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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From the Alliance to the OHL (October Edition)

lalonde

While the current season of Minor Midget hockey continues to roll on with games getting more intense, it’s always interesting to take a look back at some of the players who were playing in the same rinks one year ago and where they are now.

When it comes to the 2000 born players from the Alliance, there are a good crop of players who are succeeding in their next level of hockey. Some are making an impact at the Jr. B and Jr. C level while others are continuing to play minor hockey at the Major Midget level.

For a select few players though, they were able to jump directly from Minor Midget into the lineups of some OHL clubs. Some have thrived while others are taking their time to adjust to a faster paced game. The players who have made that jump are now one step closer to achieving their dream.

So let’s take a look at some of the former Alliance standouts who now showcase their talents in the OHL.
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2016/17 Huron-Perth Lakers Season Preview

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2015/16 Minor Midget Record: 18-13-2 (5th Place)

2015/16 Minor Midget Final Result: Lost in 3 to Kitchener in Quarter-Finals

2015/16 Major Bantam Record: 8-16-6 (8th Place)

2015/16 Major Bantam Final Result: Lost in 2 to Brantford in Preliminary Round

After a year where injuries and off ice difficulties proved too much to overcome, the new incarnation of the Huron-Perth Lakers will hope success is on the menu this season.

The 2015/16 season for the Minor Midget Lakers could not have started any better. They were undefeated going into the Showcase tournament and continued to impress during the tournament. They were on top of the standings until injuries to top forwards Owen Gilhula and Brady Hinz halted their momentum. A coaching change late in the season didn’t help things and with Gilhula still out of action, the Lakers were swept by Kitchener in the quarter-finals. If healthy for the season, the Lakers were a legitimate contender to win the Alliance.

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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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2015/16 Alliance Year-End Awards

Wow has it been a long time since anything has been posted here. Still feels like yesterday that I was in Toronto taking in the OHL Cup and still doesn’t feel all that long ago that the Alliance playdowns were getting underway during a blizzard in Perth County.

With that said, the 2015/16 season produced some memorable goals and some fantastic games. It is hard to believe that tryouts for next season are getting started in the next week or two.

Before we shut the door on this past season, I thought it would be apt to hand out some season end awards to those deserving of the praise. Some may be obvious while others may be a bit of a surprise. These were not easy decisions for some, but others just stuck out in my mind like a sore thumb that they should be recognized accordingly.

Stanley Cup – Waterloo Wolves

This was an easy one, although it was far from easy for the Wolves. Waterloo battled London tooth and nail down to the end before clinching their third straight Minor Midget Alliance championship. The biggest takeaway from the series was the depth that Waterloo had on their roster. Like guys like Liam Hartman and Mason McMahon missing most of the season and Mitch Hoelscher banged up for the final couple of games, others stepped up to help give Waterloo just enough to claim victory.

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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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Final Alliance Scout Minor Midget AAA Rankings

198 regular season games have passed and we have finally made it to playdown season.

Lots has happened over the past four months from teams going on extended losing streaks to teams heating up to increase their positioning near the end of the season. We have seen upsets, blowouts and some increased testosterone and it all comes down to this.

Over the next six weeks or so, we will see who the premier team is in the Alliance and whether the Alliance can duplicate or even surpass their result last year of having a team make the semi-finals of the OHL Cup.

This will be the final rankings of the year and we have seen movements every which way. From now on, we will let the players on the ice determine who should be ranked #1.

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Week 13 Alliance Scout Minor Midget Rankings

The first rankings of 2016 and it would only be fitting that I’m a bit late on things.

The first ranking of every year is sure to have a few changes mainly because the majority of the Alliance attended the Toronto Marlies Holiday Tournament, with teams achieving varying degrees of success. Not only did we have plenty to see at the Marlies, but in two days of regular season games there were plenty of outcomes that gave some teams a boost while others began skating on thinner ice.

There aren’t many weeks left in the rankings with just two and a half weeks remaining in the season. But let’s be serious, rankings get thrown out the window when playdowns begin and it’s been proven throughout the season that most teams have vulnerable games and can be beaten or given quite the scare any given night.

Here we go with the first rankings of 2016.

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