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OHL This Week: February 7 to 10, 2019

 

The first February instalment of the OHL This Week takes a look at what’s happening across the league.

KNIGHTS, 67’s, AND ICEDOGS INCLUDED IN KIA CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS:
The London Knights (3), Ottawa 67’s (4), and Niagara IceDogs (10) remain in the Week 20 edition of the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings while the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds receive an honourable mention. Full Rankings

RANGERS’ DAMIANI NAMED OHL ‘ON THE RUN’ PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Dallas Stars prospect Riley Damiani of the Kitchener Rangers is the OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week for the regular season week ending February 3 with nine points in three games scoring four goals and five assists with a plus-minus rating of plus-8. Damiani led the league in scoring last week while helping the Rangers earn four of a possible six points as they jostle for position in the Western Conference standings. Read more

COLTS’ GREAVES NAMED VAUGHN CHL GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK:
NHL Draft hopeful Jet Greaves of the Barrie Colts is the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the regular season week ending February 3rd. Greaves claims the honour for the first time this season stopping 100 shots in two games last week in back-to-back 50-save efforts to help the Colts improve to 21-25-2-1 on the season. Read more

GENERALS’ KEYSER REPRESENTS OHL IN CIBC SHOWDOWN:
Oshawa Generals goaltender Kyle Keyser is this week’s OHL representative in CIBC Showdown, a weekly feature that allows fans across the CHL to vote for their favourite play across all three leagues. Watch & Vote

WAWANESA OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK:
The 19th edition of the Wawanesa OHL Plays of the Week for the 2018-19 season feature a collection of the league’s Top-5 goals during the week ending February 3. This week’s highlights include Akil Thomas of the Niagara IceDogs with a diving sweep that goes top shelf, rookie Cole Perfetti looking like a penalty shot pro, defenceman Ryan Merkley who works his magic from the point for the Peterborough Petes, Adam Boqvist of the London Knights splitting the D with speed on his coast-to-coast rush, and Aidan Dudas of the Owen Sound Attack with a wicked shorthanded curl and drag. Watch

FANTASTIC START TO FEBRUARY IN JANES SAVES OF THE WEEK:
A fantastic start to February illustrated in the latest OHL edition of #JanesSaves. Featured this week is Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Luke Cavallin of the Flint Firebirds, Hunter Jones of the Peterborough Petes, Stephen Dhillon of the Niagara IceDogs, Jet Greaves of the Barrie Colts, Colton Incze of the Windsor Spitfires, Kyle Keyser of the Oshawa Generals, and Ethan Langevin of the Sarnia Sting. Watch

COOME, SUPRYKA, TERRY, PYTLIK HEADLINE OHL MILESTONE MOMENTS: 
Defencemen Riley Coome of the London Knights, Cameron Supryka of the Hamilton Bulldogs and Zack Terry of the Guelph Storm join forward Jaromir Pytlik of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in scoring their first career OHL goals this past week. Watch

OHL CUP POWERED BY UNDER ARMOUR TOP 10 RANKINGS – WEEK 12:
The Don Mills Flyers continue to lead the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Top 10 in Week 12 while the Toronto Young Nationals rise one spot to number two on the list. The third-ranked Toronto Marlboros are the latest team to clinch an OHL Cup berth, reaching the GTHL Semi-Finals with a 9-1 series triumph over the Mississauga Senators. The Sudbury Minor Midget Wolves, Kitchener Jr. Rangers, Mississauga Rebels and York-Simcoe Express are also on the rise while the Guelph Gryphons make their season debut in the honourable mention category. Full Rankings

ROAD TO THE 2019 OHL CUP POWERED BY UNDER ARMOUR: GTHL SEMI-FINALS UNDERWAY:
The Don Mills Flyers, Toronto Nationals, Toronto Marlboros and Toronto Red Wings have all secured a spot at the 2019 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour. The first installment of the Road to the OHL Cup takes a closer look at the GTHL, a perennial producer of some of the OHL’s top young talent. Read more at OHLCup.ca.

