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OHL This Week: Feb. 1 to 4, 2018

 

The 2017-18 season spills into February as playoff races start to heat up. Here’s a look at what’s happening around the league.

OHL ANNOUNCES JANUARY PERFORMERS OF THE MONTH:

The Ontario Hockey League announced Thursday the Top OHL Performers of the Month for regular season games played in January 2018, including Niagara IceDogs forward Sam Miletic, Mississauga Steelheads defenceman Nicolas Hague, Barrie Colts rookie Andrei Svechnikov and Kitchener Rangers netminder Mario Culina. Read more

OHL ANNOUNCES JANUARY ACADEMIC PLAYERS OF THE MONTH:

The Ontario Hockey League today announced Friday OHL Academic Players of the Month for January 2018, including Jakob Brahaney of the Kingston Frontenacs, Travis Mailhot of the North Bay Battalion, Tag Bertuzzi of the Guelph Storm, and Damien Giroux of the Saginaw Spirit. Read more

YOURTV’s FIFTH ANNUAL #OHLDAY RECAP:

A full day of OHL action and exclusive coverage aired Sunday for the fifth straight year on YourTV networks across Ontario as part Hockey Day in the OHL. YourTV networks in all OHL communities helped deliver great feature content to fans across the province during intermissions and between games, while host Terry Doyle chatted with studio guests all part of a full day of continuous OHL coverage. Watch

GREYHOUNDS, STING, BULLDOGS AND RANGERS IN CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS:  

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds remain the top team in the Canadian Hockey League this week while the Sarnia Sting, Hamilton Bulldogs and Kitchener Rangers also remain in the Top 10 as season 2017-18 season stretches into February. Full Rankings

FRONTENACS’ HELVIG NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK & VAUGHN CHL GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK:

Carolina Hurricanes prospect Jeremy Helvig of the Kingston Frontenacs is both the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week as well as the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending January 28 after posting a 3-0-0-0 record including a shutout victory with a goals-against-average of 1.63 and save percentage of .942. Helvig becomes just the second goaltender to earn the weekly honour this season after turning aside 81 shots across three victories over East Division competition. Read more

WAWANESA OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK:

The 18th 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 January 28. This week’s highlights include a clever dump-in pass by Evan Bouchard for Alex Formenton of the London Knights, Ryan McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads goes end-to-end, Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting with more dazzling dangles, defenceman Nikita Okhotyuk of the Ottawa 67’s shows off his hands on the rush, and Aidan Dudas of the Owen Sound Attack steals the show on the national stage. Watch

VOTE AIDAN DUDAS IN #CIBCSHOWDOWN:

Owen Sound Attack forward Aidan Dudas 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.

GOALTENDERS SHUT DOWN SHOOTERS IN FINAL JANES SAVES OF JANUARY:

January’s final edition of #JanesSaves will have you jumping and jiving to the beat of OHL goaltenders jostling their clubs into playoff positions. This week features Justin Fazio and Aidan Hughes of the Sarnia Sting, Joseph Raaymakers of the London Knights, Cole Ceci and Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals, Leo Lazarev of the Barrie Colts, Garrett Forrest of the Flint Firebirds, Olivier Lafreniere of the Owen Sound Attack, and Dylan Wells of the Peterborough Petes. Watch

THREE PLAYERS ENJOY MILESTONE MOMENTS:

London Knights forward Alex Turko, Erie Otters defenceman Aidan Timmermans and Peterborough Petes rearguard Gleb Babintsev all scored the first goal of their OHL careers this past week. Relive those goals with OHL Milestone Moments: Watch

OHL CUP POWERED BY UNDER ARMOUR TOP 10 RANKINGS RELEASED:

The Toronto Marlboros continue to hold down the number one spot for an 11th straight week and are among the first to officially clinch a berth in the 2018 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour after advancing to the GTHL’s Semi-Finals with an 8-0 series win by points over the Mississauga Senators.  The fifth ranked Toronto Jr. Canadiens also qualified by virtue of their 8-0 first round series win over the Mississauga Rebels.  The Cambridge Hawks were the lone risers this week up one to number nine, while the Guelph Gryphons make their return as an honourable mention. Full Rankings

GREYHOUNDS CLINCH PLAYOFF SPOT:

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds became the first team to clinch a spot in the 2018 OHL Playoffs on Friday, defeating the Windsor Spitfires 6-4 on home ice. The top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League, Sault Ste. Marie’s 2017-18 season has included a remarkable 23-game winning streak as well as a 29-game run going undefeated in regulation. The Greyhounds enter the weekend carrying a 41-5-2-1 record through 49 games with victories in each of their past four.

