2019/20 Brantford 99ers Season Preview

Brantford Logo

2018/19 Minor Midget Record: 21-8-4 (1st Overall)

2018/19 Minor Midget Result: Won Alliance Championship over Kitchener (1-3 OHL Cup Record)

2018/19 Major Bantam Record: 6-20-6 (11th Overall)

2018/19 Major Bantam Result: Lost to Cambridge in preliminary round

The winner of back to back Alliance championships, the Brantford 99ers will be in a tougher spot this season as they look to improve and snag a playdown position.

Following an unlikely Alliance championship in with the 2002 born group, the 99ers were favourites to repeat last season as the team was chalked full of talent. When you can puts the likes of Maddox Callens, Landon McCallum, Steven Laforme and Cole Hipkin in your lineup on a nightly basis, you’re in a good spot. Although injuries hampered their OHL Cup chances, it was the core group along with a stellar postseason from goalie Ben DiGiallonardo to secure the series win over Kitchener.

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Team Alliance for 2019 OHL Gold Cup Announced

With the OHL Gold Cup set to go from Kitchener in just a couple of weeks, the rosters for the teams was announced today. Below is the full Team Alliance roster, which will be coached by Jr. Rangers bench boss Dean DeSilva this season.

G – Max Donoso (Windsor)

G – Michael Simpson (London)

D – Luc Brzustowski (Kitchener)

D – Kai Greaves (Cambridge)

D – Cole Hipkin (Brantford)

D – Brayden Hislop (Waterloo)

D – Christian Kyrou (Elgin)

D – Sam Sedley (Huron)

F – Nicholas Beneteau (Windsor)

F – Braeden Bowman (Kitchener)

F – Ryan Burke (Elgin)

F – Maddox Callens (Brantford)

F – Cayden Faust (Windsor)

F – Deni Goure (Chatham)

F – Ray Hamlin (Windsor)

F – Brett Harrison (London)

F – Steven Laforme (Brantford)

F – Landon McCallum (Brantford)

F – Marko Sikic (Kitchener)

F – Cooper Way (Waterloo)

 

2019 OHL Priority Selection Results

The day has finally come that so many minor midget hockey players have been looking forwar to. OHL teams will run down their lists and select 303 players to join their clubs with a chance at realizing that OHL dream.

Below you can catch up to the minute updates on all the Alliance players selected in today’s draft. After 37 players were taken from the Alliance last season, I would expect this year to be similar to the 2001 born draft. That selection saw 46 players taken with 10 players going in the first three rounds.

While we may not hit that mark, I do expect a big contingent of Alliance players to go in the first few rounds.

Join us for all the action as we track how the Alliance fares in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection.

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2018/19 Alliance Player Rankings 1-5

We’ve finally reached the end of our list. Following four months of jam-packed action, I’ve finally been able to adjust the top five players into one rankings.

Brantford leads the way with three players in the top five, which shouldn’t be much of a shock. There is definitely a tiered prospect level in the Alliance this year and I think the argument can be made that these five skaters are in a tier of their own.

Enough chatter, here is the midseason top five. Continue reading

Alliance Team Rankings – 3rd Edition

We have finally made it to the holiday break, which actually isn’t much of a break for many teams. 10 of the 12 Alliance squads will be participating in the Toronto Marlboros Holiday Classic, with just the Chatham-Kent Cyclones and the Lambton Jr. Sting skipping out on the tournament.

The new year will bring plenty of battles and lots of exciting play in the Alliance loop. While the eight teams that will be advancing to the playdowns seems to get clearer and clearer every day, it is the battle for positioning that should take us down to the wire. Add in the new postseasons twist of the “consolation” playoff winner having a shot at an OHL Cup Wildcard spot and there is lots of meaningful hockey ahead.

With only a month left to play, here is what I think the opening round of the playdowns will look like.

Brantford vs Huron-Perth

London vs Chatham-Kent

Windsor vs Cambridge

Kitchener vs Waterloo

Now here is the final team rankings for the year of 2018.

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Alliance Team Rankings – 1st Edition

Feels good to finally be back with some time to bring written content to the site. I know I’ve been absent for quite a long time but things have been a bit busy on my end. I’d like to thank everyone for their kind words and support during the last couple of months.

While I’m unable to attend the vast amount of Alliance games as I’m used to over the past couple of months, I’ve still been keeping a keen eye on things. Now that most teams have completed over half of their regular season schedule, the playdown picture is starting to take shape all the upcoming battles for positioning are sure to be incredible as well.

