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OHL This Week: April 18 to 21, 2019

 

The field has been narrowed to four as the Ottawa 67’s, Oshawa Generals, Saginaw Spirit and Guelph Storm are all that remain on the march to the Robertson Cup. The Eastern and Western Conference Championship Series are underway and there are plenty of other things going on from across the league.

EASTERN AND WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES NOW UNDERWAY:
The Bobby Orr and Wayne Gretzky Trophies are on the line as the Eastern and Western Conference Championship Series got underway on Thursday in Ottawa and Saginaw. The host 67’s and Spirit took Game 1 victories over the Oshawa Generals and Guelph Storm to take on step closer to hoisting the Robertson Cup as OHL Champions. Eastern Conference Preview / Western Conference Preview

SPIRIT OVERPOWER STORM 7-2 IN GAME 1:
The Saginaw Spirit struck for seven goals on 30 shots, defeating the Guelph Storm to take a 1-0 lead in the Western Conference Championship Series. RecapHighlights / Post-Game Press Conference / Photo Gallery

FOUR-GOAL THIRD FUELS 67’s IN GAME 1 COMEBACK:
Noel Hoefenmayer scored the late winner as the Ottawa 67’s roared back from a 4-2 deficit with four unanswered third period goals in Game 1. Recap / Highlights / Post-Game Press Conference / Photo Gallery

KITCHENER AND LONDON TO HOST 2019 CIBC CANADA RUSSIA SERIES:
The Kitchener Rangers and London Knights will serve as hosts for Games 3 and 4 of the 2019 CIBC Canada Russia Series on Nov. 7th and 11th. For the first time since 2013 the event will begin in the QMJHL, followed by two OHL matchups, and ending with a pair of contests hosted by the WHL. Read more

WOLVES’ QUINTON BYFIELD NAMED OHL ROOKIE OF THE YEAR:
Quinton Byfield of the Sudbury Wolves is the 2018-19 recipient of the Emms Family Award presented to the OHL’s Rookie of the Year. Byfield joined the league as the first overall pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection and finished third in rookie scoring with 61 points in 64 games including 29 goals and 32 assists helping the Wolves win more than 40 games for the first time since the 1994-95 season. Read more

48 OHL PLAYERS IN FINAL 2019 NHL CENTRAL SCOUTING DRAFT RANKINGS:
48 OHL players have been listed by NHL Central Scouting in their Final Rankings for the 2019 NHL Draft which takes place June 21-22 in Vancouver, BC. The 48 players includes 43 skaters of the 217 ranked by NHL Central Scouting in North America while five of the 31 goaltenders ranked are also from the OHL. The list of skaters includes 30 forwards and 13 defencemen. Read more

128 OHL PROSPECTS NAMED TO 2019 OHL GOLD CUP ROSTERS:
128 players selected in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection have been named to 2019 OHL Gold Cup rosters where they’ll represent their respective minor hockey associations from May 2-5 at the Activa Sportsplex in Kitchener, Ont. The OHL Gold Cup is an annual showcase event featuring top under-16 talent in Ontario. As part of the Hockey Canada Program of Excellence, select players from the OHL Gold Cup will be invited to attend the National Under-17 Selection Camp, where they will have a chance to compete with other top talent from across Canada, to earn a spot at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge. Read more

GENERALS’ KEYSER NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Boston Bruins prospect Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the playoff week ending April 14 posting a 3-0-0-0 record with a goals-against-average of 1.67 and save percentage of .952. Keyser was the backbone for the Generals last week making 100 saves in three straight wins to turn the tide in the Eastern Conference Semi-Finals against the Niagara IceDogs. Read more

STORM’S SUZUKI NAMED CHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Montreal Canadiens prospect Nick Suzuki of the Guelph Storm is the CHL Player of the Week for the fourth week of playoff action ending April 14 with 10 points in four games including five goals and five assists with a plus-minus rating of plus-1. Read more