BULLDOGS’ MOORE PLAYS IN 300th OHL MATCHUP:

Hamilton Bulldogs veteran Ryan Moore played in his 300th career OHL regular season game on Friday, scoring a goal as his team defeated the Erie Otters 4-3 on the road. Moore has spent time with the Windsor Spitfires, Plymouth Whalers, Flint Firebirds and Bulldogs over his five-year career dating back to 2013, one that has seen him collect 223 points (90-133–223) while also suiting up in six career playoff games. Moore joins Owen Sound’s Brett McKenzie as the second player this season to reach the 300-game milestone.

OHL FANBOYS TAKE IN THE TOP PROSPECTS GAME:

The voices behind the OHL Fanboys Podcast took their show on the road and behind the scenes in Guelph at the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game. Steve McLean and Darius Domingues have been fixtures at Ontario Hockey League rinks for years and along with friend Brian Thompson produce a weekly show called the OHL Fanboys Podcast. They took their show on the road and behind the scenes at the 2018 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Guelph. Read more

BRIAN KILREA INDUCTED INTO AHL HALL OF FAME:

The winningest coach in Canadian Hockey League history, Brian Kilrea was once among the cornerstones of a 1960’s AHL dynasty and on Monday was recognized as one of the American Hockey League’s all-time greats, entering the league’s Hall of Fame at a ceremony in Verona, New York. Kilrea’s induction comes 49 years after his final AHL game in a career headlined by three consecutive Calder Cup titles with the Springfield Indians in 1960, 1961 and 1962. Read more

OHL MOURNS THE LOSS OF JIM LEVER:

The Ontario Hockey League family is deeply saddened by the loss of Jim Lever, a longtime official and supervisor, who passed away Friday at the age of 77. Lever’s tenure in the league dates back to the OHA in 1964 beginning as a linesman but quickly transitioning to a referee until his retirement in 1989. Read more

SPITFIRES ADD FORMER CAPTAIN MIKE WEBER TO COACHING STAFF:

The Windsor Spitfires have added 30-year-old former captain Mike Weber to the club’s coaching staff. Weber was recently forced to end his playing career after sustaining an injury while playing for Frolunda of the Swedish Elite League. He played in 201 regular season and 18 playoff games for the Spits (2003 to 2007) and was team captain during the 2006-07 campaign; the first of the Bob Boughner, Warren Rychel and Peter Dobrich ownership era. He went on to play 341 regular season games with the Sabres and 10 more with the Washington Capitals. Read more

STEELHEADS’ TOM FRATER CELEBRATES 1,000TH CAREER OHL CONTEST:

Mississauga Steelheads Equipment Manager Tom Frater worked his 1,000th career OHL contest this past weekend, a significant milestone in the career of one of the league’s longest serving team staff members. Frater’s OHL career began with the Belleville Bulls in 2003 and he’s enjoyed big games and made great friends along the way. Read more on his story with the Mississauga News’ Iain Colpitts over at mississaugasteelheads.com.

SPORTSNET CHL SATURDAY SHOWCASE SEES KNIGHTS VISIT STING:

The London Knights visit the Sarnia Sting on this week’s edition of the Sportsnet CHL Saturday Showcase. The 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup Tour also visits Sarnia this weekend. Catch the action across the country on Sportsnet Saturday afternoon at 3:30pm ET.

2018 MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP TICKETS ON SALE TO PUBLIC:

The 2018 Mastercard Memorial Cup Host Organizing Committee, together with the Canadian Hockey League, is pleased to announce that ticket packages for the 100th anniversary Mastercard Memorial Cup championship are now available to the public. For more information visit mastercardmemorialcup.ca.

