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 AllianceHockeyScout.com beginning at 9am on Saturday. We will be keeping you up to date on all Alliance players and goalies selected by OHL clubs.

Series Preview: (1) London Jr. Knights vs. (2) Waterloo Wolves

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.

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Series Preview: (2) Waterloo Wolves vs. (7) Hamilton Huskies

A rematch of last year’s first round series, the Waterloo Wolves quest for yet another Alliance championship will need to go through a Hamilton team that has been playing tight, defensive hockey over the past month.

The Waterloo Wolves are on an incredibly impressive run heading into the postseason. The Wolves have won 16 straight games which includes a huge win over the London Jr. Knights just a couple weeks ago. While Waterloo has not dominated throughout their win streak, they have found a way to pull out games when they needed to and get timely scoring along the way.
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2016/17 Alliance Scout Player Rankings 1-5

After four months of hockey and a whirlwind of games, we have finally reached, in my opinion, the top five players in the Alliance association. The top five is mainly dominated by incredibly skilled forwards and a player who I’ve heard some comparisons to a top end defenseman from last season.

One thing should be noted about this list. These are the top players in the Alliance in my opinion, regardless of eligibility for certain drafts. That may be a giveaway as to who could possibly be involved in the top five, but just wanted to make that clear ahead of time to avoid any confusion. Click here for full article

Alliance All-Star Rosters Released

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.

Here are the full team rosters.

Team Blue:

G – Corson Marit (Kitchener)

G – Lewis Boulton (London)

D – Stefan Dobrich (Sun County)

D – Mason Howard (London)

D – Stefan Panzalovic (Sun County)

D – Dylan Schives (Chatham-Kent)

D – Michael Van Loon (Elgin-Middlesex)

D – Gavin Wood (Waterloo)

F – David Anderson (Cambridge)

F – Cal Christner (Waterloo)

F – Stephane Crevier (Sun County)

F – Nolan Degurse (Lambton)

F – Luke Drewitt (London)

F – Tyson Hillier (Waterloo)

F – T.J. Hughes (Hamilton)

F – Jakob Marche (Elgin-Middlesex)

F – Keean Washkurak (Waterloo)
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Game Report: Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs at Waterloo Wolves (Oct. 29)

The Saturday night home game has become a bit of a tradition at RIM Park. Waterloo consistently takes the ice at 7pm and has been quite successful on their home ice. The Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs were having none of that as they walked into the arena and beat Waterloo in nearly every facet of the 50 minutes they played.

The Chiefs came into this game winning their past two games after a deflating defeat at the hands of the London Jr. Knights. They were sitting in the middle of the standings looking up at some solid teams despite some huge wins on the season. The Chiefs are the only team to hand London a loss this season.

The Wolves had won five in a row going into Saturday night and were unbeaten in their past seven. Waterloo was cruising and asserting themselves as a top team, which has been the trend over the past few seasons.
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Alliance Showcase Day 1 Round-Up

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.
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Look Ahead to Alliance Showcase

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.