It was a bit of a feisty week around the Ontario Hockey League, as the schedule moved into its second full month, most teams are getting a much better idea of what type of team they are, and where they want to be. That said, there were a few questionable hits and decisions made by players around the OHL, which has kept the Commissioner’s Office busy.
On Wednesday, Oshawa Generals forward Scott Laughton would throw a blindside hit on Ottawa 67’s forward Daniel Walsh late in the 3rd period, earning a match penalty. The next night, Landon Schiller of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds would catch Niagara’s Mack Lemmon with a vicious shoulder to the head. Friday afternoon, Commissioner Branch stepped in, suspending both Laughton and Schiller ten games for their actions. Thankfully, neither player was seriously injured on either play, but both were shots to the head of an unsuspecting player, and both are examples of what not to do on the ice.
London’s Kevin Raine has also been suspended indefinitely by the OHL pending review of a boarding penalty he took Thursday night in Peterborough. Branch is likely to have discipline doled out sometime prior to London’s next game, Thursday night in Windsor.
Players Of The Week
Sean Monahan (Ottawa 67’s) – A big week for Sean Monahan usually coincides with a big week for the Ottawa 67’s, and this past week was no exception, as Sean would play a major role in all three 67’s games, helping the team earn four points. On Wednesday, Sean registered a goal and an assist, as Ottawa lost a shootout decision to Oshawa. Friday night in Kingston, Monahan broke out, scoring again, and adding three helpers for a four point night. Playing in front of a crowd of Ottawa-area schoolkids on Monday morning, Sean had another assist, as his 67’s earned another point from a shootout loss against Kingston. When the dust settled, Sean Monahan compiled two goals and seven points in three games, to go along with a +6 rating. As such, Sean Monahan is our pick as the OHL’s Top Forward this week.
Frank Corrado (Sudbury Wolves) – Frank Corrado was not only the top defenceman in the OHL over the past week, he was arguably the top player, as he would help the Sudbury Wolves remain in the thick of the Eastern Conference race with seven points. Friday night, Frank had the golden touch, as he would help set up five different Wolves goals en route to a big win over the Niagara IceDogs. He would follow that performance with another apple the next night, on Sudbury’s only goal, a loss in Owen Sound. Corrado’s hot stick would continue on Sunday, as he would score a goal to help the Wolves secure another point, in a shootout loss in Mississauga. With a goal and six assists, to go along with a +4 rating in three games, Frank Corrado left no doubt, he is the Top Defenceman this week.
Spencer Martin (Mississauga Steelheads) The Mississauga Steelheads have been led from the goal out this season, and this past week was no exception, as Spencer Martin would be impressive, earning three victories. Wednesday, Spencer stopped 25 of 26 shots as Mississauga won in Belleville, and was equally tough to beat on Friday, giving up just a single goal on 31 Brampton shots. Sunday, Martin would stop 31 of 33 shots, and two more in the shootout, as the Steelheads defeated Sudbury. With 3 wins to go along with a 1.30 goals against average and .956 save percentage, Spencer was an easy choice as Top Goaltender this week.
OHL Power Rankings
1. Barrie Colts – (Last Week: 2) After a brief one week hiatus, the Barrie Colts reclaim the top spot this week in the OHL Power Rankings, as they took advantage of a two game week, winning both. Thursday night, the Colts defeated the visitors from Brampton in overtime, and then Saturday, they defeated Niagara. Barrie heads out on the road this week, playing games Friday night in Sudbury, and Saturday in Sault Ste. Marie.
2. Owen Sound Attack – (Last Week: 3) The Owen Sound Attack are back up one spot this week, retaking the number two position on the strength of five out of six possible points over the weekend. On Friday, the Attack were downed in the shootout in Kitchener, but returned home to post weekend wins over Sudbury and Windsor. Owen Sound has a three game, two city road trip this weekend, as they travel to Erie for games on Friday and Saturday nights, then head back to Kitchener for a rematch on Sunday night.
3. Guelph Storm – (Last Week: 1) After reaching the pinnacle of the OHL Power Rankings, losing two of three games this past week drops the Guelph Storm two spots, landing at number three. On Friday night, the Storm were a graceful host for Windsor, allowing the opponents to leave with the victory, but Guelph answered a night later, winning a shootout in London. The Storm finished the weekend with a lackluster effort on Sunday, losing to Sault Ste. Marie. Looking ahead, the Guelph Storm have a chance to impress on national television on Friday night, hosting Oshawa, before playing in Niagara on Saturday. Sunday afternoon, the Storm return home to host London.
