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OHL This Week: October 5 to 8, 2017

Thanksgiving weekend means a long weekend of OHL action as 17 games span from Friday to Monday. Here’s a look at what’s going on around the league.

 

171 OHL ALUMNI LISTED ON NHL OPENING NIGHT ROSTERS:

24% of all players opening the 2017-18 season on National Hockey League rosters are Ontario Hockey League alumni. Among the OHL players listed on active rosters are 2017 NHL Draft picks Owen Tippett (10th overall, Florida Panthers) of the Mississauga Steelheads, and Alex Formenton (47th overall, Ottawa Senators) of the London Knights. Also making the jump to start the 2017-18 campaign are a collection of returning eligible 19-year-olds from the 2016 NHL Draft including Mastercard Memorial Cup champions Logan Brown (Ottawa Senators) and Mikhail Sergachev (Tampa Bay Lightning) of the Windsor Spitfires, along with Janne Kuokkanen (Carolina Hurricanes) and Victor Mete (Montreal Canadiens) of the London Knights. Read more

48 OHL PLAYERS TO WATCH FOR 2018 NHL DRAFT:

48 players from the Ontario Hockey League have been listed among NHL Central Scouting’s October ‘Players to Watch’ list for the 2018 NHL Draft which takes place June 22-23 in Dallas, TX. Six OHL players were assigned an ‘A’ rating indicating a first round candidate including Barrett Hayton of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Ryan McLeod of the Mississauga Steelheads, Andrei Svechnikov of the Barrie Colts, Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs and defencemen Evan Bouchard of the London Knights and Ryan Merkley of the Guelph Storm. Read more

ATTACK AND GREYHOUNDS IN CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS:

The Owen Sound Attack (2) are on the rise in the third edition of the weekly CHL Top 10 Rankings. The Attack rise one spot to number two while the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds hold steady in the 10th spot. The undefeated Flint Firebirds received an honourable mention. Read more

PETES’ JONATHAN ANG NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK:

Florida Panthers prospect Jonathan Ang of the Peterborough Petes is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week after leading the league with seven points in three games. Ang’s seven points led the league during the second week of 2017-18 regular season play and featured a pair of three-point performances that helped the Petes earn a pair of victories. Read more

OTTERS CELEBRATE CHAMPIONSHIP SEASON:

The defending OHL champion Erie Otters celebrated their tremendous 2016-17 accomplishments on Saturday night at Erie Insurance Arena, raising their 2017 championship banner to the rafters prior to puck drop against the Kitchener Rangers. Otters Owner and Governor Jim Waters and COO Roy Mlakar joined the team on the ice for a pre-game as a highlight video relived the excitement following Anthony Cirelli’s overtime winner in Game 5 of the Rogers OHL Championship Series. Watch

WAWANESA OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK:

The 2nd 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 October 1. This week’s highlights start and finish with a pair of Saginaw Spirit forwards performing dazzling end-to-end rushes including Damien Giroux at number five, and Cole Coskey at number one. Watch

VOTE COLE COSKEY IN #CIBCSHOWDOWN:

Saginaw Spirit forward Cole Coskey not only helps headline the Wawanesa OHL Plays of the Week, but is also the OHL representative featured in this week’s #CIBShowdown 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.

BIG STOPS FEATURED ON JANES SAVES OF THE WEEK:

The 2017-18 Ontario Hockey League season is only two weeks old but goaltenders across the league are already at the top of their game. Featured in the second edition of #JanesSaves are 11 goaltenders including Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals, Leo Lazarev and Christian Propp of the Barrie Colts, Evan Cormier of the Saginaw Spirit, Julian Sime of the North Bay Battalion, Kaden Fulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Marshall Frappier of the Sudbury Wolves, Garrett Forrest of the Flint Firebirds, Olivier Tremblay of the Ottawa 67’s, and Aidan Hughes of the Sarnia Sting. Watch

16 MILESTONE MOMENTS ACROSS THE OHL LAST WEEK:

A total of 15 players scored their first OHL goal last week while one goaltender, Kingston Frontenacs sophomore Mario Peccia, earned his first career OHL shutout. First goals across the league included five coming from 2017 OHL Priority Selection choices including first round picks Nicholas Porco (Saginaw Spirit) and Blake Murray (Sudbury Wolves) as well as Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton Bulldogs), Keean Washkurak (Mississauga Steelheads) and Cole Schwindt (Mississauga Steelheads). Watch

