The OHL Weekend Notebook recaps the weekend that was with news, information and interesting facts from both on and off the ice. Here are 10 of the leading stories from the third weekend of 2019-20 OHL action.
MacLean and Noel return as Generals climb to 7-0
The Oshawa Generals are the talk of the OHL going 3-0 in a weekend three-in-three with wins over North Bay, Hamilton and Saginaw. Their 7-0 record is the best in the Canadian Hockey League as they’re the last of the CHL’s 60 teams to remain undefeated in 2019-20.
Florida Panthers prospect Serron Noel made an immediate impact in his return from suspension, recording five points (3-2–5) over two games. The 6-foot-6 winger scored a pair of third period goals, earning first star of the game on Sunday night as the Generals pulled away from visiting Saginaw in 4-3 victory.
Generals captain Kyle MacLean returned to the lineup on Sunday. The overage winger signed an AHL contract with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers this past summer but was returned to Oshawa this past week with an influx of players clearing NHL waivers through the New York Islanders organization.
Lastly, another MacLean in recent goaltending pickup Andrew MacLean is 6-0 in his brief tenure with the Oshawa Generals, posting a 2.32 goals-against average and .920 save percentage. The 18-year-old went 11-12-0-1 in 32 games with the Owen Sound Attack last season.
Byfield leads scoring race as Wolves keep winning
The Sudbury Wolves have won five in a row and top 2020 NHL Draft prospect Quinton Byfield continues to lead the OHL in scoring.
The 17-year-old Byfield put up four points in Friday’s 9-6 win over the Peterborough Petes before the Wolves won again on Saturday, taking a 4-3 road win over the northern rival Soo Greyhounds. Byfield leads the way with 16 points (7-9–16) over seven games this season.
Perhaps Sudbury’s top performer this past weekend was former first overall OHL Priority Selection choice David Levin who had seven points (1-6–7) over the two wins, scoring the game winner on Saturday. Levin, who attended Training Camp with the Arizona Coyotes last month, has 11 points (2-9–11) through four contests after missing the first few games of the season to injury.
Also worth mentioning, 2019 second round selection Chase Stillman recorded his first career OHL hat-trick in Friday night’s victory.
Firebirds set franchise record with four straight wins
The Flint Firebirds had strung together a few three-game winning streaks, but Friday’s 4-3 overtime win in Guelph sealed a first for them as they locked down their fourth straight victory.
Defenceman Riley McCourt scored the overtime winner as the Firebirds improved to 4-1-0-0 out of the gate. They fell to the Owen Sound Attack by a score of 7-3 on Sunday to put an end to their run of success, but it’s been a productive start to the season for Flint nonetheless.
Belarusian rookie and fifth overall CHL Import Draft selection Evgeniy Oksentyuk has been as advertised, leading the Firebirds in scoring with eight points (3-5–8) through his first six games of the season.
Rookies Brochu and Campbell win three straight starts
London Knights rookie goaltender Brett Brochu doesn’t appear to be having too much difficulty making the jump from Jr. C to the OHL.
The 17-year-old from Tilbury, Ont. has won three consecutive starts for London, stopping 71 of the 76 shots he’s faced while registering his first career OHL shutout in the process.
Brochu was named the PJHL Stobbs Division Rookie of the Year last season, going 27-11-0 with a 2.46 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in 38 contests with the Dresden Kings. He was London’s sixth round pick in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection.
Additionally, Erie Otters rookie Aidan Campbell is off to a 3-0 start as well. The 6-foot-5 native of Cranberry Twp., Penn. was Erie’s 12th round pick in 2018 and was recently assigned a ‘B’ rating by NHL Central Scouting on their October ‘Players to Watch’ List.
Tomasino, Sopa and Thomas form dangerous power play trio
Phil Tomasino, Kyen Sopa and Akil Thomas enjoyed career nights on Friday as the Niagara IceDogs doubled-up the Kingston Frontenacs 8-4 on home ice.
