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OHL This Week: Dec. 14 to 17, 2017

 

It’s the final weekend before a break for the Holidays as clubs look to close out the first half on a high note. Here’s what’s going on across the OHL.

16 OHL PLAYERS NAMED TO 2018 SHERWIN-WILLIAMS CHL/NHL TOP PROSPECTS GAME:

16 OHL players are among the top-40 CHL draft eligible prospects named to the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game set for Jan. 25th in Guelph. Storm players Ryan Merkley and Cam Hillis will suit up on home ice while other OHL talent in Kevin Bahl (Ottawa 67’s), Evan Bouchard (London Knights), Kody Clark (Ottawa 67’s), Ty Dellandrea (Flint Firebirds), Nico Gross (Oshawa Generals), Barrett Hayton (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Jacob Ingham (Mississauga Steelheads), Ryan McLeod (Mississauga Steelheads), Allan McShane (Oshawa Generals), Kirill Nizhnikov (Sudbury Wolves), Serron Noel (Oshawa Generals), Rasmus Sandin (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Andrei Svechnikov (Barrie Colts), and Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs) will also compete. Read more

KNIGHTS GRAD METE JOINS 12 OHL PLAYERS AT CANADA’S WORLD JUNIOR SELECTION CAMP:

The Montreal Canadiens assigned London Knights graduate Victor Mete to Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp earlier this week following 27 games in the NHL this season. The former London Knights Mastercard Memorial Cup champion joins 12 other OHL players at the camp in St. Catharines where they face off against a team of U SPORTS All-Stars. Read more

67’s EAGER TO TAKE THE GAME OUTDOORS:

The 50th anniversary celebrations for one of the most storied franchises in the Canadian Hockey League are about to get even more grand as the Ottawa 67’s take the action outdoors this coming Sunday, playing host to their cross-river QMJHL counterparts the Gatineau Olympiques at TD Place Stadium. Read more

GREYHOUNDS, STING AND BULLDOGS IN CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS:  

Entering a new week on a 17-game winning streak, the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds remain the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League this week. The third-ranked Sarnia Sting and the tenth-ranked Hamilton Bulldogs also remain on the 13th edition of the weekly rankings while the Kitchener Rangers receive an honourable mention. Full Rankings

BATTALION’S JUSTIN BRAZEAU NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Justin Brazeau of the North Bay Battalion is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the week ending December 10 after leading the league with eight points in three games scoring five goals and three assists. Brazeau recorded a pair of multi-point performances that helped the Troops earn a pair of victories on home ice to maintain their hold on third place in the Central Division standings. Read more

WAWANESA OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK:

The 12th edition of the Wawanesa OHL Plays of the Week for the 2017-18 season feature another collection of the league’s Top-5 goals scored in the week ending December 10. This week’s highlights begin with a streaking Blake Murray of the Sudbury Wolves who scores from a nice pass by Cole Candella and end with a give-and-go featuring Michael McLeod and Owen Tippett of the Mississauga Steelheads.  In between are individual efforts by Tippett, Max Jones of the London Knights, and Matthew Strome of the Hamilton Bulldogs. Watch

VOTE MICHAEL McLEOD IN #CIBCSHOWDOWN:

Mississauga Steelheads captain Michael McLeod not only headlines the Wawanesa OHL Plays of the Week, but is also the OHL representative featured in this week’s #CIBCShowdown which showcases one great play from all three leagues allowing fans the opportunity to choose their favourite play. See all the plays and vote at chlshowdown.ca.

FLURRY OF PUCKS TURNED ASIDE BY OHL NETMINDERS IN JANES SAVES OF THE WEEK:

There’s snow outside and a flurry of pucks turned aside across OHL rinks in the latest edition of #JanesSaves. This week features Mack Guzda of the Owen Sound Attack, Daniel Murphy of the Erie Otters, Christian Propp of the North Bay Battalion, Colton Incze of the Niagara IceDogs, Leo Lazarev of the Barrie Colts, Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires, Evan Cormier of the Saginaw Spirit, Garrett Forrest of the Flint Firebirds, Anthony Popovich of the Guelph Storm, Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals, and Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Watch

SIX PLAYERS FEATURED IN OHL MILESTONE MOMENTS THIS WEEK:

Forwards Jake Goldowski (Saginaw Spirit), Connor McMichael (Hamilton Bulldogs), Chad Yetman (Erie Otters) and defencemen Andrew Perrott (London Knights), Nikita Alexandrov (Flint Firebirds) and Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads) are all included in this week’s OHL Milestone Moments. Watch

OHL CUP POWERED BY UNDER ARMOUR TOP 10 RANKINGS RELEASED:

The past week of Minor Midget action saw each team in the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Top 10 maintain their standing with success on the ice. This fourth edition’s lone move comes in the honourable mention department as the North Bay Trappers turned heads, being crowned champions of the Waterloo Gold Puck Tournament. Full Rankings

TEAM GRAVES-PRIMEAU-TUCKER WINS 9TH ANNUAL GTHL TOP PROSPECTS GAME:

Riley Piercey (Toronto Marlboros) scored twice to lead Team Graves-Primeau-Tucker to a 5-1 victory over Team Clark-Weaver-Corson at the 9th annual GTHL Top Prospects Game at Scotiabank Pond on Tuesday. Piercey earned MVP honours for his team while goaltender Chase Clark (Toronto Young Nationals) earned MVP honours for Team Clark-Weaver-Corson. Visit gthlcanada.com for the full recap.

OTTERS’ IVAN LODNIA SIGNS WITH WILD:

Erie Otters forward Ivan Lodnia signed a three-year entry level NHL contract with the Minnesota Wild this past week. The 18-year-old from Novi, Mich. has 33 points (16-17–33) in 31 games this season. He helped the Otters win an OHL championship last spring before being chosen by the Wild in the third round of the 2017 NHL Draft. Read more

STING’S JORDAN KYROU BECOMES NEW FRANCHISE LEADER IN ASSISTS:

St. Louis Blues prospect and team captain Jordan Kyrou became the Sarnia Sting’s new franchise leader in career assists on Friday. Kyrou had a goal and two helpers in a 7-4 win over the visiting Otters as the Sting improved to 23-6-2-0. His second assist of the night on a goal by Adam Ruzicka was the 159th of his OHL career, putting him past former club record-holder Kris Newbury (1999-2003) who had 158 over 221 games in a Sting uniform. Read more

ASHTON REESOR COMMITS TO STING:

The Sarnia Sting have received a commitment from 2017 fifth round selection Ashton Reesor. The 6-foot-3, 180 lbs. defenceman was selected out of the Vaughn Kings AAA system of the GTHL, where he served his team as an assistant captain. Reesor is currently playing for the Stouffville Spirit of OJHL contributing 9 points in 29 games played. Read more

SPITFIRES’ MICHAEL DiPIETRO FEATURED ON MASTERCARD JUNIOR HOCKEY MAGAZINE:

Vancouver Canucks prospect and 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup champion Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires joins Gino Reda on Mastercard Junior Hockey Magazine. He discusses his invitation to Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp. Listen

CHL SATURDAY SHOWCASE FEATURES ACADIE-BATHURST AT MONCTON:

Sportsnet features the QMJHL’s Acadie-Bathurst Titan at the Moncton Wildcats on Saturday at 3:30pm ET. The 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup Tour will be in Moncton this weekend as well. Catch all the action with RJ Broadhead and Sam Cosentino on Sportsnet.

 

COMMUNITY CORNER:

Teddy Bear Toss festivities in three OHL rinks this week: The Niagara IceDogs and Sudbury Wolves host their Teddy Bear Toss games on Friday before the Mississauga Steelheads round out the OHL Teddy Bear Toss schedule on Sunday. Teams across the OHL have been holding their annual Teddy Bear Toss nights over the course of the past month, collecting stuffed toys for children throughout their local communities. Read more

Frontenacs brighten day for KHSC patients: The young patients in Kingston Health Sciences Centre’s (KHSC) inpatient Pediatric Unit received an early holiday surprise as they were visited by players from the Kingston Frontenacs on December 13. Aside from smiling for pictures and signing autographs, the Fronts also came bearing gifts – handing out special team teddy bears and ticket vouchers for patients and families to use for an upcoming game of their choice. Some tickets will also be given to patients in the Children’s Out Patient Centre at our Hotel Dieu Hospital site. Read more

Generals visit Lakeridge Hospital: The Oshawa Generals paid a special holiday visit to Lakeridge Health on Wednesday, visiting with patients and staff along with team mascot Deke. Check out the video by visiting Lakeridge Health on Twitter at @LakeridgeHealth.