OHL MOURNS THE LOSS OF ANDRÉ BOUDRIAS:
The OHL family is deeply saddened by the loss of André Boudrias, a former member of the OHA’s Montreal Junior Canadiens who passed away on Tuesday. Best known as one of the early faces of the Vancouver Canucks franchise, Boudrias enjoyed a nine-year NHL career before a two-year stint in the WHA where he won a league championship with the Québec Nordiques in 1977. He was the first ever two-time recipient of the Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy awarded to the league’s top scorer. Read more

COLTS’ HAWERCHUK EARNS 300TH CAREER WIN:
Dale Hawerchuk was behind the bench for his 300th career victory on Saturday as rookie netminder Jet Greaves backstopped the Barrie Colts past the Mississauga Steelheads 3-1, turning aside 50 shots for the second straight night. Hawerchuk becomes the 19th member of the OHL’s 300-win club, recently surpassing former Windsor Spitfires coaches Tom Webster (295) and Bob Boughner (282) on the league’s all-time list. Read more

67’s’ DiPIETRO JOINS CANUCKS ON EMERGENCY BASIS:
The Vancouver Canucks summoned prospect Michael DiPietro of the Ottawa 67’s for Tuesday’s game in Washington on an emergency basis. An injury to goaltender Thatcher Demko prompted the Canucks to recall DiPietro, who backed-up Jakob Markstrom in the 3-2 road loss. The reigning OHL Goaltender of the Year, DiPietro owns an 18-10-0-1 record with a 2.46 goals-against average, .913 save percentage and two shutouts through 30 games between Ottawa and Windsor this season. Read more

GEORGE DIACO COMMITS TO BULLDOGS:
The Hamilton Bulldogs have received a commitment from 2018 sixth round selection George Diaco. Diaco is currently playing with the London Nationals of the GOJHL where he has recorded 35 points (13 goals and 22 assists) in 40 games which leads the way among all U17 aged skaters. After the London native was drafted by the Bulldogs last Spring, he went on to play in the 2018 OHL Gold Cup in May and then in July took part in Hockey Canada’s National Men’s Summer Under 17 Development Camp in Calgary. Read more

OTTERS, STEELHEADS GAME RESCHEDULED FOR MARCH 12TH:
The Erie Otters and host Mississauga Steelheads have rescheduled their previously postponed game for Tuesday March 12th at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre beginning at 7:00pm.

JOB POSTING – OHL DIRECTOR OF PLAYER RECRUITMENT:
The Ontario Hockey League has an immediate opening for the position of OHL Director of Player Recruitment. The successful candidate should possess extensive hockey knowledge; excellent communication and presentation qualities; strong computer skills.  Recruitment experience would be an asset. Details

WHEN HOCKEY AND POPULAR CULTURE COLLIDE:
The worlds of sport and popular culture have always found a way to intersect. Hockey specifically has been no different. The Hockey in Popular Culture Exhibit at the Hockey Hall of Fame shines a light on some of the ways that hockey has crossed over into popular culture throughout the years, offering a one-of-a-kind glimpse at the way our game has been depicted in film, television, music, literature and more. Read more

 

COMMUNITY CORNER:

CMHA vists 10 OHL cities this week: February is Mental Health Awareness Month in the OHL and our friends at the Canadian Mental Health Association will be paying a visit to all 20 cities. The awareness campaign is part of the ongoing commitment by OHL clubs, local CMHA Ontario Branches, and presenting sponsor Teachers Life, to implement Talk Today.  Launched in October 2014, Talk Today provides mental health support to players and raises awareness about mental health and suicide throughout OHL communities. This week’s tour stops include Erie, North Bay, Peterborough, Windsor, Guelph, Mississauga, Barrie, Hamilton, Saginaw and Sudbury. Full Schedule

Petes to play 2000th home game on Thursday: A storied OHL franchise, the Peterborough Petes will play their 2000th regular season home game on Thursday when the Ottawa 67’s visit the PMC. The good folks from the Kawartha Sexual Assault Centre will be in the building as part of the OHL Onside initiative while it’s also CMHA Talk Today Night in Peterborough. Visit gopetesgo.com for full coverage of this weekend’s events.