7 OHL PLAYERS TO REPRESENT CANADA AT 2019 WORLD U18 HOCKEY CHAMPIONSHIP:
Seven OHL players have been named to Canada’s National Under-18 Team set to compete in the 2019 IIHF World Under-18 Hockey Championship. Defencemen Jamie Drysdale (Erie Otters), Thomas Harley (Mississauga Steelheads) and Michael Vukojevic (Kitchener Rangers) join forwards Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting), Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts), Philip Tomasino (Niagara IceDogs) and Keean Washkurak (Mississauga Steelheads) in representing Canada in Örnsköldsvik and Umeå, Sweden. Read more

CANADA IMPROVES TO 2-0 AT U18 WORLDS:
Canada overcame a 3-0 deficit to defeat Finland on Thursday, but squandered a three-goal lead of its own against Switzerland on Friday. A late second period marker from Peyton Krebs (Winnipeg ICE) put Canada back in front for good though as Brayden Tracey (Moose Jaw Warriors), Dylan Cozens (Lethbridge Hurricanes) and Dylan Holloway tacked on third period goals in a 7-4 victory. Read more

SPIRIT’S PROSVETOV REPRESENTS OHL IN CIBC SHOWDOWN:
Saginaw Spirit goaltender Ivan Prosvetov is the OHL’s representative in this week’s CIBC Showdown featuring one great play from all three leagues. Watch & Vote

TOP PLAYS OF SECOND ROUND IN WAWANESA OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK:
Another bonus edition of the Wawanesa OHL Plays of the Week feature a collection of the league’s Top-5 goals scored during the second round of the 2019 OHL Playoffs. The highlights include Saginaw Spirit defenceman Bode Wilde with a superb individual effort collecting his own rebound skate to stick and into the net.  The countdown continues with a sweet shorthanded rush by the Sudbury Wolves as Shane Bulitka feeds Macauley Carson for the finish, a partial two-on-one with Oshawa Generals Kyle Bollers giving it back to Anthony Salinitri, and a patient give-and-go between Kyle Maksimovich and Tye Felhaber of the Ottawa 67’s.  Evan Bouchard of the London Knights tops the list with a play fit for the pros. Watch

OHL GOALTENDERS SIMPLY SENSATIONAL IN JANES SAVES OF THE WEEK:
OHL goaltenders are simply sensational in this second round playoffs edition of #JanesSaves. Featured this week is Ivan Prosvetov of the Saginaw Spirit, Stephen Dhillon of the Niagara IceDogs, Michael DiPietro of the Ottawa 67’s, Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals, Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen of the Sudbury Wolves, Jordan Kooy of the London Knights, Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, and Anthony Popovich of the Guelph Storm. Watch

WOLVES’ LUUKKONEN EARNS FIRST PRO WIN IN AMERICAN HOCKEY LEAGUE:
Sudbury Wolves netminder Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen made 32 saves in his AHL debut on Sunday in Belleville, backstopping the Rochester Americans to a 4-2 win over the Belleville Senators in the club’s season finale. The 20-year-old second round pick of the Buffalo Sabres played eight games in the 2019 OHL Playoffs, helping the Wolves win their first playoff round since 2013. The 6-foot-5, 214Ib netminder went 38-11-2-2 this past season with a 2.50 goals-against average, .920 save percentage and franchise single season record six shutouts. He helped lead Finland to gold at the 2019 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in January.

FROM SECOND ROUND OHL PLAYOFFS TO FIRST ROUND AHL PLAYOFFS:
Luukkonen is one of seven OHL players who will continue playoff action despite second round OHL exits. Evan Bouchard (Bakersfield Condors), Paul Cotter (Chicago Wolves), and Liam Foudy (Cleveland Monsters) of the London Knights, Ben Jones (Chicago Wolves) and Jack Studnicka (Providence Bruins) of the Niagara IceDogs, and Mac Hollowell (Toronto Marlies) of the Soo Greyhounds have all been assigned to their respective AHL clubs for the Calder Cup Playoffs which began on Wednesday night.

