Happy Family Day OJHL Nation! What a weekend that past by in the League as playoff births were clinched, and playoff seeds became more complex with each passing game. At this point, teams in the North Division can expect either Pickering or Newmarket to play Aurora in the first round depending on where each team sits. Pickering currently is in 8th, Newmarket 7th, and Aurora is in 1st (by goal differential) so first round matchup would be Panthers/Tigers and Hurricanes/Kingston Voyageurs. I’ll leave the rest of the East Division to Allan Etmanski (@AllanEtmanski) because it’s a bigger mess, but for the North, 3 teams know they’re moving on, and two teams (who made a valid push) will complete their seasons this week before watching the second season from the stands.
The Lindsay Muskies faced the toughest task in the division, having lost 10 games in a row earlier in the year, it looked like they Muskies wouldn’t make it a competition, but they did. And they did it in grand fashion. Between Jan 17 and Feb 4, the Fish went 5-0 outscoring opponents 27-11 and pulled themselves back into a log jam in the standings. Since that point though, the Muskies could not hold on, they’ve gone 7-1 and fell right out of the picture again, with their 5-2 loss to Oakville on Saturday, the Muskies were officially eliminated from the postseason and will now set their sights to next season.
Game of the Week review:
Newmarket Hurricanes 6:3 Stouffville Spiri, Sunday Feb 16, 2014
Once again these two teams were in the North Division spotlight, but even bigger implications were on the line. The Spirit were trying to stay alive, while a Newmarket win would eliminate Stouffville and clinch the Hurricanes a playoff spot.
Brandon Francisco registered one point to lead the Newmarket Hurricanes to a 6-3 victory over the Stouffville Spirit.
Newmarket made Spirit's goaltenders to work hard to keep the puck out of the net, firing 41 shots and forcing 35 saves. Tim Bester made 25 stops and Daniel Mannella made 10. The Hurricanes outdid their season average for goals scored. Newmarket has scored at the pace of 3.7 goals per game during the current campaign. The Hurricanes struggled to stay out of the sin bin throughout the game as they finished the game with 24 penalty minutes for five opposing power plays.
Newmarket also got points from Justin Maiolino, who also registered one goal and one assist. Others who scored for Newmarket included Christian Dedonato, Taylor Joseph, Ferdinando Colella, and Jake Stirling, who each put in one. More assists for Newmarket came via Jesse Saban, who had two and Cameron Nicoll, Adam Smith, Sam Hu, Trevor Petersen, Nik Coric, Anthony Trujillo, Ryan Kruss, and Ian Farrell, who contributed one a piece.
Stouffville was often in penalty trouble, totaling six minors and one major for 27 minutes in penalty time. The total exceeded the 14.0 minutes per game the Spirit had been spending in the box. Stouffville kept Newmarket's goalie busy throughout the game, and Jophrey Gregoire made 32 saves on 35 shots.
The Spirit were helped by Justin Wain, who racked up one goal. Wain scored 9:59 into the third period to make the score 5-3 Newmarket. Tyson Bruce assisted on the tally. Stouffville additionally got points from Michael Carcone, who also had one goal and one assist to lead the team in points. Graham Pickard also scored for Stouffville. In addition, Stouffville received assists from Cameron Lintner and Kyler Challis, who each chipped in one.
- thanks OJHL.com :)
3. Justin Maiolino - Newmarket Hurricanes
- a goal and assist in the playoff clinching game for Newmarket, Maiolino also tallied 2 assists the night before in Burlington. The Loretto, ON native has points in each of Newmarket’s last 3 wins.
2. Robert Angiolella - Aurora Tigers
- two goals and an assist this week for Robert, adding to his current 7 game point streak where he has collected 4 goals and 9 assists.
1. Mike Nedoszytko - Pickering Panthers
- It’s been a while since the Scarborough ON native has been mentioned, but how could he not this week after recording 4 points in 3 games, but more impressively has himself a 12 game point streak!! 5 goals and 10 assists since January 17 when he started this streak.
Rookie of the Week: Jesse Saban - Newmarket Hurricanes
- The former Toronto Red Wings (Min Midget AAA) defenceman tallied 3 assists this week, giving him 14 in total this year in 30 games with the Hurricanes.
Team of the Week: Pickering Panthers and Newmarket Hurricanes
Congratulations to both teams for clinching the final two spots in the North East Conference playoffs! Both teams will look to finish strong this week as they battle it out for 7th spot knowing it could be the difference between facing Kingston or division rivals Aurora in the first round!
Game of the Week Preview: Double Dip:
Trenton Golden Hawks at Newmarket Hurricanes - Thursday Feb 20 @ 7:30pm EST
Pickering Panthers at Lindsay Muskies - Friday Feb 21 @ 7:30pm EST
The last game of the regular season for both teams, and depending on the results earlier in the week, it could be the game for each team to claim the 7th spot in the North-East Conference. The Hurricanes will play first, a win could clinch 7th, a loss (even in OT) would open the door and give the Panthers a chance to win and take the spot.
Once again don’t forget fans that the OJHL has opened up it’s Fan Favourite Award voting. 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.