Firebirds deliver Teddy Bears at Whaley Children’s Center: After the club’s 3rd annual Teddy Bear Toss, Flint Firebirds players Jalen Smereck, Jake Durham, Garrett Forrest, C.J. Clarke, Nicolas Mattinen and Hakon Nilsen paid a visit to Whaley Children’s Center to deliver the stuffed animals. Watch the full video here.

Spirit go Christmas shopping with young fans: The Saginaw Spirit participated in Meijer’s annual Shop with a Hero Event last week as Mason Kohn and Damien Giroux went Christmas shopping with young fans.  The event connects local first responders and heroes to young individuals from the community to assist with their holiday shopping. More details at saginawspirit.com.

Star Wars Night in Peterborough: The Peterborough Petes will be raising funds and awareness for Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre at Thursday’s game against the Ottawa 67’s. It’s the Petes first-ever Star Wars Night and fans should be on the lookout for their favourite Star Wars characters! Fans are invited to dress up and be on the lookout for Star Wars elements throughout the game. For full details visit gopetesgo.com.

Ugly Christmas Sweater Night in Windsor on Thursday: The Windsor Spitfires are asking fans to wear their ugliest Christmas sweater Thursday night when they play host to the Mississauga Steelheads. The nastiest sweater’s will earn the prizes!

Storm host Books for Kids Night on Friday: The Guelph Storm will be collecting books for kids on Friday night when they play host to the Kingston Frontenacs. The Storm have partnered with GuelphToday to collect books, 1000 of which were included in the Guelph Salvation Army’s hamper program last year. The books are distributed throughout the holiday season to families in need. Full details at guelphstorm.com.

Hockey Day in Rangers Nation on Saturday: The Kitchener Rangers host their 8th annual Hockey Day in Rangers Nation event on Saturday. The event aims to engage the region’s 10-year-old Major Atom house league hockey players, providing them the opportunity to participate in an authentic Rangers Game Day Experience. Sixteen house league teams from around the Waterloo Region will experience what it’s like to be part of the Kitchener Rangers as they play a full game against a team from outside of their own league. For full details visit kitchenerrangers.com.

Owen Sound Attacks hunger on Saturday: The Owen Sound Attack are hosting ‘Attack Hunger Night’ at the Bayshore on Saturday when they host the Kingston Frontenacs. Fans are encouraged to bring non-perishable food items with them to the game that can be placed in the Investor’s Group Attack Hunger bin in the front lobby of the Bayshore. Donations can also be made at Owen Sound Foodland with all food being donated to the Salvation Army’s food bank. For more info visit attackhockey.com.

Ugly Christmas Sweaters for IceDogs on Saturday: The Niagara IceDogs will wear their ugly Christmas sweaters on Saturday when they play host to the Barrie Colts. The jerseys will be auctioned off post-game with 100 percent of the proceeds being donated to Community Care. Fans are also encouraged to bring non-perishable food items to donate to the organization.

 

ALUMNI NOTES:

Locke honoured as U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian in Quebec City: Saginaw Spirit graduate Eric Locke was one of eight U SPORTS Top Academic All-Canadians from the 2016-17 season to be honoured in Quebec City on Friday morning. Now attending medical school at the University of Ottawa, Locke played four OHL seasons from 2010-14, being selected in the seventh round of the 2013 NHL Draft by the Buffalo Sabres. He amassed 251 points (116-135–251) over his OHL career with Windsor, Barrie and Saginaw. The three-time U SPORTS Academic All-Canadian earned the 2016-17 StFX Athletic Director’s Award for Academic Achievement with the highest grades of any male student-athlete on campus. Read more

Guy featured in CHL Leaders segment of Mastercard Junior Hockey Magazine: London Knights graduate Jason Guy is featured in a recent edition of Mastercard Junior Hockey Magazine with Gino Reda, headlining the ‘CHL Leaders’ segment of the program. A 29-year-old from Whitby, Ont., Guy is now a technical account manager with a major corporation and shares his successes with the program. Guy played four OHL seasons between Guelph, Kingston and London from 2005-09, going 47-48-4-2 with a 3.88 goals-against average and an .889 save percentage. Listen