FIREBIRDS’ CAAMANO FEATURED ON OHL NEWS RADIO:

OHL News – Radio Edition with host Terry Doyle and presented by Warrior Hockey features Dallas Stars prospect Nicholas Caamano of the Flint Firebirds. The 19-year-old from Ancaster, Ont., has been a member of the organization since being chosen by the Plymouth Whalers in the second round of the 2014 OHL Priority Selection.  Two years later he was a fifth round pick of the Stars in the 2016 NHL Draft, signed his entry-level contract with the club in April, then got his first taste of professional action suiting up for the AHL’s Texas Stars six times at the end of last season. Listen

STEELHEADS’ NICOLAS HAGUE SIGNS WITH GOLDEN KNIGHTS:

The Vegas Golden Knights have signed Mississauga Steelheads defenceman Nicolas Hague to a three-year entry level NHL contract. The 19-year-old native of Kitchener, Ont. recorded 18 goals, 28 assists and 46 points over 65 regular season games with the Mississauga last season. His 18 goals ranked third amongst all OHL defenceman while his 107 penalty minutes placed him fifth in the league. The 6-foot-6 defender was the 2016 recipient of the OHL’s Bobby Smith Trophy awarded to the league’s Scholastic Player of the Year. Read more

KNIGHTS’ ALEX FORMENTON SIGNS WITH SENATORS:

The Ottawa Senators have signed London Knights forward Alex Formenton to a three-year entry level NHL contract. The club’s second round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft, Formenton appeared in five of the Senators’ six pre-season contests and tied for fourth in team scoring with three points (one goal, two assists). The Barrie, Ont. native led Knights rookies in goals (16), assists (18), points (34) and plus/minus rating (+21) in 2016-17. Read more

KNIGHTS’ BRANDON CRAWLEY SIGNS WITH RANGERS:

The New York Rangers have signed London Knights overage defenceman Brandon Crawley to a three-year entry level NHL contract. Crawley skated in 61 games with the Knights last season, registering seven goals and 20 assists for 27 points, along with a plus-55 rating and 114 penalty minutes. Crawley played one game with the Rangers during the preseason this year, recording a power play goal and leading all skaters with four hits in 18:51 of ice time on Sept. 23 at New Jersey. The Glen Rock, NJ native was New York’s fourth round pick in the 2017 NHL Draft. Read more

GENERALS’ KYLE KEYSER SIGNS WITH BRUINS:

The Boston Bruins have signed 18-year-old Oshawa Generals goaltender Kyle Keyser to a three-year entry level NHL contract. A native of Coral Springs, Florida, Keyser appeared in 26 games with Oshawa in 2016-17, compiling a 7-9-0 record with a 3.40 goals against average and .891 save percentage. The 6-foot-2, 182-pound netminder spent the 2015-16 season with the Flint Firebirds, amassing a 4-10 record with a 4.37 goals against average and a .880 save percentage. Read more

BULLDOGS’ KADEN FULCHER SIGNS WITH RED WINGS:

The Detroit Red Wings have signed 19-year-old free agent goaltender Kaden Fulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs to a three-year entry level NHL contract. Fulcher attended both the Red Wings’ summer development camp and training camp as a free agent invitee prior to earning his first NHL contract. The Brigden, Ont. native appeared in 43 games for the Bulldogs during the 2016-17 season and posted a 19-17-3 record, 3.21 goals-against average, 0.891 save percentage and two shutouts. Read more

ZACHARY ROY COMMITS TO BULLDOGS:

The Hamilton Bulldogs have received a commitment from 2017 fourth round (71st overall) selection Zachary Roy. A 5-foot-11, 165Ib. goaltender from North Bay, Ont., Roy led the GTHL’s Toronto Nationals to an appearance in the OHL Cup Championship Final. Roy was also selected to take part in the 12th annual Hockey Canada Program of Excellence goaltending camp this past summer. Read more

STING NAMES BLUES PROSPECT JORDAN KYROU CAPTAIN:

The Sarnia Sting have named 19-year-old St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou captain while Los Angeles Kings draftee Drake Rymsha and overage defenceman Connor Schlichting will serve as assistants. Kyrou had an outstanding 94 points, ranking sixth in OHL scoring league-wide last season. He has also won a gold medal for Canada in the 2016 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, and is expected to compete for a role on Team Canada at the 2018 World Junior Championship in Buffalo, New York. Read more

