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OHL This Week: April 20 to 23, 2017

Get caught up on the latest news and notes from around the Ontario Hockey League and a preview of what’s in store for the weekend.

2017 OHL PLAYOFFS CONTINUE WITH CONFERENCE FINALS:

The 2017 OHL Playoffs continue this week as the Peterborough Petes and Mississauga Steelheads battle for the Bobby Orr Trophy in the Eastern Conference Final. Meanwhile, the Erie Otters and Owen Sound Attack go head-to-head for the Wayne Gretzky Trophy in the Western Conference Final. The two series winners will advance to the Rogers OHL Championship Series in pursuit of the J. Ross Robertson Cup and a spot at the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor. Eastern Conference Final Preview / Western Conference Final Preview.

#OHLPLAYOFFS TOP-10: ROUNDS 1 & 2 HIGHLIGHTS:

The first two rounds of the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Playoffs are complete and have featured some unbelievable highlights as players and teams have elevated their game in pursuit of the Robertson Cup. Check out the Top-10 plays from the first two rounds. Watch

WATCH EVERY PLAYOFF GAME WITH NEW OHL LIVE PLAYOFF PACKAGES:

Don’t miss a game! Follow your team throughout the #OHLPlayoffs with new OHL LIVE Playoff Packages including the flexibility of single game, team pass and all access options. Visit OHLLIVE.com for full details.

MAKE PICKS AND WIN GREAT PRIZES WITH #CHLPREDICTOR:

The second round is over but fans can still take part in #CHLPredictor and submit their picks for third round playoff winners. With #CHLPredictor, fans sign up for a CHL Fanbase account at CHLFANBASE.ca and make third round selections before the start of Thursday’s games. Pick right to earn points and win great prizes including the grand prize trip to the Mastercard Memorial Cup. Register today at CHLFANBASE.ca.

OHL CLUBS HOLD SPRING DEVELOPMENT CAMPS:

Four teams continue to battle in the 2017 OHL Playoffs, but others are busy preparing for the future. A total of eight clubs will host Development Camps this weekend, giving prospective players and their families an opportunity to meet coaches, staff, media, and fans in their respective organizations. Read more

9 OHL PLAYERS REPRESENT CANADA AT WORLD UNDER-18 HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP:

Nine OHL players represented Canada at the 2017 World Under-18 Hockey Championship in Slovakia this past week. Canada played to an overall record of 2-1-0-2, being eliminated at the hands of Sweden in a 7-3 quarter-final loss. Hamilton Bulldogs forward MacKenzie Entwistle led the team in scoring with four goals, three assists and seven points over five games. He was named one of Canada’s top three players in the tournament as selected by head coach Darren Rumble (Moncton Wildcats) and his staff. Read more

ATTACK’S McGILL NAMED OHL COACH OF THE YEAR:

Ryan McGill of the Owen Sound Attack is the 2016-17 recipient of the Matt Leyden Trophy awarded annually to the OHL’s Coach of the Year. McGill led the Attack to an all-time franchise best record of 49-15-2-2 for 102 points finishing with the league’s second best regular season totals, just one point shy of the first place Erie Otters. With McGill behind the bench for his second OHL campaign, the Attack were the league’s most improved team from 2015-16 increasing their win total by 17 and point total by 27 which were both tops among all 20 member teams.  Read more

STORM’S MERKLEY NAMED OHL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:

Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm is the 2016-17 recipient of the Emms Family Award presented to the OHL’s Rookie of the Year. Merkley led all OHL rookies with 55 points in 62 games played scoring 12 goals and 43 assists positioning him eighth overall among all OHL defenders.  He became the first rookie in franchise history to lead the team in scoring, and is the first OHL defenceman since London’s Rick Corriveau in 1987-88 to lead all rookies in scoring. Read more

RANGERS’ BUNNAMAN SIGNS WITH FLYERS:

The Philadelphia Flyers have signed Kitchener Rangers centreman Connor Bunnaman to a three-year, entry-level NHL contract. The 19-year-old led the Rangers with 37 goals this past season, finishing with 52 points in 64 games. He added four goals in Kitchener’s first round playoff series against the Owen Sound Attack. Read more

PETES’ LORENTZ SIGNS WITH HURRICANES:

The Carolina Hurricanes have signed Peterborough Petes overage forward Steven Lorentz to a three-year, entry-level NHL contract. The 21-year-old tied for second in Petes goal-scoring with 29 markers on the season, adding 32 assists for 61 points. He was Carolina’s seventh round (186th overall) pick in the 2015 NHL Draft. Read more