Subban brothers become 10th set of brothers to meet in an NHL game: OHL graduates P.K. and Malcolm Subban squared off last weekend, becoming the 10th set of brothers to face each other in an NHL game. Malcolm’s Vegas Golden Knights defeated P.K.’s Nashville Predators 4-3 in a shootout and father Karl Subban was on hand to take it in. 28-year-old P.K. Subban is in his eighth NHL season and second with Nashville. He has 20 points (6-14–20) in 30 games with the Preds this season. The Rexdale, Ont. native finished his OHL career as the leading scorer among defencemen in Belleville Bulls franchise history, recording 190 points (42-148–190) over 234 OHL games. Malcolm Subban is in his first full NHL season, joining the Golden Knights early in the campaign. The 23-year-old has a 7-2-0-0 record with a 2.33 goals-against average and a .924 save percentage over 10 games this season. He played to a 64-42-4-2 record with a 2.52 goals-against average, a .921 save percentage and eight shutouts over 118 career games with the Bulls from 2009-13.

Duchene, O’Reilly both play 600th NHL game: A pair of past OHL stars both played their 600th career NHL contest this past weekend. Matt Duchene (Ottawa Senators/Brampton Battalion) and Ryan O’Reilly (Buffalo Sabres/Erie Otters) both hit the career milestone. A 26-year-old native of Halliburton, Ont., Duchene was acquired by the Ottawa Senators earlier this season and has collected 432 (180-252–432) career NHL points in his 600 games played. He was a third overall pick by the Colorado Avalanche in the 2009 NHL Draft after starring for the Brampton Battalion from 2007-09. Duchene collected 129 points (61-68–129) over his 121 OHL contests while also being named the league’s Academic Player of the Year in 2009. O’Reilly is a 26-year-old native of Clinton, Ont. who has collected 381 points (138-243–381) over his 600 NHL games. The former second round pick by Colorado in the 2009 NHL Draft was the first overall pick of the 2007 OHL Priority Selection. In his 129 career games as an Otter, he collected 35 goals, 83 assists and 118 points.

Smith plays 500th NHL game: Sudbury Wolves graduate Mike Smith played in his 500th career NHL contest on Saturday, making 22 saves in a 4-2 win over the Vancouver Canucks. The 35-year-old Calgary Flames netminder is in his 13th NHL season and has collected 208 wins, a 2.70 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and 35 career shutouts. The Kingston, Ont. native played three OHL seasons between Kingston and Sudbury from 1999-2002, earning 45 wins with a 2.93 goals-against average and a .917 save percentage with six shutouts. He was a fifth round pick of Dallas in the 2001 NHL Draft.

Neil announces retirement: Former North Bay Centennial Chris Neil announced his retirement from the NHL’s Ottawa Senators on Thursday.  One of three Sens to play in over 1,000 NHL games, the 16-year veteran from Flesherton, Ont., played his entire career in the nation’s capital amassing 250 points and a club record 2,522 penalty minutes across his 1,026 games.  The sixth round pick in the 1998 NHL Draft played three OHL seasons for the Cents from 1996-99 producing 156 points in 190 games along with 596 penalty minutes.

Cirelli named AHL Player of the Week: Erie Otters graduate and former Oshawa Generals Mastercard Memorial Cup hero Anthony Cirelli has been named AHL Player of the Week. Cirelli notched three goals, four assists and a plus-6 rating in three contests last week for the Syracuse Crunch, who ran their winning streak to nine games by sweeping through a three-game road trip. The Tampa Bay Lightning prospect has tallied six goals and 13 assists for 19 points in 25 games for Syracuse this season, good for first on the Crunch and sixth among all AHL rookies in scoring. A two-time OHL champion, Cirelli amassed 159 points (59-100–159) over 181 career OHL regular season games after entering the league as an undrafted free agent.

Bracco learning what it takes to succeed at next level: 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup champion Jeremy Bracco is adjusting to life in the American Hockey League. The 20-year-old has recorded a goal and five assists in 13 games with the Toronto Marlies this season after turning heads with the Windsor Spitfires last spring, ratcheting up his game at the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup. Dhiren Mahiban catches up with Bracco on his transition to the next level over at sportingnews.com.