COLTS NAME JUSTIN MURRAY CAPTAIN:

The Barrie Colts announced Thursday that 19-year-old defenceman Justin Murray has been named captain for the 2017-18 season. The London, Ont. native is a 135-game OHL veteran currently in his third season after being an eighth round pick by the club in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection. The 6-foot, 184Ib. left-shot defenceman has a goal and three assists through his first four games of the 2017-18 season. Read more

ROGERS HOMETOWN HOCKEY TOUR COMES TO NIAGARA:

Rogers Hometown Hockey makes its way to Niagara Falls, Ontario, and fans can expect a great weekend of FREE hockey-related activities, NHL Alumni appearances, music, and fun for the whole family! Join Ron MacLean and Tara Slone LIVE on site on Sunday, October 8th for the broadcast as they tell the stories that celebrate the hockey history and culture that put Niagara Falls on Canada’s hockey map, and stick around the catch the Montreal Canadiens take on the New York Rangers. For full details, visit hometownhockey.com.

 

COMMUNITY CORNER:

St. Catharines to host National Junior Team Selection Camp: Canada’s National Junior Team hopefuls will be front-and-centre in Southern Ontario as St. Catharines, Ont., will serve as the host for selection camp, Dec. 12-15. Canada’s National Junior Team Selection Camp will be held at the home of the Niagara Ice Dogs, and will also feature a trio of games – two against a U SPORTS team on Dec. 13 and 14, and a game against Denmark on Dec. 15, The Canadian squad will make its final preparations ahead of the 2018 IIHF World Junior Championship in Buffalo, N.Y., with a pair of pre-tournament games. On Dec. 20, Canada will face the Czech Republic in London, Ont. before taking on Switzerland in Hamilton, Ont. two days later on Dec. 22nd. For full details visit hockeycanada.ca.

Spirit lend a helping hand in the community: The Saginaw Spirit recently teamed up with United Way volunteers ahead of United Way Night at the Dow Event Center on Saturday September 30th. Spirit players helped build an access ramp at a local residence as part of the 2017 Project Independence Project. For more details visit saginawspirit.com.

Wolves donate $7,500 to NEO KIDS from 2017 Superhero Game: The Sudbury Wolves announced Wednesday that last season’s 2nd annual Superhero game in support of North Eastern Ontario Kids Foundation, NEO Kids, raised $7,500 for the charity. The money was raised from a silent auction of the special Batman themed jerseys that the team wore last season on the Family Day long weekend in February. For more details, visit sudburywolves.com.

Storm fuelling Thanksgiving Food Drive on Friday: The Guelph Storm will be looking to shut out hunger this coming Friday night when they host the Windsor Spitfires on home ice. Fans are asked to bring non-perishable food items to be donated to the Guelph Food Bank. Last year Storm fans donated over 900Ibs. of food along with $295 in cash donations which provided approximately 2,175 meals. For more information, please visit guelphstorm.com.

 

ALUMNI NOTES:

Thrilling NHL Opening Night for OHL alumni: The NHL is back and OHL grads got in on the action on Wednesday night as the 2017-18 season got underway. Edmonton Oilers star Connor McDavid (Erie Otters) wasted little time getting back on the scoresheet, netting a hat-trick as the Oilers defeated their Alberta rivals the Calgary Flames 3-0. London Knights graduate Nazem Kadri of the Toronto Maple Leafs scored the first goal of the new season 15:45 into the first period as the Leafs downed the Winnipeg Jets 7-2 on the road. Former OHL scoring champion Kevin Labanc (Barrie Colts) has taken his goal-scoring prowess to San Jose where he scored twice against Philadelphia, only to be outdone by Wayne Simmonds (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds) who tallied a hat-trick in the Flyers’ 5-3 win over the Sharks. Niagara IceDogs graduate Vince Dunn made his NHL debut as a member of the St. Louis Blues as they took a 5-4 overtime win in Pittsburgh.

