Here are the OHL's Eastern Conference Power Rankings for this week. This is an estimate of where the teams will be placed in the rankings based on their performances this past weekend, as well as the upcoming teams they will be facing this week.
1. Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors – The Majors were expected to lead the Eastern Conference this season, and although they had one tough loss, they went 2-0 this past weekend and have a total record of 5-1-0-0 to lead the conference with 10 points. The explosive offense is only getting better as Justin Shugg is getting more comfortable with the team, and the big guns are beginning to produce. This team should stay in first through the upcoming weekend as they face the Sault St. Marie Greyhounds and the struggling Sudbury Wolves. 2. Ottawa 67’s – The 67’s move up yet again after going 3-0 over the weekend. With a powerful 7-2 victory last Sunday against the Mississauga Majors, the 67’s continued their streak with wins over the Plymouth Whalers and the top seeding Oshawa Generals. Like I said last week, with all of this teams major pieces returned, Ottawa will be a force to recon with in the Eastern Conference this season, and really give the Majors trouble.
3. Niagara IceDogs – Although tied with the Brampton Battalion for nine points in the Central Division, the IceDogs were victorious in both of their weekend games, and are 2-0-1-0 in their last three, earning them a move up. The IceDogs have a solid team, and with all of the recent acquisitions, Niagara has proven they can roll three lines of legit scoring. They face the struggling Belleville Bulls Wednesday night, before returning home to host a tough two games with the Oshawa Generals an Ottawa 67’s. If the Dogs are successful in their next three, it could finally prove they are legit contenders in the east this season. 4. Oshawa Generals – Going 1-1-1 in their past three, the Gens calmed down a bit after starting off with a 4-0 undefeated record in their first four games. The Gens still have a powerful team, which is why I ranked them ahead of the Brampton Battalion, who finished the weekend with the same record, but have one more game played. The Gens are expected to do well this year, but they fall to fourth this week, which is where about they should remain throughout the season. 5. Brampton Battalion – I can’t say this team didn’t surprise me. I had them ranked 6th last week because I couldn’t see them continuing to win games, but after going 4-2-0-1 in their last seven, this young, underrated team has proven they can keep up with the rest of them. However, Brampton’s recent streak is 0-1-0-1, so I have to place them in 5th because they did defeat the Kingston Frontenacs, but lost to Mississauga and had a worse weekend then any of the teams above. However, the Battalion should not be passed over as a dangerous opponent in the Central Division, and could very well continue to surprise. 6. Kingston Frontenacs – Moving down after going 1-0-1-0 this past weekend. Although they just received back their keynote defenseman Erik Gudbranson, the Fronts started off with a bit of struggle, but have shown they can get it together after battling through some intense games over the weekend. The Fronts really do have a plethora of firepower up front, with Nathan Moon, Ethan Werek, and Michael Fine leading the way each scoring 9 or more points in seven games. The back-end could also be one of the best in the league, and the Fronts have the ability to recover from their shaky start and begin winning games, but move down to 6th after a loss to the Brampton Battalion this weekend. 7. Belleville Bulls – The Bulls picked up a 4-3 win over the Sarnia Sting this weekend, giving them a 2-5 record on the season and 4 points to slightly edge the Sudbury Wolves in the standings. The Bulls could easily fit into a rank grouping with the Wolves and the Petes, but this week they move up a spot due to their hard-fought win.
8. Sudbury Wolves – The Wolves move down a spot because of their 0-1-1-0 weekend. They showed some spark in their OT loss to Niagara, however, the Wolves are missing something that will keep them in the ladder half of the standings for the remainder of the season.
9. Peterborough Petes - This one is a bit of a shocker to me. The Petes move down a spot after loosing two in a row and only winning one game on the season. They seem to have a lot of the tools to be legitimate competitors - last season’s rookie of the year Matt Puempel leads the scoring front backed up by Ryan Spooner and Austin Watson, while housing what I thought was a decent backend… Something is wrong in Peterborough, and they’ll sit in the bottom three until they figure out how to fix whatever problem they seem to be having.
10. Barrie Colts – Not much needs to be said here. It’s unfortunate for Barrie, but no surprise as last year they traded away some youth to pick up experience in efforts to make a run at the Memorial Cup. When that happens, rebuilding is the next step. The Colts have a young team with lots of potential talent, but won’t have a shot at moving up in the ranks any time soon.