From the Alliance to the OHL – October Edition

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With the OHL season getting underway in late September, it was great to see so many 2001 born Alliance players making their OHL clubs. In addition to the 01’s, there were plenty of 2000 alumni who were also making the step to major junior hockey.

As we did last season, every month we are going to be taking a look at some of the Alliance standouts each month and how they are doing in the OHL. Having covered both the 2001 and 2000 age groups extensively, I will be looking at both years to see who is standing out in the league and there are plenty.
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Jake Murray, Mitch Hoelscher among 15 Alliance Alumni named to GOJHL Top Prospect Game

The Alliance crop of players from the 2000 age group is really making its mark on the Junior B circuit.

On Wednesday, the rosters for the 2016/17 GOJHL Top Prospects game were released and the Alliance association was well represented. 15 players with Alliance roots were selected to represent their Junior B clubs with another four former Alliance members being named as alternates.

While some names were probably expected, it is also great to see five undrafted players from last season named to the squad.

Here is the full list of former Alliance players selected to the squad.

Mason Hardy – Stratford Warriors (Waterloo Wolves)

Spencer Lapointe – St. Thomas Stars (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)

Luke Bignell – Kitchener Dutchmen (Kitchener Jr. Rangers)

Jake Murray – St. Thomas Stars (Elgin-MIddlesex Chiefs)

Richard Little – Brantford 99ers (Brantford 99ers)

Holden Wale – Cambridge Winterhawks (Brantford 99ers)

Tyler McBay – Elmira Sugar Kings (Waterloo Wolves)

Parker Jacques – Leamington Flyers (Sun County Panthers)

Brady MacDonald – Strathroy Rockets (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)

Brett Fisher – Lambton Shores Predators (London Jr. Knights)

Mitch Hoelscher – Elmira Sugar Kings (Waterloo Wolves)

Spencer Kersten – Waterloo Siskins (Waterloo Wolves)

Jack Bowler – LaSalle Vipers (Sun County Panthers)

Kyle Fisher – Lambton Shores Predators (London Jr. Knights)

Wes Dobbin – Lambton Shores Predators (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)

*Tristan DeJong – Cambridge Winterhawks (Waterloo Wolves)

*Issac Walker – London Nationals (London Jr. Knights)

*John Parker-Jones – Brampton Bombers (Brantford 99ers)

*Ty Glover – Strathroy Rockets (Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs)

*Indicates alternate selection

A big congratulations goes out to all the players who were selected to appear in the event.

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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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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3 Thoughts from Waterloo at Kitchener (January 20, 2016)

Despite the fact that they bordering towns and their home rinks are separated by just 20 minutes, Waterloo and Kitchener don’t play each nearly enough considering the calibre of games they have played this season.

In the previous two outings that I have taken in live, both teams played very competitively against each other especially in the semi-final of the Gold Puck tournament. In their last meeting of the regular season, you had Waterloo still technically fighting for top spot in the league and Kitchener running a six game winning streak and coming off a win at the Peterborough Tournament of Champions.

It was a physical game from the beginning even with Kitchener missing the suspended Zach Edwards. The battle between captains Luke Bignell and Chris Playfair was also one that escalated throughout the game.

Here are a few other things that stood out from the game in which Waterloo ended Kitchener’s win streak with a 5-2 victory.

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Alliance All Star Day 2 Recap

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The final day of the Alliance All Star weekend went today with four games, but two of the same games. In the early action, Team Navy took on Team Grey in a game that saw Grey take the win 7-4 behind a three point game from Hamilton’s Derek Seguin who took home the player of the game honours for Grey.

In the 2nd game, Team White shutdown the high powered offense of Team Blue with a 5-0 victory behind the stellar play of London’s Keaghan Brett. As it so turns out, the way the standings ended up we go these exact two same matchups for the afternoon games.

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Alliance All Star Weekend Preview

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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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3 Thoughts From Kitchener at Cambridge (Sept. 13, 2015)

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It was the first game that I took in this season at Galt Arena on Sunday when the Cambridge Hawks hosted the Kitchener Jr. Rangers. Both teams were coming off of losses the previous evening. Cambridge was downed by Huron-Perth while Kitchener was defeated by Chatham-Kent in what can only be described as an upset.

In a game that was thoroughly dominated by Kitchener, it was the Jr. Rangers who needed a third period goal in order to secure the tie and a 2-2 tie would be the final in this one, giving both teams their first points on the young campaign.

As with most games that I attend this season (including the Alliance Faceoffs next weekend), I will try and give a few thoughts from each to enlighten those who were unable to attend.

Thought 1:

Goaltending Played a Big Factor in the Tie

It was an interested matchup in net between these two teams. The Hawks had former Jr. Ranger Ben Coveny between the pipes while Kitchener countered with newcomer Jackson Dewar. It should be noted that Rhetton Kimmel was at Galt Arena, but was not in uniform. If Coveny was not in net for the Hawks, I think they would still be searching for their first point of the year.

There were a handful of scoring chances that Kitchener had that should have been capitalized on if not for the incredible reflexes and positioning of Coveny.

On the Kitchener side, it was evident that Jackson Dewar is still getting accustomed to playing with his new teammates. Dewar, who played AA in Kitchener last season, faced few shots but a vast majority of them were with the Hawks driving down the wing.

No doubt that Dewar will improve as the season progresses, but however long Rhetton Kimmel is out with determine what kind of start Kitchener will have this season.

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