As if things weren’t bad enough for the Ottawa 67’s this season, Friday they found out the news that they will be without their co-captain, Sean Monahan, for ten games following a hit last Sunday against the Plymouth Whalers. Late in the game with Ottawa heading towards their seventh straight loss, Monahan would catch Whalers captain Colin MacDonald with an elbow to the head. While Monahan wasn’t penalized on the play, video replay showed clear evidence of Monahan’s elbow making contact with the head of MacDonald. Whether it was intentional or not may be debated, but in today’s OHL, contact to the head is virtually an automatic ten games. The 67’s had to begin a nine game road trip, and found out hours before the first game of the trip that they would be without their top scorer for the entire duration.
The suspension may put Monahan out of the lineup for longer than ten games, however, as by the time his suspension is over, he will be joining the Team Canada orientation camp with hopes of heading to Russia for the World Junior Championships. Should he make the squad, we may not see Sean Monahan return to the OHL until mid-January. The question then, will he still be a member of the Ottawa 67’s, who sit near the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, and may consider moving their top scorer between now and the trade deadline January 10th.
It’s not all bad news for Monahan, however, as earlier in the week, he was named the top draft-eligible prospect in the OHL by Central Scouting in their 2013 Preliminary Rankings for next summer’s NHL Draft. Monahan was followed by Soo defender Darnell Nurse and Windsor’s left-winger Kerby Rychel, with London centres Max Domi and Bo Horvat rounding out the top five skaters. In goal, Mississauga’s Spencer Martin was ranked as the league’s top eligible netminder, while Peterborough’s Michael Guigovaz and Barrie’s Alex Fotinos would complete the top three.
Players Of The Week
Scott Kosmachuk (Guelph Storm) – It was quite the week for Guelph Storm right-winger Scott Kosmachuk, who had a hand in all three of his team’s games this week, helping the Storm to three straight wins. Scott scored a goal in Guelph’s big win in Mississauga Wednesday morning, but was even more impressive over the weekend. Friday night, Kosmachuk would score twice, and add an assist, in the Storm’s victory in Erie, and back at home the following night, Scott would score a hat trick as part of a four-point night, helping the Storm past Ottawa. In three games, Kosmachuk scored six times, and registered eight points, more than any other OHL player over the past week. Add to that a +6 rating, and Scott made our choice easy this week.
Dougie Hamilton (Niagara Icedogs) – Were it not for the NHL Lockout, fans of the Ontario Hockey League would not likely have the privilege of watching Dougie Hamilton play week in and week out, and this week, he was the top defenceman across the league, registering at least a point in all three of Niagara’s games. Friday night, Hamilton registered an assist in an Icedogs victory over Belleville, and he would score a goal as part of three points earned over the final six minutes of the third, and put the final nail in the coffin for Sudbury with the shootout winning goal. Dougie would add another helper on his team’s only goal Sunday, as Niagara lost in Oshawa. With a goal and five points in three games this week, Dougie Hamilton finished tied for the league in points among defenders, and is our choice as the OHLWriters Top Defenceman of the Week.
Garret Sparks (Guelph Storm) – This marks the second time this season that Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Garret Sparks has been named the OHLWriters Goaltender of the Week, as he continues to lead the Guelph Storm in their quest of an OHL Championship. Wednesday morning, while the score was lop-sided, Sparks was excellent nonetheless, stopping all 29 shots Mississauga fired his way in an 8-0 drubbing of the Steelheads. Two days later, Garret would get the win again, this time in Erie, stopping 32 of 34 shots in the victory. In his two contests, Garret would give up just two goals on 63 shots against, winning both games, and earning his third shutout of the season in the process.