 

COMMUNITY CORNER:

CMHA Talk Today Night in five OHL cities: The OHL, in partnership with the Canadian Mental Health Association and Teachers Life are teaming up to raise awareness about the importance of mental health during games throughout the month of February. All 20 OHL teams are hosting a Talk Today awareness game with the support of their local CMHA Ontario Branch. This weekend, the CMHA visits Guelph and Ottawa on Friday along with Hamilton, Kingston and Owen Sound on Saturday.

Greyhounds host Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Friday: The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are set to host their 8th annual Hockey Fights Cancer Night on Friday at home to the Saginaw Spirit. For the 2018 event, the Greyhounds have teamed up with the Canadian Cancer Society “Wheels of Hope” program and Tracy’s Dream to benefit from the proceeds raised. For more information on Saturday’s event visit soogreyhounds.com.

Petes host 9th annual Pink in the Rink game: The Peterborough Petes host their 9th annual Pink in the Rink game on Saturday when the Oshawa Generals visit the PMC. The Petes Pink in the Rink campaign honourary chair people are father-son duo Gary and Pete Dalliday, and teenaged cancer survivor Tori Sotiriadis. The chairs will help raise funds and awareness as the Pink in the Rink campaign looks to raise $60,000, which will bring the nine year campaign total to over $590,000. For more details visit gopetesgo.com.

Spirit host 11th annual Shocks & Saves Game on Saturday: The Saginaw Spirit welcome Detroit Red Wings alumni to the Dow Event Center on Saturday prior to their game against the Flint Firebirds as they hit the ice in the 11th annual Shocks & Saves Charity Game. The Red Wings Alumni team will join local physicians and first responders in Charity game to raise funds for Pulse3 Foundation. The Spirit are proud to welcome back Jiri Fischer, who’s cardiac arrest during an NHL game on November, 21 2005 cut his promising playing career short at just 25 years old. Since the inception of the Shocks and Saves Charity Game, the event has raised more than $592,000 and has placed 188 AED’s in the Great Lakes Bay Region. With those AED’s in place, a total of 11 lives have been saved. Learn more at saginawspirit.com.

Generals’ Brewer raises over $10,000 for Camp F.A.C.E.S.: The son of a firefighter, Oshawa Generals rookie defenceman Mitchell Brewer worked to raise over $10,000 toward Camp F.A.C.E.S (Families and Children of Emergency Services). The idea to raise money quickly grew into much more than anyone could have expected. Mitchell, being from Waterdown, ON reached out to the Hamilton Bulldogs organization in partnership for selling tickets to his first return home when the Generals faced the Bulldogs on January 27th. A portion of the tickets he sold would go directly to Camp F.A.C.E.S. tying in with their first responders night. Read more

Petes initiate Campus Ambassador program: Earlier this season, the Petes introduced a program designed to connect the Peterborough student body with local hockey. The program consists of four ambassadors from Trent University and Fleming College whose purpose is to initiate the dialogue surrounding the Petes on campus and bridge the gap between millennials and local hockey. Learn more about the initiative over at gopetesgo.com.

Rangers host Special Hockey benefit game: The Kitchener Rangers hosted the 11th annual Special Hockey benefit game which saw the Kitchener Ice Pirates take on the Rangers at The Aud. Monetary donations collected went toward the Kitchener Ice Pirates. The Ice Pirates and Cambridge Ice Hounds are two local hockey teams comprised of more than 100 children and adults who have developmental or physical challenges that prevent them from participating in traditional hockey programs.

Attack game worn camo jerseys up for auction: The Owen Sound Attack are auctioning off game worn camouflage uniforms with proceeds being donated to Royal Canadian Legion Branch 6 Owen Sound. Take a look at jerseys up for auction over at CHL Auctions.

Frontenacs game worn Pride jersey auction underway: The online auction for the Kingston Frontenacs Pride Night jerseys worn last weekend is now underway with net proceeds going to Kingston Pride Inc. and Reelout. Cast your bid at CHL Auctions.

Steelheads Pink at the Rink jersey auction now open: Fans can now bid on Mississauga Steelheads game worn Pink at the Rink jerseys from last weekend. All proceeds from the auction will be donated to the Canadian Cancer Society. Bid at CHL Auctions.