WOLVES’ RUZICKA SIGNS WITH FLAMES:
Sudbury Wolves forward Adam Ruzicka has signed a three-year entry level NHL contract with the Calgary Flames. The 19-year-old native of Bratislava, Slovakia put up 35 goals, 43 assists and 78 points over 65 games between Sudbury and Sarnia this past season. He led Sudbury in playoff scoring with 10 points in eight games. Read more

GREYHOUNDS’ HOWDESHELL SIGNS AHL CONTRACT WITH TUCSON:
Soo Greyhounds overage forward Keeghan Howdeshell has signed a one-year AHL contract with the Tucson Roadrunners. The 21-year-old Howdeshell recorded a team-leading 46 goals and 31 assists for a total of 77 points in 66 games while serving as an alternate captain with the Soo Greyhounds this past season. The 6-foot-2, 207-pound native of Brighton, MI totaled 62 goals and 51 assists for a total of 113 points in 127 games in two seasons with the Hounds. Read more

TOP SELECTIONS MATIER, BECK AND SIRIZZOTTI COMMIT TO 67’s:
The Ottawa 67’s have received commitments from top 2019 OHL Priority Selection choices Jack Matier, Jack Beck and Brenden Sirizzotti. The trio skated at the club’s Spring Development Camp this past weekend. Matier was Ottawa’s first round (21st overall) pick from the Soo Thunderbirds Midgets while Beck of the Toronto Marlboros and Sirizzotti of the Whitby Wildcats were chosen 31st and 32nd overall respectively in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. Read more

TEDDY SAWYER COMMITS TO 67’s:
The Ottawa 67’s have received a commitment from 2019 third round selection Teddy Sawyer. Sawyer, a 6-foot, 165-pound left-handed defenceman, most recently played for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite U15 and U16 teams this past year, racking up 19 points in 51 total games in both age groups.  The Lewis Centre, Pennsylvania native had three goals and 14 assists for 17 points in 20 games for the U15 team. Read more

RYAN WINTERTON COMMITS TO BULLDOGS:
The Hamilton Bulldogs have received a commitment from 2019 first round (8th overall) selection Ryan Winterton. Winterton, a 6-foot, 160lb, centre put up 72 points (38 goals, 34 assists) in 36 games this past season for the Whitby Wildcats Minor Midgets. He also scored twice and added three assists in four games at the 2019 OHL Cup. Read more

LANDON McCALLUM COMMITS TO WOLVES:
The Sudbury Wolves have received a commitment from 2019 first round selection Landon McCallum. The 5-foot-10, 154lb centre was selected by the Wolves 15th overall in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection. The Simcoe, Ont. native played last season for the ALLIANCE champion Brantford 99ers where he had 17 goals and 32 assists in 31 games. Read more

AIDAN CAMPBELL COMMITS TO OTTERS:
The Erie Otters have received a commitment from 2018 12th round pick and USA Hockey 16U national champion Aidan Campbell. The Cranberry Township, Pennsylvania native most recently anchored the net for the Pittsburgh Penguins Elite 16U at the Chipotle-USA Hockey Youth Tier I 16U National Championship, where he stopped 26 of 27 shots in the championship game to help the Penguins Elite capture the 2019 national title. Read more

DANNY ZHILKIN COMMITS TO STORM:
The Guelph Storm have received a commitment from 2019 first round pick Danny Zhilkin. Chosen 14th overall in the OHL Priority Selection, the 6-foot-1, 185lb centre spent the 2018-19 season with the Toronto Marlboros producing 53 points in 63 games. He was also a member of Team Ontario at the 2019 Canada Winter Games in Red Deer earning a silver medal. Born in Russia, Zhilkin and his family relocated to Canada when he was six years old. Read more

FOUR OHL CLUBS HOST SPRING DEVELOPMENT CAMPS:
OHL Priority Selection and Under-18 Priority Selection picks and prospects will assemble in four OHL communities this weekend. Spring Development Camps give teams an opportunity to meet the newest members of their organization. Visit the following links for more information on upcoming camps: Kitchener / London / Mississauga / Oshawa.

