What a weekend for hockey eh OJHL Nation? With the conclusion of the Olympics (Woohoo Canada!) and the conclusion of the OJHL regular season, we can finally gear up for a great race to the Buckland Cup finals. We’ll get to the playoffs in a moment (also look for a special In the O Radio piece on each series) but first we’ll wrap up the regular season with the final weekly review.
For the North Division, only 3 teams made it to the second season, while the remaining two will begin an interesting offseason early. The Lindsay Muskies, who nearly comeback to get grab a playoff spot, have a fairly young lineup with only two 1993 born players on their roster, however both Vince Herlihey (50 points) and Jake Ryan (38 points) were the centre pieces of the offence this year and will need to be replaced; Joseph Vocino (94) looks like a good bet.
The Stouffville Spirit meanwhile turned over most of their roster midseason, shipping out the veterans in favour of a younger core, and will look to build off of this season next year. Rookie Michael Carcone, who finished the season as the teams leading scorer, will inherit the leadership role next year no doubt as Stouffville could keep a majority of their roster intact (10 players are either 96 or 97 born) and develop further as a unit.
Games of the Week Review (Quick Hit Style):
Trenton Golden Hawks 0 - 1 Newmarket Hurricanes FINAL - Thursday Feb 20, 2014
A goal 6:30 into the the first period by Sam Hu proved to be the game winner, and powered Newmarket to the victory Kyle Stephan assisted on the tally.
The Hurricanes were boosted by Bo Bessette, who turned in a shutout with 41 saves.
Pickering Panthers 5 - 7 Lindsay Muskies FINAL - Friday Feb 21, 2014
Keegan Cairns netted a hat trick.
Cairns notched his first tally 18:05 into the second period. He then added goals at 9:25 into the third and right at the final buzzer on an empty net.
Pickering was doomed by its poor performance on special teams, as Lindsay was able to score five times while on the power play.
The Muskies kept the Panthers' goalie busy throughout the game, and Steven Dombrosky made 47 saves on 54 shots.
These games were the last two for each team, but both originally thought to have some playoff implications turned out to be nothing but a playoff tune up for each. The Panthers and Hurricanes were fighting for the 7th seed in the North-East Conference and looked like the last game of the season would determine who got that spot. Newmarket would capitalize on their chance, winning the game against Trenton, but Pickering dropped the ball in a losing effort to Cobourg that same day, handing the Hurricanes 7th seed and (as it would later on be decided) a date with divisional rivals the Aurora Tigers in the first round!
Honourable Mention: Austin Rigney - Aurora Tigers
- an assist vs Buffalo followed by a 4 point performance (1G, 3A) in the season finale against Stouffville
3. Kory Kennedy - Aurora Tigers
- also 1 assist against Buffalo and also 4 points against Stouffville, this time 2 goals and 2 assists
2. Robert Angiolella - Aurora Tigers
- one goal against Buffalo and 2 goals and 3 assists in the big win over the Spirit
1. Keegan Cairns - Lindsay Muskies
- a big offensive outburst in the game against Pickering, scoring a hat trick and adding 3 assists as well for a 6 point game! He then added an assist the next day in a 7-2 win over Burlington.
Rookie of the Week: Tyler Boston - Aurora Tigers
- 2 assists in two game to wrap up the season for the Newmarket native. Since playing with the OHLs Guelph Storm on Feb 6, Boston scored a point in 3 of his final 4 games back in Aurora.
Game of the week Preview: Every game, it’s playoff time!
Schedules are still being released, but at this time the North division teams know when things will get started:
Pickering Panthers at Kingston Voyageurs - Game 1 - Thursday February 26, 2014 @ 7pm
Newmarket Hurricanes at Aurora Tigers - Game 1 - Thursday February 26, 2014 @ 7:30pm
Stay tuned to OJHL.com for full schedule details on all the playoff series’.
Let the second season begin!
And remember once again that the Fan Favourite Award voting continues on. Check OJHL.com and vote as many times as you like for your favourite player! Voting will run throughout the playoffs, ending at 5pm EST on Monday, March 31, 2014. The winner of the third annual Fan Favourite Award will be unveiled prior to game one or two of the OJHL Championship Series during the 4th Annual OJHL Awards Ceremony.