BARCLAY BRANCH APPOINTED FLINT FIREBIRDS VP OF HOCKEY OPERATIONS & GENERAL MANAGER:

The Ontario Hockey League is pleased to announce the appointment of Barclay Branch as Vice-President of Hockey Operations and General Manager of the Flint Firebirds. Branch has spent his 17-year career in Major Junior Hockey in both management and scouting capacities, most recently as the General Manager of the Sudbury Wolves. Read more

STORM ANNOUNCE GEORGE BURNETT AS COACH AND GENERAL MANAGER:

The Guelph Storm announced Monday that 20-year OHL coaching veteran George Burnett has been named Head Coach and General Manager of the hockey club. A two-time OHL Coach of the Year, Burnett joins the Storm as the sixth-winningest head coach in league history including a previous one-year stint in Guelph where he earned an OHL Championship. Read more

WOLVES NAME ROB PAPINEAU GENERAL MANAGER:

The Sudbury Wolves announced Monday that Rob Papineau has been named General Manager of the hockey club. A Sudbury native and former scout with the NHL’s Carolina Hurricanes, Papineau received strong references from NHL General Managers Ron Francis and Jim Rutherford in advance of joining the Wolves as Vice-President of Hockey Operations last August. Papineau played in the OHL with the Ottawa 67’s and Detroit Ambassadors from 1988-1991. Read more

PETES’ WELLS NAMED PIONEER ENERGY OHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK & VAUGHN CHL GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK:

Edmonton Oilers prospect Dylan Wells of the Peterborough Petes is both the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week as well as the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the playoff week ending April 16 after posting a 2-0 record with a goals-against-average of 1.50 and save percentage of .957. Wells made 66 saves in two road games last week helping the Petes extend their playoff winning-streak to eight by completing a four-game series victory over the Kingston Frontenacs to advance to the Eastern Conference Championship Series. Read more

Wells added his name to the Peterborough Petes record books last Thursday, becoming the first goaltender in the lengthy history of the franchise to score a goal. Wells hit the open net from behind his own goal line with 42 seconds remaining in the third period, solidifying a 6-2 victory in Game 4 as the Petes completed an Eastern Conference Semi-Final sweep of the Kingston Frontenacs. Read more

KEEGAN STEVENSON COMMITS TO STORM:

The Guelph Storm announced Monday that the club has received a commitment from 2016 sixth round selection Keegan Stevenson. The Sault Ste. Marie native played with the Soo Thunderbirds Jr. A club of the NOJHL this past season, recording 35 points (12-23–35) in 54 games. Stevenson is a second generation OHL player, following in the footsteps of father Jeremy Stevenson who played with Cornwall, Newmarket and Sault Ste. Marie from 1990-94 before a 15-year pro career. Read more

WIN A TRIP TO THE MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP WITH SPORTSNET #WHATTOWIN:

What do you do to win? Show Sportsnet your skills using #WhatToWin on Twitter, and you could win a trip to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup! Details.

ENTER WITH BRP FOR YOUR CHANCE TO WIN A TRIP TO THE MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP:

A proud partner of the Canadian Hockey League, BRP has launched a great new contest that gives fans a chance to win a trip for four to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup in Windsor! Fill out all of the information and enter for your chance to win. Visit brpcontest.com.

JANES SAVES OF THE YEAR CONTEST CONTINUES:

Voting is now open for the #JanesSaves of the Year! Head to www.JanesSaves.ca and vote for the best OHL Save of the Year! Enter for your chance to win a trip for 4 to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup and score a FREE box of Janes ultimates™

VOTE DYLAN WELLS IN #CIBCSHOWDOWN:

Edmonton Oilers prospect Dylan Wells of the Peterborough Petes is the OHL’s representative in this week’s edition of CIBC Showdown, a weekly contest that features one great play from all three leagues. Watch his play and vote at chlshowdown.ca.

OHL PLAYERS REWARDED WITH PRO OPPORTUNITIES FOLLOWING 2016-17 SEASON:

Several OHL players now on the other side of the 2016-17 season have received pro opportunities with AHL and ECHL clubs. The following players have recently signed professional and amateur tryout contracts with pro clubs since their OHL playoff elimination: Connor Hicks (Flint Firebirds/Adirondack Thunder – ECHL), Janne Kuokkanen (London Knights/Charlotte Checkers – AHL),  Victor Mete (London Knights/St. John’s IceCaps – AHL), Tyler Parsons (London Knights/Stockton Heat – AHL), Zach Senyshyn (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – Providence Bruins – AHL), Blake Speers (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds/Albany Devils – AHL), Colton White (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds/Albany Devils – AHL).