RANGERS’ BIENKOWSKI NAMED AS ONE OF 2019 WATERLOO REGION HALL OF FAME INDUCTEES:
Kitchener Rangers Chief Operating Officer & Governor Steve Bienkowski is one of eight names on the Waterloo Region Hall of Fame’s class of 2019, being recognized for his contributions to the community at large. A former Rangers netminder who won an OHL Championship with the Blueshirts in 1981, Bienkowski is a two-time recipient of the OHL’s Executive of the Year Award, claiming the honour in both 2002-03 and 2011-12. Read more

2019 OHL COACHES CONFERENCE SET FOR JUNE 1ST IN OSHAWA:
The 6th annual OHL Coaches Conference will take place Saturday June 1st on the campus of UOIT in Oshawa, Ont. Confirmed speakers for the upcoming event include Toronto Marlies head coach and 2018 Calder Cup champion Sheldon Keefe, Providence Bruins assistant coach Ryan Mougenel as well as Saginaw Spirit head coach Chris Lazary. For full details on the 2019 OHL Coaches Conference, click here.

4TH ANNUAL OHL ALUMNI ASSOCIATION GOLF TOURNAMENT DETAILS:
The OHL Alumni Association is pleased to announce the 4th annual OHL Alumni Golf Classic will take place on Monday June 3, 2019, at Devil’s Pulpit. The OHL Alumni Golf Classic, hosted by the OHL Alumni Association, is the one of several networking events focused on bringing together former players from all generations.  Proceeds from this year’s tournament will be donated to the Steve Ludzik Foundation, which helps patients in the Niagara Region living with Parkinson’s disease. Read more

2019 MEMORIAL CUP PRESENTED BY KIA SINGLE GAME TICKETS NOW ON SALE:
The 2019 Memorial Cup Presented by Kia host committee is excited to announce that individual tickets are now on sale. Prices range from just $35 to $60 for round-robin games and $50 to $75 for the semi-final and championship final. Tickets will be available at the Ticket Atlantic Box Office, online at TicketAtlantic.com, select Superstore outlets or by phone at 902-451-1221. For full details visit chlmemorialcup.ca.

 

ALUMNI NOTES:

Foligno, Lehner, Thornton named finalists for Bill Masterton Trophy: Three OHL graduates recognized for their perseverance and dedication to hockey have been nominated for the NHL’s 2019 Bill Masterton Memorial Trophy. Sudbury Wolves graduate Nick Foligno of the Columbus Blue Jackets joins a pair of Soo Greyhounds alumni in New York Islanders goaltender Robin Lehner and San Jose Sharks veteran Joe Thornton in being nominated for the annual award. Foligno helped the Jackets clinch a playoff berth for the third straight year while simultaneously attending to health issues affecting two of his three young children. Lehner put in his best NHL season to date while also revealing past struggles with addiction and mental health issues in a self-penned article for The Athletic during training camp. Thornton overcame two major injuries including a torn ACL and MCL in both his left knee and right knee in past seasons. For more on these stories visit NHL.com. 

96 past and present OHL players competing in Calder Cup Playoffs: A total of 96 past and present OHL players are chasing the Calder Cup as the AHL Playoffs got underway this past week. At total of nine players who suited up in the OHL this past season have joined AHL clubs for the postseason while 14 on the list played in the OHL during the 2017-18 season. The defending champion Toronto Marlies lead all clubs with 11 OHL names on their roster. Full list

Verhaeghe claims John B. Sollenberger Trophy: Niagara IceDogs graduate Carter Verhaeghe of the Syracuse Crunch has claimed the John B. Sollenberger Trophy as the AHL’s leading scorer. Verhaeghe led all players with 82 points (34-48–82) over 76 games, finishing tied with Crunch teammate Alex Barre-Boulet for the league’s goal-scoring title. The 23-year-old native of Waterdown, Ont. completed his fourth professional season following a four-year OHL career spent entirely in Niagara where he amassed 224 points (83-141–224) over 262 career regular season games. Verhaeghe was a third round pick of the Toronto Maple Leafs in 2013.