OHL Power Rankings
1. London Knights – (Last Week: 3) In what was a familiar sight for most of last season, the London Knights sit atop the OHL Power Rankings, riding an 11-game winning streak to the top of the league. The Knights won three games in as many nights this past week, winning in Sarnia on Thursday night, before their goaltenders, Kevin Bailie and Jake Patterson, would post consecutive shutouts, Bailie at home to Peterborough on Friday, and Patterson Saturday night in Owen Sound. London faces a busy week ahead, playing four games, including a Tuesday night affair in Kitchener. Over the weekend, the Knights play another three-in-three set, hosting Barrie on Friday, Guelph on Saturday, and finishing in Mississauga Sunday afternoon.
2. Owen Sound Attack – (Last Week: 1) After three weeks atop the Power Rankings, the Owen Sound Attack finally blinked this week, and wind up at number two. The Attack would win two out of three contests, and started the week well by defeating Barrie at home on Wednesday night. Saturday, Owen Sound found themselves on the other end of a shutout, losing to the visitors from London. The Attack rebounded with an impressive victory on Sunday afternoon, winning in Mississauga. The road trip continues this week, as Owen Sound plays a three-game weekend away from home, beginning Friday night in Sudbury. A night later, the Attack play in Sault Ste. Marie, and finish up the week with a mid-afternoon game in Saginaw on Sunday.
3. Kitchener Rangers – (Last Week: 5) After an off-week a week ago, the Kitchener Rangers climb back into the top three in the OHL Power Rankings, winning both of their contests over the weekend. Friday night, the Rangers shutout the visitors from Sarnia, and won again a night later in Erie. It should be a tougher week ahead for Kitchener, who play three times, beginning Tuesday night, when they host a high-octane team from London. On Friday night, the Rangers are at home again, this time against Windsor, before finishing the week Saturday in Plymouth.
4. Barrie Colts – (Last Week: 2) Even leading the Eastern Conference isn’t enough to keep the Barrie Colts in the top three of the Power Rankings, as losses in two out of three games sees them fall from two to four this week. Wednesday night, the Colts were shutout in Owen Sound, and, a night later, lost on home ice against Brampton. A win on Saturday night at home to Sault Ste. Marie would salvage two points from a week where more was expected. If the Colts are to turn it around this week and build off of Saturday’s win, they have to do so on the road, playing a pair of weekend games. Thursday night, Barrie plays in Windsor, and the Colts play in London on Friday.
5. Mississauga Steelheads – (Last Week: 4) The Mississauga Steelheads slip a spot this week, but are lucky to remain in the top five, after losing two out of three home games this past week. On Wednesday, the Steelheads were drubbed at home by Guelph, losing 8-0. Mississauga would turn in a better effort on Friday night, defeating Brampton, but were shelled again Sunday afternoon when Owen Sound came to town. The Steelheads look to get back to their winning ways with two big games ahead, both on home ice this week. Friday night, Mississauga plays host to Niagara, before London visits on Sunday afternoon.
6. Niagara IceDogs – (Last Week: 6) The Niagara Icedogs hold firm at number six this week, getting wins in two of three games to keep pace in the Eastern Conference. At home on Friday, the Icedogs defeated Belleville, and staged a dramatic comeback Saturday, coming back from four goals down late to defeat Sudbury in a shootout. Sunday afternoon, Niagara may have run out of gas, losing in Oshawa. This week, the Icedogs have three more games, the first two coming away from St. Catharines. Niagara plays in Belleville on Wednesday and in Mississauga Friday, before returning home to face Brampton Saturday night.
7. Guelph Storm – (Last Week: 12) Wins in all three games sees the Guelph Storm leap five spots this week, as the Storm extend their point-streak to six straight games. Wednesday morning in Mississauga, Guelph was impressive in securing an easy victory, and the Storm returned home for a pair of weekend contests, defeating Erie on Friday, and Ottawa on Saturday. Guelph only plays twice in the coming week, as they host Brampton on Friday night, then travel to London Saturday.