Saal named to ECHL Hall of Fame class of 2018: OHL graduate Jason Saal has been inducted into the ECHL Hall of Fame. The former Detroit Jr. Red Wings goaltender who won an OHL championship with the club in 1995 played parts of 11 seasons in the ECHL and is just the fourth goaltender to be inducted into the league’s Hall of Fame. He ranks second among goaltenders in ECHL history with 455 career games, is fourth with 20 shutouts, and is fifth with 19,858 minutes played and 173 wins. He won 20 or more games five times in his ECHL career, which ranks third all-time in League history and he is one of just six goaltenders to have posted at least four consecutive seasons of at least 20 wins, doing so from 2000-01 through 2003-04. The Detroit, Mich. native was a fifth round pick of the Los Angeles Kings in the 1993 NHL Draft.

 

KEY MATCHUPS:

Barrie Colts (17-10-2-1) at Niagara IceDogs (16-9-3-2)
Saturday December 16th at Niagara

A Central Division clash of contenders pits the Barrie Colts and Niagara IceDogs on Saturday in St. Catharines.

Having held down first place in the division for much of the season, top 2018 NHL Draft prospect Andrei Svechnikov and the Colts look to fend off a surging IceDogs squad that has won three straight entering the weekend.

Barrie leads the Eastern Conference with 115 goals scored on the year as Svechnikov, Lucas Chiodo, Jason Willms, Alexey Lipanov and Zach Magwood are all in the double-digits.

The IceDogs have benefitted from strong goaltending of late as both Stephen Dhillon and Colton Incze have stood their ground. Russian winger Kirill Maksimov and Vegas Golden Knights prospect Ben Jones are tied for the team lead in scoring, each with 31 points on the campaign.

Gatineau Olympiques (17-10-2-2) at Ottawa 67’s (14-15-1-2)
Sunday December 17th at Ottawa (Outdoor Game at TD Place Stadium)

Sunday features a special outdoor matchup in the nation’s capital as the Ottawa 67’s host their cross-river counterparts the Gatineau Olympiques in interleague play.

The 67’s and Olympiques faced each other in regular season matchups back in 2000-02, but their encounters have been limited to preseason play since. Ottawa will make a return visit to Gatineau on January 12th at the Robert Guertin Centre.

The 14-15-1-2 67’s look to reverse their current trend having won just two of their last 10 contests. San Jose Sharks prospect Sasha Chmelevski leads the team in scoring with 28 points (14-14–28) over 32 contests while draft eligible winger Kody Clark has also been an asset, recording 23 points (11-12–23) over 27 games.

The Gatineau Olympiques have been playing well of late having won seven of their last 10 games. Goaltender Tristan Berube carries the QMJHL’s lowest goals-against average of 2.11 over 19 games along with a .923 save percentage. The club is led in scoring by 19-year-old former QMJHL first round pick Mitchell Balmas who has 33 points (20-13–33) in 32 games.

 

SCHEDULE:

Thursday December 14:
Hamilton at North Bay – 7:00pm
Ottawa at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Mississauga at Windsor – 7:05pm
Owen Sound at Barrie – 7:30pm

Friday December 15:
Barrie at Erie – 7:00pm
Saginaw at Flint – 7:00pm
North Bay at Niagara – 7:00pm
Hamilton at Sudbury – 7:05pm
Kingston at Guelph – 7:30pm
Sault Ste. Marie at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Sarnia at London – 7:30pm
Peterborough at Oshawa – 7:35pm

Saturday December 16:
*Acadie-Bathurst at Moncton – 3:30pm (Sportsnet CHL Saturday Showcase)
Sault Ste. Marie at Guelph – 4:00pm
North Bay at Erie – 7:00pm
Mississauga at London – 7:00pm
Barrie at Niagara – 7:00pm
Windsor at Saginaw – 7:05pm
Flint at Sarnia – 7:05pm
Kingston at Owen Sound – 7:30pm

Sunday December 17:
Peterborough at Hamilton – 2:00pm
Kingston at Kitchener – 2:00pm
Sudbury at Mississauga – 2:00pm
London at Owen Sound – 2:00pm
Gatineau at Ottawa – 3:00pm (Outdoor Game at TD Place Stadium in Landsdowne Park)
Guelph at Oshawa – 6:05pm

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

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