Frontenacs host Hockey Jersey Night on Friday: The Kingston Frontenacs are inviting fans to wear their favourite hockey jersey to the rink on Friday when they play host to the Peterborough Petes. Get in on the fun and wear your favourite threads from any era!

REACH. Shoot. Score! this Saturday at the Bayshore: The Owen Sound Attack are excited to host the second annual REACH. Shoot. Score. charity game in support of the REACH Centre of Grey/Bruce. Saturday’s home game against the Kingston Frontenacs will be a fundraising effort for the REACH Centre of Grey/Bruce as the Attack will wear specially designed theme jerseys to be auctioned off post-game. For full details on Saturday’s event visit attackhockey.com.

Steelheads excited for Pucks N’ Paws event: The Mississauga Steelheads will host a special Pucks N’ Paws Game on Sunday afternoon at home to the Windsor Spitfires. The Steelheads are inviting fans to bring their dog to the game! There will be a number of animal wellness, rescue and retail vendors on site. For full details on Sunday’s event, visit mississaugasteelheads.com.

Finnish Day in Sudbury on Sunday: The Sudbury Wolves will welcome Finlandia Village and the Sudbury Finnish community to Sunday’s game against the Niagara IceDogs. The first 1000 fans into the building will receive a limited edition Ukko-Pekka Luukkonen Finnish flag. For the full rundown on the upcoming weekend in Sudbury, visit sudburywolves.com.

Over $80,000 raised in 10th Annual Petes Pink in the Rink Game: The Peterborough Petes have announced that they, along with their devoted fans, raised over $80,000 through the tenth annual Pink in the Rink Game on Saturday. This year’s effort brings the event’s ten-year fundraising total to over $697,000. Read more

Spirit teams-up with local partners to raise over $650,000 for heart health in the Great Lakes Bay Region: The Saginaw Spirit has proudly partnered with Pulse3 Foundation and Mobile Medical Response for the past 12 years to host the annual Shocks and Saves® Charity Game held at The Dow Event Center in Saginaw, MI. This event funds Pulse3 Foundation’s AED Grant Program which annually awards Automated External Defibrillators and provides free training to local non-profit organizations throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region and Thumb. Since 2008, this event has raised over $650,000, allowing the placement of 220 AED’s throughout the Great Lakes Bay Region and Thumb. In that time, those AED’s have saved a total of 11 lives of people experiencing cardiac arrest in the community. Read more

 

ALUMNI NOTES:

Burns ties NHL record for most overtime goals by a defenceman: Brampton Battalion graduate Brent Burns tied an NHL record on Saturday, scoring the 13th overtime goal of his NHL career to tie Scott Niedermayer for the most by a defenceman in league history. Burns’ winner pushed the San Jose Sharks past the Arizona Coyotes 3-2. The 6-foot-4, 235Ib defender has 58 points (10-48–58) through 54 games this season. The 33-year-old from Barrie, Ont. is in his 14th NHL season and was the NHL’s Norris Trophy winner in 2017. Burns spent the 2002-03 season with the Brampton Battalion and also won silver with Canada at the 2004 World Juniors. He was Minnesota’s first round pick in the 2003 NHL Draft.

Maurice coaches 1,500th NHL game: Former two-time OHL champion Paul Maurice became the youngest coach in NHL history to coach his 1,500th career regular season game on Tuesday. Maurice is the sixth coach in NHL history to reach the mark, joining other names with OHL roots in Scotty Bowman and Joel Quenneville at the top of the all-time list. Maurice played four seasons in the OHL before winning a title as an assistant coach with the Windsor Spitfires in 1988. He hoisted the Robertson Cup as head coach of the Detroit Jr. Red Wings in 1995. Read more