Nedeljkovic earns Baz Bastien Award as AHL Goaltender of the Year: Niagara IceDogs graduate Alex Nedeljkovic is the 2019 AHL Goaltender of the Year. Named a 2018-19 First Team AHL All-Star last week, Nedeljkovic (34-9-5) led the AHL in victories, goals-against average (2.26) and minutes played (2,917) while helping Charlotte to the best record in the league. Nedeljkovic posted a career-best .916 save percentage and registered four shutouts as the Checkers finished with the AHL’s second-ranked defense and top-ranked penalty killing unit. The 23-year-old from Parma, Ohio was OHL Goaltender of the Year in 2014. He played four seasons between Plymouth, Flint, and Niagara from 2012-16, going 89-77-8-12 with a 2.88 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 191 career regular season games. Nedeljkovic was Carolina’s second round pick in 2014.

Pasquale receives Harry “Hap” Holmes Award: Saginaw Spirit graduate Eddie Pasquale has earned the Harry “Hap” Holmes Award as the goaltender of the AHL team with the fewest goals-against per game during the regular season. Pasquale made a career-high 45 appearances with the Syracuse Crunch this season, posting a 27-12-6 record, 2.35 goals-against average and a .916 save percentage with four shutouts. The 28-year-old from Toronto, Ont. won a Calder Cup with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2017 and has played in parts of eight AHL seasons. He played parts of four seasons between Saginaw and Belleville from 2006-10, going 75-48-6-7 with a 3.11 goals-against average and .911 save percentage in 142 career regular season games. He appeared in three NHL games this season with the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Vellucci named AHL Coach of the Year: Former two-time OHL Coach of the Year Mike Vellucci has earned the Louis A.R. Pieri Award as the AHL’s top coach for 2018-19. The award is cited on by fellow coaches and members of the media in each of the league’s 31 cities. Under Vellucci’s guidance, the Charlotte Checkers had their most successful regular season ever, finishing with a league-best record of 51-17-7-1. The 52-year-old native of Farmington Hills, Mich. finished his second season as head coach of the Checkers and is in his fifth year as assistant general manager and director of hockey operations of the Carolina Hurricanes. Vellucci coached the Plymouth Whalers to an OHL Championship in 2007, spending a total of 14 years behind the bench with the franchise. Vellucci also played three seasons with the OHL’s Belleville Bulls from 1983-86 before embarking on a professional playing career.

Parks earns SPHL Goaltender of the Year honours: Saginaw Spirit graduate Mavric Parks has been named the 2019 SPHL Goaltender of the Year. The Birmingham Bulls netminder backstopped his team to its first-ever playoff berth, earning 30 wins while posting six shutouts, a 2.28 goals-against average and a .933 save percentage. The 28-year-old native of Eganville, Ont. wrapped up his third season of professional hockey following a five-year tenure at the University of Prince Edward Island. Parks played four OHL seasons between Kitchener, Kingston, Barrie and Saginaw from 2007-11, going 84-61-5-6 with a 3.20 goals-against average, .908 save percentage and six shutouts over 170 regular season games.

 

SCHEDULE:

Saturday April 20th:
Oshawa at Ottawa – 2:00pm (Game 2)
Guelph at Saginaw – 7:05 (Game 2)

Sunday April 21st:
Ottawa at Oshawa – 6:05pm (Game 3)

Monday April 22nd:
Saginaw at Guelph – 7:00pm (Game 3)

 

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 2019 OHL Playoffs.  Powered by NeuLion, OHL Live provides coverage of all 20 teams in the OHL delivering all games throughout the regular season and playoffs.

Single Round Team Pass Home and Away: $25.99
Playoff All Access : $79.99

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