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 Kitchener Jr. Rangers Season Preview

Minor Midget Record: 17-9-7 (3rd Place)

Minor Midget Result: Lost in semi-finals to Waterloo in 8 games (Lost in OHL Cup Play-In Game)

Major Bantam Record: 12-15-5 (9th Place)

Major Bantam Result: Lost in first round to Waterloo in 4 games

Following another disappointing end to their season at the OHL Cup, the Kitchener Jr. Rangers will once again aim for a permanent spot in the provincial championship tournament.

Last year’s Minor Midget team was one of the more surprising teams in the league. After finishing bantam in last place, the 2001 version of the Kitchener Jr. Rangers were a top tier team in the Alliance thanks to the offensive additions of Cole Mackay and Justin McCombs. In addition to Mackay and McCombs, it was the emergence of Cole Schwindt and the play of Zach Russell that got Kitchener to the semi-finals of the playdowns, culminating in one of the best postseason series I’ve ever seen.
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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.

Alliance OHL Cup Preview

The latest hockey season has come to an end for some of the teams in the Alliance but there is still hockey being played which includes four Alliance teams trying their hand at the illustrious OHL Cup championship title. The London Jr. Knights, Waterloo Wolves and Cambridge Hawks have all punched their ticket to the dance with the Kitchener Jr. Rangers just one win away from joining them. Last year was a disappointing tournament for the Alliance with no teams from the association making it past the round robin portion of the tournament. This season, the Alliance enters the tournament with London being ranked at the top and legitimate contenders to take the crown.

Let’s just go through the divisions and see exactly what each team has in store for them later this week. Click here for full article

Series Preview: (3) Kitchener Jr. Rangers vs. (6) Windsor Jr. Spitfires

Last season, the Windsor Jr. Spitfires took on the Kitchener Jr. Rangers in a preliminary round series at Major Bantam. Windsor was a six seed, Kitchener was last at 11. Kitchener pulled off the upset in three games. These two teams meet again this year, but this time Kitchener is the top seed and Windsor is looking for the upset.

These two teams are not strangers to each other. Both squads met up four times this year with a quarter-final date at the Dale Parker tournament joining their three league games. Kitchener took the season series 3-1, winning the final three meetings which included that quarter-final game.
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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

2016/17 Alliance Scout Player Rankings 16-25

After a countless amount of live game viewings spanning many cities and many different teams, it is finally time to bring out the Alliance Player Rankings for the 2001 born players.

This year for the Alliance features a lot of top end talent on the ice to go along with an Alliance team that was ranked #4 in the inaugural OHL Cup Rankings.

There were two different areas of this list that were fairly difficult. Firstly, it was narrowing down my original list of about 45 players down to the 25 that compile this list. That was a task that took lots of debate and overview to finally come to a decision. Secondly, it was trying to arrange players in slot where there is such a miniscule difference between some of these players.

So the 25 have now been slotted and we will start with the players landing in the 16-25 range. There will not be any “on the bubble” list but it is probably inevitable that next month when the 2nd list makes an appearance that some new faces will be there.

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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