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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Waterloo completes Three-Peat; takes out London is 6 games

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Image courtesy of Twitter.com/Alliance_Hockey

When the dust settled after an incredible winner take all game at RIM Park Sunday night, the Waterloo Wolves claimed the 2015/16 Minor Midget Alliance Championship, their third straight title at the age group.

There were many questions heading into the final game of the series. London had looked dominant in game 5 behind stellar play from Jukka Schotter in goal. The Wolves were the walking wounded. Mitch Hoelscher, Mason McMahon, Liam Hartman and Evan Kula were all banged up and the Wolves were unaware whether some or any of them would suit up. In the end, Hoelscher and Kula would play and Waterloo would bring up Bantam players Keean Washkurak and Callan Christner.

The physical tone of the series reached a peak in game 6 with many players getting into heated battles. Some of the standout ones were Mason Hardy and Joel Mazzilli going back and forth along with Eric Guest and Alex Gritz having some moments along the boards. Early on in this one, the goaltenders were stealing the show. Both Schotter and Nathan Torchia was tasked with making some big saves in order to keep the game scoreless. The save that stands out the most was Schotter absolutely robbing Chris Playfair on a shorthanded breakaway with his right pad.

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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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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 Scout Player Rankings 6-15

We’re back once again to continue our trek towards the top of the Alliance talent pool. On this day, we are looking at the players ranked from 15 all the way up to six.

When we look at the players featured in this set of rankings, you will see a good variety of talent. There are a couple strong blue line forces, some power forwards, two gifted scorers and the top goaltender in the Alliance.

Many of the players listed here have incredible potential, including the opportunity to move even higher in the rankings and even possibly crack the top five.

If you missed the 16-25 rankings, they can be found here.

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3 Thoughts from the Alliance Showcase Tournament

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Yes, a little bit late but even the time off couldn’t erase what I saw in St Mary’s last weekend at the annual Alliance Minor Midget Showcase Tournament. There was a lot of hockey and a lot of teams to view last weekend and I was able to take in 13 games featuring almost all of the teams in the league.

The junior scouts were out in full force and all the players performed their best and left definitive impressions on everyone. With every positive that happened, I had to narrow it down to just three thoughts or else we’d be here forever.

With that said…

Waterloo Wolves show Titans Tournament a blip on the radar

After competing in the Toronto Titans tournament and compiling a disappointing record of 1-3, some thought that it would be an uphill climb for the Wolves to take home their third straight title. At the Showcase, the Wolves once again reminded the league they are the defending champions.

Despite winning only two games, Waterloo left St. Mary’s undefeated with two ties in games against London and Windsor. Their game against Windsor was just inches away from becoming a win after Mitch Hoelscher rung one off the crossbar in the final minute of the third period.

The Wolves played great team games and showed a very cohesive unit. Tyler McBay and Tristan De Jong continued to be the leaders on the back end and set up the powerplay for success. Chris Playfair’s playmaking and Alex Gritz hustle and quick shot helped get the Wolves offense off to quick starts. Not to mention the combo of Nathan Torchia and Alex Metzger held tough in net.

The most impressive thing about the Wolves play was their puck possession and lack of turnovers. It’s hard for opposing teams to get quality chances against solid goaltending when you can’t maintain possession long enough to create those chances.

There is a strong chance that by the time this season comes to an end, nobody will even remember how the Wolves’ season began, just how it has ended.

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Alliance Faceoff Day 2 Recap

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Day 2 at the Alliance Faceoff with 12 games in total over a 13 hour stretch. There were several close back and forth games to go along with a couple of lopsided games. Many players continued to stand out on their respective teams while other continued to try and make a name for themselves for the many scouts in attendance.

London Jr. Knights 8 – Cambridge Hawks 0

This was a tough one for the Cambridge Hawks as they continue to struggle. For London, they had this game under complete control from start to finish with few moments of worry.

All of the Jr. Knight players seemed to have their feet moving at all times, beating Cambridge to every lose puck throughout the game. It was both Brett and Kyle Fisher who were the stand outs for this game. The chemistry the two have is obvious and Kyle specifically was making some very crisp passes. Eric Guest continued to show obvious skill, but a six minute penalty midway through the 3rd period ended his day early.

For Cambridge, they just could not get any rhythm on offense to try and get any pressure. Despite London being the much faster team, Cambridge continued to try and dump the puck and beat London on the jump. I was again impressed with Cooper Page on defense. Despite his small stature, he players a big game especially in front of the net.

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