4. Mississauga Steelheads – (Last Week: 8) The Mississauga Steelheads have been flying under the radar of many so far this season, but have quietly gotten off to an impressive start. Three wins this week enables the Steelheads to leap four spots in the Power Rankings, as they impressively won in Belleville Wednesday night to start the week. From there, Mississauga returned home to the Hershey Centre, where they would post victories over Brampton on Friday, and a shootout over Sudbury on Sunday afternoon. The Steelheads will look to build on their three-game winning streak this week, as they host Peterborough on Friday night, and remain home for a game with Erie Sunday afternoon.
5. London Knights – (Last Week: 4) With three points in as many games this week, the London Knights remain in the top five on the OHL Power Rankings, but do slide one spot. Thursday night, the Knights earned a come-from-behind victory in Peterborough, but couldn’t sustain the momentum, losing at home to Plymouth a night later. Guelph spoiled London’s opportunity to salvage a winning weekend, defeating the Knights in a shootout on Sunday. Another tough week lies ahead for London, as they start the week in Windsor on Thursday, before returning home to host Belleville a night later. Sunday afternoon, the Knights head to Guelph with a chance at redemption from this week’s loss.
6. Belleville Bulls – (Last Week: 6) The Belleville Bulls manage to hold firm at number six this week, after splitting a pair of home-ice contests over a quiet week. Wednesday, the Bulls were defeated by Mississauga, but answered with a shutout victory over Kingston on Friday. Belleville begins a four-game road trip with three games over the weekend, beginning on Friday night in London. The Bulls make stops in Saginaw on Saturday and in Windsor Sunday to wrap up the week.
7. Sarnia Sting – (Last Week: 14) The biggest jump in the OHL Power Rankings this week belongs to the Sarnia Sting, who leap seven spots to land at number seven after three straight wins this week. On Thursday, the Sting defeated Windsor at home, then won road contests in Erie and Brampton over the weekend. Coming up for Sarnia is a home and home series with Plymouth, beginning Friday night at home, and wrapping up a night later. Sunday afternoon, the Sting play in Saginaw to finish the weekend.
8. Plymouth Whalers – (Last Week: 9) The Plymouth Whalers climb one spot this week with wins in two of their three games, and find themselves trending upwards in the Power Rankings. Friday night, the Whalers won a big game in London, and won again a night later, defeating Kitchener in overtime. Sunday afternoon, Plymouth lost the rematch in Kitchener, spoiling a potential perfect weekend. The Whalers will give their full attention to their opponents from Sarnia this week, playing a home and home series with them that begins on the road Friday, with the rematch Saturday.
9. Kitchener Rangers – (Last Week: 12) The Kitchener Rangers are another team trending upward, as they earned five out of six possible points this week, and enter the top ten of the Power Rankings on the strength of a six-game unbeaten streak in regulation. Friday night, the Rangers won a big shootout over Owen Sound, but lost in overtime a night later in Plymouth. Kitchener returned home to gain redemption on Plymouth, winning a rematch on home ice Sunday night. The schedule doesn’t get much easier looking ahead, as the Rangers open a three game week Thursday night in Niagara. Kitchener hosts Windsor on Friday night, before Owen Sound comes to town Sunday.
10. Oshawa Generals – (Last Week: 5) In three weeks, the Oshawa Generals have slid from atop the Power Rankings to barely hanging on to the top ten, as they slide five positions this week, earning just three points from three very winnable games. Wednesday night, the Generals needed a shootout to win in Ottawa, but lost back at home Friday night to Saginaw. Oshawa failed to rebound Sunday afternoon, losing in a shootout to the visitors from Peterborough. The Generals will need to be much better this week to avoid sliding further, and they have an opportunity when they play in Peterborough on Thursday night. A night later, Oshawa plays in Guelph, a game with national television coverage, before the Generals return home to play Kingston on Sunday.
11. Niagara IceDogs – (Last Week: 7) With only one win in three tries this week, the Niagara IceDogs slide four spots this week, taking them out of the top ten in the OHL Power Rankings. Thursday night, the ‘Dogs defeated Sault Ste. Marie at home, but lost a pair of road games over the weekend, Friday in Sudbury, and Saturday in Barrie. Niagara faces a pair of stiff contests at home to start the upcoming week, first Kitchener on Thursday before Guelph on Saturday. Sunday afternoon, the IceDogs wrap up the week in Peterborough.
