Minor Midget Result: Lost in quarter-finals to London in 3 games
Major Bantam Record: 13-14-5 (7th Place)
Major Bantam Result: Lost in semi-finals to Cambridge in 3 games
The Minor Midgets last season were a disappointment for the Sun County Panthers as they ran into the London Jr. Knights in round one. With the 2002 crop of Panthers, there is a legitimate shot at an OHL Cup appearance.
There were high hopes for the 2001 born Sun County team. Led in goal by arguably the top goaltender in the league Aidan Pitre, it was believed he would be able to lead the team to a strong season. In addition to Pitre, the Panthers were led up front by the criminally under rated Stephane Crevier, who was one of the best goal scorers in the Alliance last year. An inconsistent season led Sun County to an eighth place finish and a date with London in the first round and a quick postseason exit. Click here for full article
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
The London Jr. Knights are currently the number one team in the province according to the OHL Cup rankings and have been nearly untouchable for the Alliance season. Sun County recently clinched a playoff spot and a some recent tough games led them to falling into the 8th seed.
London only lost two season games all year and dominated the majority of the teams. The one team they did not totally dominate was the Sun County Panthers. In three league games this year, London went 2-0-1 but their largest victory was just two goals. Only Waterloo and Kitchener played the Jr. Knights tougher than the Panthers did this season. Click here for full article
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
It was an early Friday morning for Day Two of the Whitby Silver Stick tournament. The Alliance teams got into action at around 8am and there was lots to take in. By the end of the 2nd day of action, three out of the five Alliance teams were still alive for a spot in the quarter-finals. Not only that, but two teams still have a shot at winning their divisions with one being a bit of a surprise based on how the season had played out to this point.
Sun County Comes Up Big In Tournament Opener
In their first game of the tournament, Sun County came out blazing against a tough Soutern Tier team. The Panthers started out the game more shorthanded then they were expecting. With Josh DiCarlo out for the tournament, Sun County began the game without leading scorer Stephane Crevier as he appeared to have an equipment issue.
Without Crevier, the Panthers were still able to strike first thanks to Hunter Hutchins banging home the loose puck in front of the net. Crevier returned to work a Panther powerplay when the Admirals turned it around a scored a shorthanded goal on a nice breakaway, sliding it underneath and outstretch Aidan Pitre.
Prior to the flood, 02 born Zane Dalpe capitalized on another scramble in front of the Admirals net to give Sun County another lead, this time 2-1 this lead would hold until the flood.
Starting the third period off strong, Marcus Joughin, probably the Panthers strongest player in this game, put Sun County up 3-1 and they never looked back. An empty netter gave Sun County a 4-1 win and their first win of the tournament. Joughin was big in this game along with Everett Parent. Aidan Pitre, would is getting his work in this weekend, had another great game for the Panthers. Click here for full article
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.
2015/16 Minor Midget Final Result: Did not qualify for playdowns
2015/16 Major Bantam Record: 15-8-7 (4th Place)
2015/16 Major Bantam Final Result: Lost in 5 to London in Semi-Finals
A year after making it to the final four at the bantam level, the Sun Country Panthers are going to need to up the ante in order to remain as one of the leagues elite teams.
The Minor Midget team in 2015/16 got off to quite a rough start. Nothing was clicking for the team, especially the offense which was struggling to put pucks in the net. There was at one point that it appeared that Cambridge would overtake Sun County, leaving the Panthers in 12th spot in the league. Then something clicked and the Panthers went on quite a roll. They found their groove and were able to spread out the offense enough that they jumped up to 10th spot in the league and made a run at the final playdown spot. While they ultimately failed to qualify for the playdowns, the turnaround this team saw was tremendous. Click here for full article