 

ALUMNI NOTES:

14 OHL grads attend in 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend: A total of 14 OHL graduates attended the 2018 NHL All-Star Weekend in Tampa Bay, Florida. Rickard Rakell (Plymouth Whalers) scored twice while Drew Doughty (Guelph Storm) also tallied to lead the Pacific Division to the 3-on-3 championship over the Atlantic Division by a score of 5-2. In the Skills Competition, Connor McDavid (Erie Otters) and Alex Pietrangelo (Barrie Colts) both had strong showings. Read more

Ranger shares his story: Oshawa Generals graduate Paul Ranger, a Whitby native of played with the Tampa Bay Lightning from 2005-09 before returning to the game in 2012 shares his past battle with depression and road to becoming a mental health advocate. Ranger played four OHL seasons with the Oshawa Generals from 2000-04. The 33-year-old who now serves as an assistant coach with the UOIT Ridgebacks Men’s Hockey team sat down with TSN’s Darren Dreger to share his story. Watch at TSN.ca.

Dermott scores first NHL goal: Erie Otters graduate Travis Dermott scored his first career NHL goal on Tuesday, helping the Toronto Maple Leafs defeat the New York Islanders 5-0. Dermott also had an assist in the game, giving him three points in nine games this season. The 21-year-old Dermott is a year removed from a three-year tenure with the Erie Otters that saw him record 116 points (17-99–116) over 179 regular season games. Toronto’s second round pick in 2015, Dermott recorded 24 points (5-19–24) with the AHL’s Toronto Marlies last season, following up that effort with 18 points (2-16–18) over 28 contests so far in 2017-18. The Newmarket, Ont. native represented Canada at the 2016 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship.

Fisher to rejoin Predators: After announcing his retirement back in August, 37-year-old Sudbury Wolves graduate Mike Fisher is rejoining the Nashville Predators. Eager to go on another long playoff run in Nashville, Fisher announced his intentions at practice on Wednesday. The native of Bridgenorth, Ont. has 585 career NHL points (276-309–585) over 1,088 career regular season games between Ottawa and Nashville. He played two OHL seasons with the Wolves from 1997-99, recording 155 points (65-90–155) over 134 regular season games.

Couture scores 200th NHL goal: Ottawa 67’s graduate Logan Couture scored the 200th goal of his NHL career on Tuesday as the San Jose Sharks fell 5-2 to the Pittsburgh Penguins. The 28-year-old Couture has 21 goals, 16 assists and 37 points in 45 games with the Sharks in this, his ninth NHL season. Originally a first round pick by San Jose back in 2007, Couture skated four seasons with the Ottawa 67’s from 2005-09, recording 287 points (111-176–287) over 232 career regular season games.

12 OHL grads compete at 2018 AHL All-Star Classic: A total of 12 OHL graduates including five who skated in the league last year competed at the 2018 AHL All-Star Classic in Utica, New York this past weekend. Former Soo Greyhounds coach Sheldon Keefe guided the North Division to a championship title as London Knights graduate Mitchell Stephens had two goals and three assists. The AHL’s Eastern Conference won the Skills Competition by a score of 18-12 as OHL grads Chris Terry (Plymouth Whalers) and Jordan Binnington (Owen Sound Attack) had standout showings. Read more

Boucher, Stephens and Sparks claim monthly AHL honours: OHL graduates Reid Boucher (Sarnia Sting), Mitchell Stephens (London Knights) and Garret Sparks (Guelph Storm) have been named AHL Performers of the Month following strong January showings. Utica Comets forward Boucher was named the AHL Player of the Month with 15 points (9-6–15) in 11 games. Stephens was crowned AHL Rookie of the Month with 14 points (8-6–14) in 12 games for the Syracuse Crunch. Sparks was named AHL Goaltender of the Month with a 5-0-1 record, 0.98 goals-against average and a .966 save percentage with two shutouts for the Toronto Marlies. For more details visit theahl.com.