Verhaeghe named AHL Player of the Week: Niagara IceDogs graduate Carter Verhaeghe of the Syracuse Crunch is the AHL Player of the Week after recording two goals, four assists and six points over two games. A fourth-year pro, Verhaeghe now ranks second in AHL scoring with 54 points (22-32–54) over 43 games. The 23-year-old Waterdown, Ont. native has increased his offensive production every year, and has totaled 61 goals and 86 assists for 147 points in 178 career AHL games with Syracuse, Bridgeport and Toronto. Verhaeghe spent four seasons in Niagara from 2011-15, graduating as the team’s captain while collecting 224 points (83-141–224) over 262 career regular season games. He was Toronto’s third round pick in 2013.

Nedeljkovic named AHL Goaltender of the Month: Niagara IceDogs graduate Alex Nedeljkovic has been named the AHL Goaltender of the Month for January after playing to a 6-0-0 record in seven appearances with the Charlotte Checkers, allowing 12 goals on 189 shots for a 1.78 goals-against average and a .937 save percentage with two shutouts. The 23-year-old native of Parma, Ohio also made his first career NHL start on Jan. 23 and stopped 24 shots in the Carolina Hurricanes’ 5-2 win at Vancouver. The OHL’s Goaltender of the Year in 2014, Nedeljkovic played four OHL seasons between Plymouth and Niagara, finishing with a record of 89-77-8-12 with a 2.88 goals-against average, .918 save percentage and 10 shutouts over 191 regular season games. He was Carolina’s second round pick in 2014.

Smith tells kids it’s about hockey, not colour: Kitchener Rangers graduate Givani Smith is sharing his story as a player of colour in the pro ranks. The Grand Rapids Griffins forward and Detroit Red Wings prospect spoke to about 50 parents and kids, most of them African-American, at a dinner put on through the Griffins Youth Foundation. It’s part of Black History Month which, for the first time, is being recognized by the NHL. Smith recently wrapped up a four-year OHL career spent between Barrie, Guelph and Kitchener that included 135 points (73-62–135) over 236 regular season games. The 20-year-old was a second round pick of Detroit in 2016. Peter Wallner has the full story at MLive.com.

Helvig named ECHL Rookie of the Month: Kingston Frontenacs graduate Jeremy Helvig of the Florida Everblades has been named the ECHL Rookie of the Month for January. Helvig went 6-0-0 with three shutouts, a 1.22 goals-against average and a save percentage of .954 in seven appearances during the month. The 21-year-old allowed two goals or less in six appearances and made at least 24 saves four times. Carolina’s fifth round pick in 2016, Helvig is 15-3-3 in 22 appearances with the Everblades this season and ranks third in the ECHL with a 2.16 goals-against average. He is on a personal 12-game winning streak dating back to Dec. 5, which is tied for the fourth-longest streak in ECHL history. Helvig wrapped up a four-year OHL career last season, finishing as the Frontenacs’ career leader in wins (81) and shutouts (10).

McFarland announces retirement: Former first overall OHL Priority Selection choice John McFarland has announced his retirement from hockey. The 26-year-old had split this season between the AHL’s Bakersfield Condors and the ECHL’s Wichita Thunder. The Richmond Hill, Ont. native appeared in three NHL games with the Florida Panthers during the 2015-16 season after being a second round pick by the club in 2010. McFarland played four seasons in the OHL between Sudbury, Saginaw and Ottawa from 2008-12, recording 190 points (90-100–190) over 219 career regular season games.

Opilka accepts coaching job at Maryville University: Kitchener Rangers graduate Luke Opilka has transitioned from the crease into a coaching role at Maryville University. The 21-year-old from St. Louis, Mo. recently announced his retirement from the game following a string of hip injuries and has taken on an assistant coaching position at the ACHA Division II school. Opilka played two seasons in Kitchener from 2015-17 and was a fifth round choice of St. Louis in 2015.