The trio combined for 16 points as Niagara’s power play went 4-for-7. Tomasino, who earned this week’s OHL ‘On the Run’ Player of the Week honours, recorded a franchise record-tying six points including his first career OHL hat-trick while Sopa also scored three, recording a career-high five points. Thomas tied an IceDogs single game assists record with five to his credit, becoming just the second Niagara player to accomplish the feat after former teammate Ben Jones pulled it off in January 2018.
The IceDogs are off to a 3-2-1-1 start to the season and prepare to face Kingston and North Bay next weekend.
Petes holding their own on the road
The Peterborough Petes are over halfway through nine straight on the road to begin the season and holding their own quite well.
The 4-2-0-0 Petes set out for Saginaw, Sarnia and Flint on Wednesday, Friday and Saturday coming off a 4-3 win over the Soo Greyhounds on Sunday afternoon.
A Toronto Maple Leafs prospect tandem has led Peterborough offensively as Semyon Der-Arguchintsev sits second in the OHL with 12 assists to go with 14 points while Nick Robertson leads the team with eight goals for 13 points and is on a six-game goal-scoring streak. Fifth overall OHL Priority Selection choice Mason McTavish is off to a strong start as well, recording seven points (4-3–7) through his first six games.
The Petes host their home opener on Thursday, October 17th against the Hamilton Bulldogs.
Returns of Harley, Isaacson help Steelheads get in the win column
After an 0-4 start, the Mississauga Steelheads got a breath of fresh air this past weekend with consecutive victories over Hamilton and Windsor on home ice.
Dallas Stars prospect Thomas Harley has two points in each of his four games since returning from the NHL club. The 18-year-old has scored in three straight games for the Steelheads who have named him an alternate captain.
Nick Isaacson also returned to the lineup this past weekend after missing a pair of games to injury. Sophomore winger James Hardie scored a pair of goals in Sunday’s 4-3 victory over Windsor. He has four goals on the season after scoring 15 as a rookie.
Steelheads head coach and GM James Richmond earned his 100th career OHL victory on Friday.
Meireles returns, Pinelli keeps producing as Rangers rebound
The Kitchener Rangers rebounded from a rough northern road swing with a pair of victories this past weekend, defeating Owen Sound and Ottawa on home ice.
Florida Panthers prospect and co-captain Greg Meireles returned to the Rangers lineup this past weekend, recording four points (1-3–4) in the two victories.
Francesco Pinelli, the 13th overall pick of the 2019 OHL Priority Selection, scored in both wins, giving him goals in three straight and six through his first six OHL contests.
The captain of the OHL Cup finalist Toronto Red Wings, Pinelli scored 49 goals in his Minor Midget season to go with 114 points over 71 contests.
Solovyov leads the way offensively among blueliners
Saginaw Spirit first-year rearguard Ilya Solovyov leads OHL defencemen with 14 points (1-13–14) through eight games this season.
The 19-year-old native of Mogilev, Belarus was chosen with the 53rd overall pick of the 2019 CHL Import Draft and has slotted into the Spirit lineup, immediately seeing time in all situations. The 6-foot-3, 210Ib defender isn’t drafted by an NHL club, but his early season performance has to be gaining some attention.
Top 2020 NHL Draft prospect Jamie Drysdale of the Erie Otters trails behind Soloyov with 11 points (2-9–11), six of which he has earned in the past three games.
Storm, Steelheads and Bulldogs celebrate IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend
The Guelph Storm, Mississauga Steelheads and Hamilton Bulldogs each welcome members of Canada’s National Women’s Hockey Team to their facilities in celebration of IIHF World Girls’ Ice Hockey Weekend.
The Storm had defenceman Renata Fast in to conduct the ceremonial faceoff on Friday while the Hamilton Bulldogs welcomed locally-based National Team members Sarah Nurse and Laura Fortino to their games on Saturday and Sunday. Former Olympic gold and silver medalist Natalie Spooner celebrated the weekend with the Mississauga Steelheads on Sunday.