OHL graduates McGillis, Wigle featured on Mastercard Junior Hockey Magazine: Mastercard Junior Hockey Magazine with Gino Reda catches up with a pair of OHL grads in Cory McGillis and Joel Wigle who are pursuing life after hockey. A native of Coniston, Ont., McGillis spent five OHL seasons between Windsor, Barrie, Plymouth and Sudbury from 2004-09 before attending Concordia University and the University of Windsor. A Brantford, Ont. native, Wigle spent five OHL seasons between Niagara, Erie and London before attending Ryerson University and is now pursuing a career in law enforcement. Listen

OHL grads Szydlowski, Machovsky atop ECHL leaderboards: A pair of OHL grads are leading the way in the ECHL. A four-year veteran of the Erie Otters, Shawn Szydlowski of the Fort Wayne Komets leads all players with 49 points (21-28–49) in 37 games. Now in his fifth full ECHL season, Szydlowski has recorded 293 career points over 275 games dating back to 2011. The native of St. Clair Shores, Michigan had 197 points (94-103–197) over his 258-game OHL career from 2007-11. In goal, Brampton Battalion graduate Matej Machovsky leads all netminders with a 2.01 goals-against average to go with a .929 save percentage over 17 games. The Toledo Walleye netminder is in his first ECHL season. He spent four OHL seasons between Guelph and Brampton from 2010-13, going 56-45-3-10 with a 2.54 goals-against average, a .906 save percentage and nine shutouts.

 

KEY MATCHUPS:

Hamilton Bulldogs (31-11-3-3) vs. Kitchener Rangers (33-14-2-0)
Friday February 2nd at Kitchener

A clash of two Conference powers goes down in Kitchener on Friday as the Eastern-leading Bulldogs visit the red hot Midwest Division-leading Kitchener Rangers who are winners of six straight.

The 31-11-3-3 Bulldogs boast a deep depth chart led by St. Louis Blues first round pick Robert Thomas, Montreal Canadiens prospect Will Bitten and prominent goal-scorers Matthew Strome and Brandon Saigeon.

The Rangers host the Bulldogs in the first of two meetings between the two clubs this season with a follow-up date slated for February 10th in Hamilton.

With a 12-point lead on second place London, the Rangers are on pace to lock up their first Midwest Division title since 2008.

 

London Knights (26-18-2-2) vs. Sarnia Sting (34-12-3-0)
Saturday February 3rd at Sarnia – Sportsnet CHL Saturday Showcase

The 402 rivalry between the Sarnia Sting and London Knights heats up on Sportsnet this Saturday as the CHL Saturday Showcase features a pair of intense clubs going head-to-head.

Sarnia enters the weekend with wins in nine of the last 10 games as OHL scoring leader Jordan Kyrou has multi-point outputs in eight straight games. New additions in Cam Dineen, Michael Pezzetta and Jonathan Ang have given the Sting another dimension as they put their run of success on the line against the always-competitive Knights.

The departure of veterans in Max Jones, Cliff Pu, Robert Thomas and Sam Miletic has made way for younger talent to step up as draft eligible forward Liam Foudy enters play on a four-game point streak. The Knights are led in scoring by blueliner Evan Bouchard who has 60 points (16-44–60) over 47 games.

 

SCHEDULE:

Thursday February 1:
Guelph at Mississauga – 7:00pm
Erie at North Bay – 7:00pm
Hamilton at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Sarnia at Windsor – 7:05pm

Friday February 2:
Sarnia at Flint – 7:00pm
Oshawa at Kingston – 7:00pm
North Bay at Mississauga – 7:00pm
Niagara at Ottawa – 7:00pm
Erie at Sudbury – 7:05pm
Saginaw at Sault Ste. Marie – 7:07pm
Owen Sound at Guelph – 7:30pm
Hamilton at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Barrie at London – 7:30pm

Saturday February 3:
London at Sarnia – 3:30pm (Sportsnet CHL Saturday Showcase)
Mississauga at Hamilton – 7:00pm
Niagara at Kingston – 7:00pm
Oshawa at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Flint at Saginaw – 7:05pm
Windsor at Barrie – 7:30pm
Kitchener at Owen Sound – 7:30pm

Sunday February 4:
Guelph at North Bay – 2:00pm
Peterborough at Ottawa – 2:00pm
Windsor at Oshawa – 2:05pm
Erie at Sault Ste. Marie – 2:07pm

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

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