8. Brampton Battalion – (Last Week: 8) While the Brampton Battalion remain at number eight this week in the OHL Power Rankings, another week like this past one is sure to start them on a downward trend. Losses in two out of three games this week have stalled what was an impressive winning streak, which they extended to five on Thursday night in Barrie. From there, losses in Mississauga on Friday and Sunday afternoon, back at home against Sudbury, would set them back in the Eastern Conference standings. The Battalion face a three-game weekend ahead of them, starting Friday night in Guelph. Saturday, Brampton plays in Niagara, then returns home for a Sunday afternoon matchup against Kingston.
9. Plymouth Whalers – (Last Week: 9) By splitting a pair of games over the last week, the Plymouth Whalers didn’t give us enough to move them one way or the other this week in the Power Rankings, and they hold at number nine this week. An impressive shutout victory at home to Windsor on Wednesday was erased when six goals wasn’t enough to defeat Kingston on Friday night. The Whalers have an opportunity to add a few more points to their total in the week ahead, as the play Wednesday night in Erie, then return to Plymouth for games against Ottawa on Friday, and Kitchener on Saturday.
10. Belleville Bulls – (Last Week: 11) Wins in two out of three games is good enough to see the Belleville Bulls up one spot this week, settling in at number ten. They continue to hold their own destiny atop the East Division, and helped their cause this past Thursday with a shootout win in Erie. The next night, the Bulls were stopped in Niagara, but rebounded on Sunday afternoon, without a shutout victory at home to Ottawa. Belleville plays three more games this week, beginning Wednesday, when they host Niagara. The Bulls play in Peterborough on Thursday, and are back at the Yardmen Arena on Saturday night against Kingston.
11. Kingston Frontenacs – (Last Week: 10) The Kingston Frontenacs are down one spot this week, landing at number eleven, but did earn four points from as many road games over the past seven days. Tuesday night, the Fronts were downed in Ottawa, but answered with a big win in Plymouth on Friday night. Saturday, Kingston lost in Saginaw, but much like Friday, the Fronts rebounded again Sunday afternoon, winning in Windsor. Kingston is another team with a three-game weekend ahead of them, as they host Oshawa on Friday before heading out on the road, playing games in Belleville on Saturday, and Brampton Sunday afternoon.
12. Sarnia Sting – (Last Week: 7) The Sarnia Sting continue to drop back down the OHL Power Rankings as quickly as they rose, and are down five spots this week, landing at number twelve after dropping two of three contests. Thursday night, the Sting lost on home ice, defeated by London, and they would lose again a night later, shutout in Kitchener. Saturday, Sarnia answered with a big win back at home, blowing out Peterborough. Looking ahead, the Sting face a three-game weekend which begins at home to Saginaw Friday night. From there, Sarnia heads out on the road for a pair of contests, playing in Peterborough on Saturday, and in Oshawa on Sunday evening.
13. Oshawa Generals – (Last Week: 13) With a pair of wins this week, the Oshawa Generals hold their position at number thirteen this week, and if they can put more wins together this week, can begin to move back up the OHL Power Rankings. Over the weekend, the Generals made the most of their home advantage, defeating Ottawa on Friday night, and Niagara on Sunday afternoon. Oshawa plays three games in the coming week, including a rare Tuesday night contest in Peterborough. Friday, the Generals are in Kingston, then return home for a Sunday evening tilt against Sarnia.
14. Saginaw Spirit – (Last Week: 15) The Saginaw Spirit continue to make a slow ascent up the OHL Power Rankings, climbing another spot this week with wins in two out of three games. Wednesday, the Spirit won in Sault Ste. Marie in overtime, but lost a tight decision in Windsor on Friday night. Saginaw returned home to post another win on Saturday against the visitors from Kingston, and will look to build a winning streak in the week ahead. The Spirit are another of a handful of teams with a three-game weekend coming up, and the Spirit start things off Friday night in Sarnia. Saginaw then returns home for a pair of contests, Saturday against Ottawa, and Sunday against Owen Sound.