Bickell retires with Blackhawks: The Chicago Blackhawks announced Wednesday that they signed OHL graduate Bryan Bickell to a one-day contract, allowing him to officially retire from the NHL as a member of the team. Bickell was a three-time Stanley Cup champion with the Hawks in 2010, 2013 and 2015, playing in 384 of his 395 career NHL games with Chicago. The 31-year old scored 65 goals and added 70 assists in his 10-year NHL career. A native of Bowmanville, Ont., Bickell announced he had multiple sclerosis on November 12, 2016 while a member of the Carolina Hurricanes. He was placed on injured reserve and began receiving treatment for the illness. He returned from injured reserve on April 4 and played four games with Carolina before his final game. Bickell and his wife, Amanda, have two daughters, Makayla and Kinslee. A 6-foot-4 left-winger, Bickell played four OHL seasons with the Ottawa 67’s and Windsor Spitfires from 2002-06.

Legein back in OHL with Steelheads: A former standout with the Mississauga IceDogs and the Niagara IceDogs, Stefan Legein is back in the league after joining the Mississauga Steelheads as the club’s Video Coach. A 28-year-old from Oakville, Ont. Legein played four OHL seasons with the IceDogs from 2004-08 and was a second round pick by the Columbus Blue Jackets in the 2007 NHL Draft. The former Canadian World Junior gold medalist has battled adversity in the forms of anxiety and addiction throughout his career, but has come out on the other side eager to help young players pursue their goals and avoid his mistakes. Read the full story at sportsnet.ca.

 

KEY MATCHUPS:

Flint Firebirds (3-0-0-0) at Kingston Frontenacs (4-1-0-0)
Friday October 6th at Kingston – 7:00pm

Finding early success in 2017-18, the undefeated Flint Firebirds will be put to the test this weekend with a three-game East Division road trip that includes stops in Peterborough, Kingston and Ottawa. The Birds have thrilled fans, coming out on top in some closely contested matchups as Dallas Stars prospect Nicholas Caamano, 2018 NHL Draft prospect Ty Dellandrea and recently acquired defenceman Nicolas Mattinen have been bright spots.

The Firebirds go into Kingston on Friday against the pleasant surprise of the Eastern Conference to this point in the season. The Frontenacs are off to a 4-1-0-0 start behind solid performances from forwards Jason Robertson, Linus Nyman, Nathan Dunkley and 16-year-old Cody Morgan. Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Eemeli Rasanen, a 6-foot-7 defenceman, leads the club in scoring with seven points (2-5–7) in five games.

Hamilton Bulldogs (2-1-0-1) at Sarnia Sting (4-1-0-0)
Monday October 9th at Sarnia – 2:00pm

It’s Thanksgiving weekend and that means Monday afternoon OHL action!

One of three Monday matinees around the league features the Hamilton Bulldogs paying a visit to the surging Sarnia Sting who enter the weekend as winners of three straight.

The Sting got a shot in the arm when they received star winger Jordan Kyrou back from the St. Louis Blues. Along with a pair of goals from Calgary Flames prospect Adam Ruzicka, Kyrou helped the Sting defeat the Owen Sound Attack on Wednesday, scoring the shootout winner in a 6-5 road win. Overage blueliner Jordan Ernst already has five goals on the season while Los Angeles Kings prospect Drake Rymsha leads the team with nine points (3-6–9).

The Bulldogs enter the weekend off back-to-back shootout outcomes. They’ve enjoyed strong goaltender from Kaden Fulcher who will return home to play in Sarnia on Monday after recently signing a three-year entry level NHL contract with the Detroit Red Wings. Montreal Canadiens prospect Will Bitten (1-3–4) leads the Bulldogs in scoring with four points in as many games while rookie Arthur Kaliyev has turned heads with a goal and two assists over four contests.

SCHEDULE:

Thursday October 5:
Sudbury at Niagara – 7:00pm
Flint at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Sault Ste. Marie at Windsor – 7:05pm
North Bay at Barrie – 7:30pm

Friday October 6:
Flint at Kingston – 7:00pm
Sudbury at Mississauga – 7:00pm
Peterborough at Ottawa – 7:00pm
Barrie at Sarnia – 7:05pm
Windsor at Guelph – 7:30pm
Erie at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Sault Ste. Marie at London – 7:30pm
Niagara at Oshawa – 7:35pm

Saturday October 7:
Kitchener at Guelph – 4:00pm
London at Erie – 7:00pm
Niagara at Hamilton – 7:00pm
Barrie at Saginaw – 7:05pm
Windsor at Owen Sound – 7:30pm

Sunday October 8:
Flint at Ottawa – 7:00pm

Monday October 9:
Owen Sound at Kitchener – 2:00pm
Peterborough at North Bay – 2:00pm
Hamilton at Sarnia – 2:00pm

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

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