And then there were 2 weeks to go. Some great races all over the OJHL are shaping up, and the North race might be the most intriguing (sorry Peter Kneulman - West Division Reporter) of them all. The reason I say this is because all 4 teams in the chase are streaky teams, they win in bunches and they lose in bunches. Pickering for example every game in January, but has gone 4-0 in the month of February, Lindsay won 5 in a row before their current 4 game stretch where they’ve gone 1 - 3.
Game of the Week Review: Stouffville Spirit 1 - 2 Newmarket Hurricanes
With help from OJHL.com:
The Stouffville Spirit tried to dig themselves out of a two-goal hole, but the Newmarket Hurricanes held on for a 2-1 victory.
Newmarket made the score 2-0 on a goal by Brandon Francisco at 11:38 in the second period, and Stouffville got as close as 2-1 when Tyson Bruce scored 12:49 into the third period.
The Hurricanes were led by goalie Jophrey Gregoire, who finished with 35 saves while allowing one goal. Gregoire managed to improve on his goals against average, which stood at 4.28 prior to the game.
Newmarket was paced by Francisco, who grabbed one goal and one assist.
The Hurricanes made the Spirit's goaltenders to work hard to keep the puck out of the net, ripping 35 shots and forcing 33 saves. Daniel Mannella made 30 stops and Tim Bester made three.
Curtis Harvey also scored for Newmarket. More assists for Newmarket came via Christian Dedonato and Ian Farrell, who each chipped in one.
Stouffville put up an impenetrable defensive front on the penalty kill, and did not allow Newmarket to score on any of its four power plays. The Spirit's offense rang up 36 shots on the Hurricanes' net.
Other players who recorded assists for Stouffville were Matthew Heffernan, who had one.
3. Vince Herlihey - Lindsay Muskies
- 2 goals and 2 assists this week, Herlihey continues to help the Muskies battle for a playoff spot
2. Keegan Ackerland - Pickering Panthers
- it’s been a process for Ackerland since joining the Panthers from Orangeville, but this week he broke out with 3 goals and 2 assists, 2 of those goals against his former team!
1. Nicolas Lepone - Pickering Panthers
- 4 games in a row now for Lepone, including a goal and 4 assists in the Panthers last two versus St. Michaels and Orangeville.
North Team of the Week: Pickering Panthers
The turn of the calendar has benefited the Panthers with back-to-back-to-back wins at the beginning of the week, followed up by a dominating performance Friday night at home against Orangeville. The Panthers have given themselves some breathing room in the North for the second spot, and have 2 or 3 games in hand on the rest of their division rivals behind them. The Panthers right now are in control of their own destiny.
North Division Game of the Week Preview:
Newmarket Hurricanes at Stouffville Spirit, 2:30pm EST
The rematch of last weeks game, which was tight contest, should provide another playoff type atmosphere. Stouffville still trails in the standings and will be looking to avenge the tough loss.
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.