CHL Leaders – Ryan Lindsay reflects on life after hockey: Former Oshawa Generals captain Ryan Lindsay highlights the value of education after hockey as part of Junior Hockey Magazine’s CHL Leaders segment. Lindsay has shifted to the business world as a managing partner with All-Risks Insurance Brokers, an opportunity that became possible thanks in part to his time at the University of New Brunswick, where he received a Bachelor of Arts degree while still lacing up for the Atlantic University Sport hockey team. Read more

CHL Leaders – Adam Campbell’s shift from the blue line to the financial world: The strong relationships Adam Campbell formed over his five seasons in the OHL helped attract clients to his wealth management business. The Barrie, Ont., native, who suited up for the Ontario Hockey League’s Owen Sound Platers, Sarnia Sting, and Guelph Storm from 1996 to 2001, now runs his own company, Campbell Management Group, which specializes in financial administration for current and former NHL players. Read more

 

KEY MATCHUPS:

Windsor Spitfires (21-27-3-1) vs. Erie Otters (20-28-1-1)
Saturday February 9th at Erie

Two teams that have struggled in recent weeks, the Windsor Spitfires and Erie Otters are locked up in a battle for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference. The two teams meet in Erie on Saturday as the Spits try and build on their four-point cushion on eighth place.

Windsor’s youth has been the story this season as the rookie tandem of Jean-Luc Foudy and Will Cuylle continues to turn heads while sophomore winger Daniel D’Amico leads the team in scoring with 43 points (21-22–43) over 51 games.

The Otters look to rebound from an 8-4 loss to Kitchener on Wednesday as they host Oshawa on Friday before the Spitfires visit on Saturday. Rookie defenceman Jamie Drysdale continues to see plenty of ice on the Otters blue line while third-year veteran Gera Poddubnyi leads the team offensively.

The Otters have taken two of three from Windsor this season but the Spits prevailed in their latest encounter, taking a 5-0 win on Jan. 17th.

 

Kitchener Rangers (24-23-3-0) vs. Sarnia Sting (22-23-5-2)
Sunday February 10th at Sarnia

Entering the weekend deadlocked at 51 points apiece, the Kitchener Rangers and Sarnia Sting will meet on Sunday afternoon as both teams look to climb the Western Conference standings. With fifth place Owen Sound having dropped eight of their last 10, both Kitchener and Sarnia have an opportunity to gain ground this weekend.

The Rangers have won seven of their last 10, getting big contributions from Joseph Garreffa who recorded his first OHL hat-trick on Wednesday along with 36-goal scorer Jonathan Yantsis. Rickard Hugg has multi-point performances in seven of his last nine games.

The Sting are riding the eight-game point streak of captain Ryan McGregor as they continue to find ways to create offence. First-year forward Jacob Perreault sits second among OHL rookies with 45 points (25-20–45) over 47 games.

The Rangers have won two of the three prior meetings between the two teams this season.

 

SCHEDULE:

Thursday February 7th:
Oshawa 4 at Hamilton 3 – SO
Mississauga at Niagara – 7:00pm
Flint at North Bay – 7:00pm
Ottawa at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Saginaw at Windsor – 7:05pm
Owen Sound at Barrie – 7:30pm

Friday February 8th:
Oshawa at Erie – 7:00pm
Peterborough at Kingston – 7:00pm
Ottawa at Mississauga – 7:00pm
Flint at Sudbury – 7:05pm
Sarnia at Guelph – 7:30pm
Hamilton at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Owen Sound at London – 7:30pm

Saturday February 9th:
Ottawa at Hamilton – 4:00pm
Windsor at Erie – 7:00pm
London at Saginaw – 7:05pm
Guelph at Sarnia – 7:05pm
Niagara at Sault Ste. Marie – 7:07pm
Flint at Barrie – 7:30pm
Kingston at Owen Sound – 7:30pm

Sunday February 10th:
Kingston at Guelph – 2:00pm
Windsor at Mississauga – 2:00pm
Kitchener at Sarnia – 2:05pm
London at Sault Ste. Marie – 2:07pm
Niagara at Sudbury – 3:05pm
Barrie at Oshawa – 6:05pm

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