OHL This Week: Mar. 22 to 25, 2018
The 2018 OHL Playoffs are set to get underway. Here’s a look at what’s happening around the league.
SCHEDULE SET FOR FIRST ROUND OF 2018 OHL PLAYOFFS:
After 680 games since September 21, the 2017-18 Ontario Hockey League regular season schedule is complete. All 16 playoff positions have been claimed with all final rankings and first round playoff matchups confirmed. Full first round schedule | Playoff Bracket
Western Conference matchups include #SSMvsSAG, #KITvsGUE, #SARvsWSR, #OSvsLDN. Read a full first round preview.
Eastern Conference matchups include #HAMvsOTT, #BARvsMISS, #KGNvsNB, #NIAGvsOSH. Read a full first round preview.
GREYHOUNDS AND SPIRIT FEATURED ON SPORTSNET:
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds and Saginaw Spirit will go head-to-head on Sportsnet this weekend with Games 1 & 2 of their first round series airing from coast-to-coast. Game 1 will be featured on Sportsnet 360 Friday night beginning at 7:07pm. Game 2 of the series will air on Sportsnet and Sportsnet One beginning Sunday afternoon at 3:00pm.
WATCH #OHLPLAYOFFS ON OHL LIVE:
The Ontario Hockey League, in association with its digital media partner NeuLion, are proud to offer special packages and rates for OHL Live coverage of the 2018 OHL Playoffs. All Access subscriptions can be purchased for $129.99, and first round team packages are available for $25.99. Details.
TORONTO JR. CANADIENS CROWNED 2018 OHL CUP POWERED BY UNDER ARMOUR CHAMPIONS:
The Toronto Jr. Canadiens are 2018 OHL Cup powered by Under Armour Champions following a 5-1 win over the Vaughan Kings at the Mattamy Athletic Centre in Toronto. Player of the Game Isaac MacLeod led the way with a goal and three assists as the Jr. Canadiens took an early lead and didn’t look back, hoisting the OHL Cup for the second time, last doing so in 2008. Read more
COLTS’ AARON LUCHUK CLAIMS OHL SCORING TITLE:
Ottawa Senators prospect Aaron Luchuk of the Barrie Colts recorded 50 goals and 65 assists for 115 points in 68 games to lead all OHL players in regular season scoring to earn the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy which is one of two regular season league awards recognizing offensive statistical efforts. Since his move to Barrie in December, the overage centre produced 22 goals and 42 assists for 64 points in 38 games as the Colts clinched their third Central Division title in four years. Read more
STING’S JORDAN KYROU FINISHES AS OHL’S TOP SCORING RIGHT-WINGER:
St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou of the Sarnia Sting finished third in OHL scoring but led all right wingers with 109 points including 39 goals and 70 assists in just 56 games to earn the Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy which is one of two regular season league awards recognizing offensive performance based on statistics. The 19-year-old from Toronto, Ont., was the league’s first to reach the century mark for points reaching the milestone mark in his 50th game on February 27.
VILLALTA AND JOHNSON BACKSTOP GREYHOUNDS TO FEWEST GOALS AGAINST:
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds allowed the fewest goals in the OHL this season with just 186 against, backstopped by the tandem of Matthew Villalta and Tyler Johnson who earn the Dave Pinkey Trophy which is one of two regular season league awards recognizing defensive efforts from a statistical standpoint. Read more
KNIGHTS’ JORDAN KOOY POSTS BEST ROOKIE GAA:
London Knights netminder Jordan Kooy posted the best goals-against-average among OHL rookie goaltenders in 2017-18 with a mark of 3.11 to earn the F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy which is one of the league’s two regular season awards in recognition of defensive efforts based on statistics. Read more
GREYHOUNDS, RANGERS, STING AND BULLDOGS IN CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS:
The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds remain the top-ranked team in the CHL this week while the Kitchener Rangers rise two spots to number five. The Sarnia Sting and Hamilton Bulldogs also remain in the Top 10 in the 24th edition of the weekly rankings. Full Rankings
ATTACK’S NICK SUZUKI NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nick Suzuki of the Owen Sound Attack is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the final week of regular season action ending March 18 after scoring six goals and one assist for seven points in three games with a plus-minus rating of plus-5. Suzuki extended his point-streak to eight and reached the century mark in season points while helping the Attack win three games last week securing fourth overall in the Western Conference standings with a 38-22-3-5 record. Read more
WAWANESA OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK:
The 25th 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 final week of regular season action ending March 18. This week’s highlights begin with a milestone marker from Dmitry Sokolov of the Barrie Colts who scores his 50th goal of the season against his former team, and continue with a three-way passing play that features Peterborough Petes Bobby Down and Semyon Der-Arguchintsev who set up Pavel Gogolev for a one-timer finish. The segment also includes individual efforts by Igor Larionov of the Windsor Spitfires with an inside-out move, Ryan McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads who turns on the wheels, and Jonah Gadjovich of the Owen Sound Attack who picks up his own rebound and goes between-the-legs for a goal. Watch
VOTE JONAH GADJOVICH IN #CIBCSHOWDOWN:
Owen Sound Attack forward Jonah Gadjovich 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.
