With just weeks to go in the OJHL regular season playoff spots are beginning to get snatched up in the North-East conference. The Aurora Tigers were the first team in the North, while Kingston, Cobourg, and recently Whitby have all punched their ticket to the second season. Trenton needs only 3 points to clinch as well which would give all 5 East division teams a spot in the playoff, leaving 2 left for Newmarket, Pickering, Lindsay, and Stouffville to battle for.
A couple teams in the North saw some of their games cancelled this week due to weather conditions which will make things interesting come the make-up games because those two points may mean a playoff spot. Pickering for example had their game against Cobourg cancelled and now will have some extra games in hand down the stretch, while Lindsay has 3 games in hand currently thanks to a pair of games getting cancelled.
North Division Game of the Week Review: Aurora Tigers 3 - 1 Buffalo Jr. Sabres
In last week’s review, this game was dubbed the statement game for the Aurora Tigers before heading into the post season. A meeting of two top teams in the OJHL would prove to be a battle for both the Tigers and the Jr. Sabres, with a tight, defensive, discipline game. The first period was a back and forth battle, shots were only 11-8 in favour of Aurora and it ended in a 1-1 draw after Michael Ederer for Buffalo and Taylor McCloy for the Tigers exchanged goals.
The second period statistically would make it seem like it didn’t exist, 13 shots total between the two teams, no goals, and only one penalty called. But players, coaches, and fans would tell you that it was a hard fought 20 minutes.
Period 3 would be almost the same, but Dylan Sikura would score halfway through to give the Tigers a lead and an empty netter would seal the deal as the Tigers won their 8th in a row and officially clinched a playoff spot.
North Division 3 Stars:
3. Peter Barral - Lindsay Muskies
- scored a hat-trick in the Muskies last game vs St. Michaels
2. Kory Kennedy - Aurora Tigers
- a goal and assist in Buffalo and scored the same vs Milton
1. Justin Maiolino - Newmarket Hurricanes
- back-to-back multi point games for Maiolino. He has helped the resurgent Hurricanes back into the second seed in the North Division
Rookie Of the Week: Curtis Harvey - Newmarket Hurricanes
- it took him 4 games since coming over from Brockville (CCHL), but now the OJHL rookie is on a 3 game point streak. One goal and 2 assists this week
North Division Team of the Week: Lindsay Muskies
No team has had a more interesting season (I’m watching you Pickering..) than the Lindsay Muskies. They never really went on a role, they lost 10 straight at one point in the season, and yet here we are with only weeks to go till the playoffs and the Muskies are only 6 points behind Pickering for the final North-East playoff spot. They have 3 games in hand on the Panthes, Spirit, and Hurricanes and are coming off of two back-to-back 6-2 victories over Hamilton and St. Michaels respectively. They’ve hung around long enough, and now they look ready to take that leap.
North Division Game of the Week Preview: Lindsay Muskies at Stouffville Spirit - Thursday January 30, 2014 7:30pm EST
Only 3 points separate the Muskies and the Spirit, should the Muskies win it will make things very interesting heading into the final month of the season. The Tigers look like they’ll walk away with the Division, but they next two spots are going to be battled for and now ever divisional game will have a bigger meaning to it, and it’s safe to say that every division game now is a so called 4-point game.