For the first edition of these rankings, it shouldn’t be a surprise who is occupying the top spot. It is the next five spots where there can be lots of debate as to who seeds where. It is those debates that is going to make the final two months of the regular season a real treat.

Follow along and let me know where I’ve gone wrong. Don’t worry, I’ve got thick skin.
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2018/19 Brantford 99ers Season Preview

Brantford Logo

2017/18 Minor Midget Record: 19-13-1 (4th Place)

2017/18 Minor Midget Result: Won Alliance Championship over London Jr. Knights in 5 games (1-3 at OHL Cup)

2017/18 Major Bantam Record: 25-2-5 (1st Place)

2017/18 Major Bantam Result: Lost in 1/4 finals to Waterloo Wolves in 4 games

Following a great postseason run that was capped off by an Alliance championship, the Brantford 99ers are poised for a possible repeat this year.

The 99ers went into the playdown season last year not playing their most consistent hockey. At no point after the Woodstock showcase did the 99ers reel off consecutive wins and they went into the postseason as a team I thought was capable of a first round loss. I can admit when I’m wrong and was I ever as the 99ers were as resilient as they come in the postseason, going 4-0 in elimination games to get past Waterloo, Cambridge and finally London and win the Alliance title. Led up front by Theo Hill and 03 Maddox Callens, the 99ers got timely scoring by their supporting players while Dylan Robinson and 03 Cole Hipkin led the way defensively.
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Alliance Series Preview: (4) Brantford 99ers vs. (5) Waterloo Wolves

Our next series looks at probably the closest one in the opening round. The Waterloo Wolves will look to reach their sixth consecutive Alliance championship, but their road will be much tougher than previous years. Brantford returns to the playdowns for the first time since their semi-final run with the 1998 born players. This years team has showcased speed and skill along with showcasing some players for the future.

Season Series:

Brantford defeated Waterloo 1-0 on October 2nd

Waterloo defeated Brantford 3-1 on January 9th

Waterloo defeated Brantford 4-0 on January 27th

Leading Scorers:

Brantford                                                                 Waterloo

Andrew Casasanta 13-25-38                                  Chase Broda 16-19-35

Maddox Callens 15-18-33                                       Nathan Dewar 15-18-33

Theo Hill 13-19-32                                                   Zac McCann 14-14-28
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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 Brantford 99ers Season Preview

Brantford LogoMinor Midget Record – 7-19-4 (10th Place)

Minor Midget Result – Did Not Qualify for Playdowns

Major Bantam Record – 16-10-6 (4th Place)

Major Bantam Result – Lost in 1st Round to Huron-Perth (6 Games)

After a disappointing season at the Minor Midget level and a very disappointing exit at bantam, the 99ers will look to some skilled younger players to bring them back to postseason play.

The 2001 age group for the 99ers was a tough year for many different reasons. The offense was never able to get into a consistent rhythm and the defense, despite having Aidan McLeod on the blue line, couldn’t shut down their opposing offense every single evening to help the low scoring offense.

At the bantam level, the 99ers were one of, if not the top team in the league for the majority of the season. It wasn’t until near the end of the year when Brantford began a slide that continued into the postseason, culminating in a huge upset loss to Huron-Perth in the first round.

Brantford comes into this season having lost their top player from a year ago. Peyton Adams-Matthews was a key piece to the 99ers defense last season, but he has moved on and so has Brantford. As of right now, only one member of the defense from last season will be returning this year. The 99ers have brought in solid names such as Ben Feijo from the Hamilton Huskies and Lucas Branch from the Jr. Bulldogs.

The new defense will join the returning Cole Hipkin, an 03 player who made the bantam all star team last season. Hipkin will be one of two 2003 born players to wear the 99ers jersey this season. Maddox Callens will join the team after player Minor Bantam last season. While there isn’t a whole lot to go off based on zero viewings of Minor Bantam, Callens was 2nd in total points at the Alliance Showcase last season.

In addition to Callens, the 99ers offense will still include Andrew Casasanta, who made an All-Star appearance for the 99ers last season. Brantford will also return both of the goaltenders from their bantam team with Ben Edwards taking the role as the clear number one in net.

While the loss of Adams-Matthews will sting for the 99ers, the team should still be able to find success this season. The 99ers haven’t made the postseason since the 2013/14 season, when they went all the way to the final four. A postseason berth is well within the teams grasp this season while also developing some key pieces for the 2018/19 season as well.