SAVING THE BEST FOR LAST IN FINAL REGULAR SEASON EDITION OF JANES SAVES:
We’ve ‘saved’ the best for last! The final regular season edition of #JanesSaves features more than just OHL goaltenders. This week starts with nine netminders including Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires, Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals, Stephen Dhillon of the Niagara IceDogs, Leo Lazarev of the Barrie Colts, Christian Propp of the North Bay Battalion, Emanuel Vella of the Mississauga Steelheads, Garrett Forrest of the Flint Firebirds, Olivier Tremblay of the Ottawa 67’s, and Joseph Raaymakers of the London Knights, then ends with an incredible effort by defenceman Connor Corcoran of the Spitfires. Watch
VUKOJEVIC AND HEWITSON FEATURED IN OHL MILESTONE MOMENTS:
Rookies Michael Vukojevic of the Kitchener Rangers and Mitchell Hewitson of the Oshawa Generals both scored their first career OHL goal this past week. See those highlights in our Milestone Moments section. Watch
GREYHOUNDS CAP REGULAR SEASON WITH FRANCHISE RECORD 55TH WIN:
The 2017-18 OHL regular season officially concluded as the most successful in Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds franchise history on Sunday. The Hounds defeated the visiting London Knights 6-3 to win a franchise record 55th game of the season, finishing with a CHL-best 116 points to earn the Hamilton Spectator Trophy as OHL regular season champions for the fifth time. Read more
STEELHEADS’ HAGUE SETS CLUB SINGLE SEASON POINTS RECORD:
Vegas Golden Knights prospect Nicolas Hague continued a record-setting season on Friday, scoring his 34th and 35th goals of the season as the Mississauga Steelheads defeated the visiting Ottawa 67’s 5-2. With the two goals, Hague set a new Steelheads club record with his 76th point of the campaign, surpassing past marks of 75 held by Alexander Nylander (2015-16) and teammate Owen Tippett (2016-17). Read more
COLTS TEAMMATES LUCHUK AND SOKOLOV HIT 50-GOAL MILESTONE:
Barrie Colts teammates Aaron Luchuk and Dmitry Sokolov both hit the 50-goal mark on Friday night in Sudbury, becoming the first set of OHL teammates to reach the half-century mark in one season since 2006. Read more
OHL TALENTS KOROSTELEV, MAKSIMOVICH, SMERECK, WELLS JOIN AHL CLUBS:
OHL veterans Nikita Korostelev (Peterborough Petes), Kyle Maksimovich (Erie Otters), Jalen Smereck (Flint Firebirds) and Dylan Wells (Peterborough Petes) have signed tryout contracts with American Hockey League clubs, getting a taste of the professional ranks with their respective OHL clubs eliminated from playoff contention. Korostelev has joined the Laval Rocket, the AHL affiliate of the Montreal Canadiens. Maksimovich has joined the Rockford IceHogs, the AHL affiliate of the Chicago Blackhawks where he’ll skate alongside former Otters teammate Darren Raddysh. Smereck has joined the Tucson Roadrunners, the AHL affiliate of the Arizona Coyotes. Wells has joined the Bakersfield Condors, the AHL affiliate of the Edmonton Oilers.
ROGERS HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR STOPS IN CORNWALL:
The Rogers Hometown Hockey Tour stopped in Cornwall, Ont. this past weekend, documenting the rich hockey history in the former home of the OHL’s Cornwall Royals. Former Royals defenceman and 1993 Stanley Cup champion Mathieu Schneider shared his thoughts and was one of several interesting features presented over the weekend. For that content and other coverage visit hometownhockey.com.
VOTE FOR THE CHL’S TEAM OF THE CENTURY:
In celebration of the 100th edition of the Mastercard Memorial Cup, the Canadian Hockey League is asking fans to cast their vote for the Team of the Century. Check out the online voting platform at http://chlteamofthecentury.ca which features photos, rosters, and tournament recaps for the first 99 Memorial Cup champions who represent the candidates eligible for the distinction of CHL Team of the Century. Voters are eligible for great prizes including a trip for two to the 2019 Mastercard Memorial Cup.
Pejcinovski Family Memorial Fund established: Vas Pejcinovski, who lost his son Roy, a goaltender with the Don Mills Flyers Bantams, Roy’s mother Krissy and sister Vana in a tragic turn of events last week, has joined with his daughter Victoria in announcing the establishment of ‘The Pejcinovski Family Memorial Fund.’ The fund allows those wishing to assist the family through this difficult time to provide monetary donations. For more details visit The Pejcinovski Family Memorial Fund.
Celebration of Life for former OHL official and supervisor Jim Lever: A Celebration of Life for former long-time OHL official and supervisor Jim Lever will take place on Friday, March 23rd from 3-8pm at the Royal Legion Branch 266/046, 3591 Dundas Street West, Toronto. The Legion is located on the south side of Dundas St., at the corner of Watson, which is one block west of Jane Street. Lever, whose officiating tenure dates back to the OHA in 1964, passed away at the age of 77 on January 26th.