12. Windsor Spitfires – (Last Week: 11) Despite losing two out of three games this past week, the Windsor Spitfires manage to drop just a single spot in the Power Rankings, winding up at number twelve. The Spits continued on a road trip this week that opened with a loss in Sarnia on Thursday. Windsor was much better a night later, winning in Guelph, but couldn’t strike lightning twice, losing in Owen Sound Sunday afternoon. It’s a big week for the Spitfires, who host London on Thursday night, and travel to Kitchener a night later. Sunday afternoon, the Spits are back at home, hosting Belleville.
13. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – (Last Week: 13) No change for the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds this week, as they earned wins in two of three games this week, and hold firm at thirteen. After a Thursday night loss in Niagara, the Hounds rebounded by winning a shootout in Erie the next night. Sunday afternoon, Sault Ste. Marie was impressive, winning again in Guelph. The Greyhounds hope to extend their winning streak with a pair of home games coming up, hosting Ottawa on Friday night, and Barrie a night later.
14. Brampton Battalion – (Last Week: 10) Three losses and just one point to show from the past week drops the Brampton Battalion four spots on the OHL Power Rankings, bringing them to number fourteen. The Battalion fought well on Thursday, falling in overtime in Barrie, but lost again Friday in Mississauga, and Sunday, back at home to Sarnia. Brampton will look to bust the slump with a pair of games this week against Eastern Conference foes, as they play in Kingston on Friday, and at home to Sudbury on Sunday afternoon.
15. Sudbury Wolves – (Last Week: 15) The Sudbury Wolves earn three points in as many games this week, which allows them to remain at number fifteen for another week. At home on Friday night, the Wolves would romp over Niagara, but lost a tough one Saturday in Owen Sound. Sunday afternoon, Sudbury couldn’t win the shootout, taking a single point in Mississauga. Another three-game weekend ahead for the Wolves, starting with home games Friday against Barrie, and Saturday versus Ottawa. Sudbury plays in Brampton on Sunday afternoon to complete the weekend.
16. Saginaw Spirit – (Last Week: 16) The Saginaw Spirit hold steady at number sixteen this week, after picking up a big win on a three-game road trip. After being rolled over in Erie on Wednesday, the Spirit answered with a hard-fought victory in Oshawa Friday. Saginaw wouldn’t sustain the momentum, losing Saturday in Peterborough. The Spirit get to enjoy a week at home ahead, as they play just twice, hosting Belleville on Saturday, and Sarnia Sunday.
17. Ottawa 67’s – (Last Week: 18) The Ottawa 67’s leap up a spot this week, despite losing two out of three contests, as they managed to earn points in each game. Wednesday, the 67’s lost a shootout game at home to Oshawa, but rebounded nicely, winning a high-scoring affair in Kingston. On Monday morning, Ottawa played host to a kid’s game rematch with Kingston, and came away with a point from another shootout loss. The 67’s will look to keep the point streak alive with a pair of games in Northern Ontario this week, playing in Sault Ste. Marie on Friday night, and in Sudbury on Saturday.
18. Kingston Frontenacs – (Last Week: 17) The Kingston Frontenacs are down a single spot this week, winning once in three tries. Friday night, the Fronts came out on the wrong end of a wild game at home to Ottawa. A night later, Kingston was much better defensively, but couldn’t find offence, and lost again. The Frontenacs put an end to a five-game losing streak Monday morning with a shootout victory in Ottawa, and look to start back up the standings with two games this week. Friday night, Kingston hosts Brampton, then plays in Oshawa on Sunday evening.
19. Peterborough Petes – (Last Week: 20) Back up from the bottom, the Peterborough Petes won two out of three games this week to climb to nineteen, and doubled their season win total in the process. Thursday night saw a lead at home to London slip away late, but the Petes were motivated on Saturday, defeating Saginaw. Peterborough carried that momentum into Oshawa on Sunday afternoon, winning in a shootout. The Petes must face a rematch with Oshawa back at home Thursday night, before playing a game in Mississauga on Friday. Sunday afternoon, Peterborough returns home for a tough contest with Niagara.
20. Erie Otters – (Last Week: 19) A bit of a tough break for the Erie Otters, as they slide back to the bottom of the OHL Power Rankings, despite earning three points from as many games. The Otters took advantage of a homestand, defeating Windsor handily on Wednesday, then picking up another point in a shootout loss to Sault Ste. Marie on Friday. Erie failed to move north in the rankings due to a loss at home to Sarnia Saturday night.
Be sure to watch for the newest edition of In The O... The Magazine later this week! The November edition, as well as all past issues, are available for download at www.intheoradio.com. 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: Frank Corrado of the Sudbury Wolves is the OHL Top Defenceman this week, after leading all players in points with seven. (Photo Courtesy: Terry Wilson/OHLImages)