2017 MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP COMMUNITY EVENTS ANNOUNCED:

Details of events to be staged in the three community rinks of the WFCU Centre in Windsor, Ont. were announced Wednesday at a Mastercard Memorial Cup Host Organizing Committee news conference. Entertainment including live music, military-themed displays and a Hockey Hall of Fame miniature museum will be on display. For those details and more, visit mastercardmemorialcup.ca.

ALUMNI NOTES:

103 OHL grads in 2017 Calder Cup Playoffs: The American Hockey League’s quest for the Calder Cup begins Thursday and features over 100 former OHL players across the 16 teams.  11 players on playoff rosters competed in the league this season, while another 13 graduated in 2015-16.  All 16 teams feature at least one OHL grad while all 20 OHL clubs are represented by at least two former players. Read more.

Venedam, Guy, Kewin, Beukeboom featured in OHL Alumni of the Month Spotlight:  The OHL Alumni Association is pleased to continue the OHL Alumni of the Month program recognizing former players achieving success in the corporate, business, or professional world.  March’s OHL Alumni of the Month include Sean Venedam (Sudbury Wolves), Mark Guy (London Knights), Shea Kewin (Ottawa 67’s), and Brock Beukeboom (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds).  Read more.

7 OHL grads named to Canada’s World Championship Roster: OHL graduates Calvin de Haan (New York Islanders/Oshawa Generals), Matt Duchene (Colorado Avalanche/Brampton Battalion), Travis Konecny (Philadelphia Flyers/Sarnia Sting), Ryan O’Reilly (Buffalo Sabres/Erie Otters), Mark Scheifele (Winnipeg Jets/Barrie Colts), Wayne Simmonds (Philadelphia Flyers/Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) and Jeff Skinner (Carolina Hurricanes/Kitchener Rangers) have been named to Team Canada’s roster for the 2017 IIHF World Championship that gets underway on May 16th in Cologne, Germany and Paris, France. Canada has won gold at the last two IIHF World Championships, going undefeated in the 2015 tournament, and blanking Finland 2-0 in the gold-medal game in 2016. For more information, please visit hockeycanada.ca.

McCann named AHL Player of the Week: Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds graduate Jared McCann of the Springfield Thunderbirds is the AHL Player of the Week. McCann closed out the season with four goals (including two game-winners), seven points and a plus-8 rating in three games for the Thunderbirds last week. The London, Ont. native wrapped up his second professional season with 25 points (11-14–25) in 42 games with Springfield as well as one goal and six assists in 29 NHL games with the Florida Panthers. The 20-year-old McCann appeared in 69 NHL games with Vancouver as a rookie in 2015-16, posting nine goals and nine assists. He played three seasons in Sault Ste. Marie from 2012-15, recording 82 goals, 105 assists and 187 points in 184 games. He was Vancouver’s first round (24th overall) pick in 2014.

12 former OHL Officials assigned to work NHL Playoffs: A number of officiating graduates of the OHL have been assigned to work games in the 2017 NHL Playoffs that began last week. Three referees including Dan O’Halloran, Tim Peel and Kevin Pollock are joined by nine linesmen including Derek Amell, Steve Barton, David Brisebois, Scott Cherrey, Greg Devorski, Scott Driscoll, Brad Kovachik, Steve Miller and Mark Shewchyk on the NHL schedule. The Ontario Hockey League has sent a large number of referees and linesmen onto careers in both the National Hockey League and the American Hockey League.

SCHEDULE:

Tuesday April 18th:
London 4 at Erie 5 OT (Game 7) – Highlights

Thursday April 20th:
Mississauga 5 at Peterborough 3 (Game 1) – Highlights

Friday April 21st:
Owen Sound at Erie (Game 1) – 7:00pm

Saturday April 22nd:
Owen Sound at Erie (Game 2) – 7:00pm
Mississauga at Peterborough (Game 2) – 7:05pm

Monday April 24th:
Erie at Owen Sound (Game 3) – 7:00pm
Peterborough at Mississauga (Game 3) – 7:00pm

Be sure to catch all of this weekend’s action at ohllive.com.

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