15. Windsor Spitfires – (Last Week: 14) For the second week in a row, the Windsor Spitfires are down one spot, ending the week at number fifteen. Over the last week, a victory on home ice Friday night over Saginaw was sandwiched between losses, Wednesday, shutout in Plymouth, and Sunday, defeated at home by Kingston. The Spits need to start building some positive momentum, and have the opportunity with three games this week. Thursday night, Windsor plays host to Barrie, and the following night, play in Kitchener. The Spitfires wrap up the week’s schedule back at home Sunday afternoon, taking on Ottawa.
16. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – (Last Week: 16) No change for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds in the OHL Power Rankings this week, who keep pace in the Western Conference standings with three points in as many games over the last seven days. The Hounds lost an overtime game at home to Saginaw on Wednesday night, but answered by picking up the win Friday night in Sudbury. A night later, the Greyhounds went down to defeat in Barrie, finishing the week with a .500 record. Sault Ste. Marie plays three more home games in the coming week, hosting Sudbury on Wednesday, Erie on Friday, and Owen Sound Saturday.
17. Sudbury Wolves – (Last Week: 17) Much like Sault Ste. Marie ahead of them, the Sudbury Wolves managed to take three points from as many games over the last week, as they fight to remain in the race in the Eastern Conference. Friday night, the Wolves lost at home to Sault Ste. Marie, and a night later, would be helpless as a four-goal lead evaporated in the game’s final six minutes, an eventual shootout loss in Niagara. Sudbury would follow the crushing loss with a solid performance Sunday afternoon, earning a shutout victory in Brampton. Things won’t get any easier for the Wolves, who host Owen Sound on Friday night before Erie visits on Sunday afternoon.
18. Erie Otters – (Last Week: 18) The bottom three of the OHL Power Rankings appear to be getting comfortable, as the Erie Otters remain at number eighteen this week after earning just a single point from three games. On Thursday night, the Otters picked up that point at home, losing a shootout decision against Belleville, but Erie would follow that game with more losses, Friday night in Guelph, and Saturday, back at home against Kitchener. Points will be available for the Otters this week, as they play host to Plymouth on Wednesday night, before travelling to Sault Ste. Marie for a Friday night contest, and ending the weekend in Sudbury on Sunday afternoon.
19. Ottawa 67’s – (Last Week: 19) The Ottawa 67’s remain at number nineteen this week in the OHL Power Rankings, as they would put an end to a long seven-game losing streak and start a new one in the last week. Tuesday night, the 67’s would put aside their recent losing ways, winning at home to Peterborough, but starting a marathon nine-game road trip over the weekend, Ottawa would lose all three of their contests. Friday night, the 67’s lost in Oshawa, and that loss by another in Guelph Saturday, and in Belleville on Sunday afternoon. Ottawa looks ahead at a second straight three-game weekend, which begins Friday night in Plymouth. The 67’s also play weekend games in Saginaw (Saturday) and Windsor (Sunday) as the long trip away from home continues.
20. Peterborough Petes – (Last Week: 20) The Peterborough Petes continue to linger at the bottom of both the OHL standings and the Power Rankings, and things go from bad to worse when you trade for players who’d rather call it a career than report. The Petes lost both of their games over the last week, dropping decisions on the road Friday in London and Saturday in Sarnia. Peterborough returns home this week for three games to try and grab some points, but it won’t be easy, as they host Oshawa on Tuesday night, Belleville on Thursday, and Sarnia to finish the week Saturday night.
The ITO Players of the Week and OHL Power Rankings can be found every week for the rest of the season, right here at OHLWriters.com. Until then, join me on Twitter for conversation anytime, @N24Nicholson.
Anthony Nicholson is the Sports Editor for Toronto News 24 and regular contributor to OHLWriters.com, and can be heard occasionally on ‘In The O... The Radio Show’. Contact Anthony anytime for a conversation by joining him on Twitter, or send mail to firstname.lastname@example.org.
Photo: Scott Kosmachuk has his Guelph Storm right in the thick of the race in the OHL’s tough Western Conference. (Photo Courtesy: Terry Wilson/OHLImages)