100th Mastercard Memorial Cup Tour stops in Niagara: The 17th and final stop on the 100th Mastercard Memorial Cup Tour was Niagara this past weekend as the prestigious trophy visited several locations across the scenic Niagara region. Stops included a local Home Depot, Sky Zone St. Catharines, Niagara Falls, Ridley College as well as Wayne Gretzky Estates Winery & Distillery. For more details on the tour stop in Niagara last weekend, visit niagaraicedogs.net.
67’s put exclamation point on 50 acts of kindness campaign: The Ottawa 67’s made good on a big pre-season promise as the organization has capped off it’s pledge to complete 50 acts of kindness in the community during the 2017-2018 OHL season. From its humble beginnings during this year’s pre-season schedule, the 50 for 50 promise to reach out and help the community in a variety of different ways continued to pick up momentum all season long, wrapping up with a visit to the Chartwell Lord Lansdowne retirement residence last week. Read more
Petes captain DeNoble pens heartfelt message to fans: Peterborough product Logan DeNoble played his final OHL contest this past week and with the Petes out of playoff contention, took the opportunity to pen a heartfelt note to the loyal fans in Peterborough. Read Logan’s message at gopetesgo.com.
Firebirds assist with Flint Inner-City Hockey Program: The Flint Firebirds assisted with the Flint Inner-City Hockey Program this past season, helping to introduce 23 new players to the sport. Firebirds players served as instructors with the program and many of the young players received free tickets to attend a Firebirds game this season. For more on the story visit MLIVE.com.
Studnicka’s ‘Skate in Strides’ program raises over $7500 for good cause: Oshawa Generals captain Jack Studnicka took the fight to Cystic Fibrosis this season, raising $7500 in support of Cystic Fibrosis research through his ‘Skate in Strides’ program. Studnicka presented the donation to Cystic Fibrosis Canada prior to Sunday’s season finale.
Stajan plays 1000th NHL game: OHL graduate Matt Stajan played his 1000th career NHL game on Wednesday as the Calgary Flames dropped a 4-0 decision against the Anaheim Ducks. Stajan has recorded 11 points (4-7–11) over 65 games in this, his 14th NHL season. He’s registered 146 goals, 266 assists and 412 points in his NHL career between Toronto and Calgary. Stajan played three seasons with the Belleville Bulls from 2000-03, recording 206 points (76-130–206) over 182 career OHL games.
17 OHL alumni earn medals at U SPORTS University Cup: Seventeen OHL graduates have earned medals at the 2018 U SPORTS University Cup that wrapped up this past weekend in Fredericton, NB. London Knights graduate Brendan Burke claimed the lone gold medal as a member of the University of Alberta Golden Bears, helping guide them to their 16th National Championship and third in five years after winning back-to-back titles in 2014 and 2015. Peterborough Petes graduate Michael Clarke of the StFX X-Men was also named to the tournament all-star team after registering seven points (2-5–7) over three games. Read more
Duininck wins Frank H. Sobey Award: Sudbury Wolves graduate Craig Duininck is the 2018 recipient of the Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies at St. Francis Xavier University. The 24-year-old blueliner was a silver medalist at the U SPORTS University Cup in Fredericton, NB this past week with the StFX X-Men. Duininck, from St. Cloud, Minn., receives the honour as one of just eight to do so this academic year. The Frank H. Sobey Award started in 1989 and supports the development of future business leaders and business programs in Atlantic Canadian universities. Duininck played five OHL seasons between Windsor, Sarnia and Sudbury from 2009-14.
O’Reilly joins AHL’s 500-point club: Windsor Spitfires graduate Cal O’Reilly became the 93rd player in AHL history to reach the 500 career point plateau this past week. The Iowa Wild forward has 12 goals, 41 assists and 53 points in 63 games in this, his 12th pro season. A native of Varna, Ont., O’Reilly is a four-time AHL All-Star (2009, 2010, 2015, 2016) and has skated in 588 career regular season games. He played three seasons with the Windsor Spitfires from 2003-06, recording 194 points (45-149–194) over 197 regular season games.
Thursday March 22:
Ottawa at Hamilton (Game 1) – 7:00pm
London at Owen Sound (Game 1) – 7:00pm
Mississauga at Barrie (Game 1) – 7:30pm
Friday March 23:
North Bay at Kingston (Game 1) – 7:00pm
Oshawa at Niagara (Game 1) – 7:00pm
Windsor at Sarnia (Game 1) – 7:05pm
Saginaw at Sault Ste. Marie (Game 1) – 7:07pm
Guelph at Kitchener (Game 1) – 7:30pm
Saturday March 24:
Windsor at Sarnia (Game 2) – 7:05pm
London at Owen Sound (Game 2) – 7:30pm
Sunday March 25:
Oshawa at Niagara (Game 2) – 2:00pm
Saginaw at Sault Ste. Marie (Game 2) – 3:00pm
North Bay at Kingston (Game 2) – 6:00pm
Guelph at Kitchener (Game 2) – 7:00pm
Ottawa at Hamilton (Game 2) – 7:30pm
Be sure to catch all of this weekend’s action at ohllive.com.