OJHL North Division Weekly Review (Jan 28 - Feb 3)
By the time you read this review, most of the things I say will become irrelevant, out dated, and perhaps even wrong; paints the picture doesn’t it? That’s who fast things are changing in the OJHL North Division. Right now only one thing is certain, the Aurora Tigers are your 2013-14 North Division Champions, officially clinched just after last weeks review came out (see, outdated). They are now chasing the league title, while the remaining 4 teams are playing a game of musical chairs to get the last 2 playoff spots and it couldn’t be any closer between the Panthers, Hurricanes, Spirit, and Muskies.
To give you an idea of the game going on, here were the standings before Sunday’s games:
1. Aurora - 69 points 2. Newmarket - 40 points 3. Pickering - 39 points 4. Stouffville - 38 points 5. Lindsay - 37 points
Newmarket played first Sunday, losing to Georgetown, so they stayed put. Meanwhile Stouffville was trailing Hamilton 3 - 0 and looked like they were going to stay put, before an amazing comeback lead them to a victory in regulation. At this point, Lindsay was just getting underway, and Pickering was waiting for a later start in Toronto, so the updated standings were:
1. Aurora - 69 points 2. Newmarket - 40 points 3. Stouffville - 40 points 4. Pickering - 39 points 5. Lindsay - 37 points
Next, Lindsay became the the focus, down early to Milton the Muskies managed a 3-0 comeback of their own and won the game in a shootout. So now…
1. Aurora - 69 points 2. Newmarket - 40 points 3. Stouffville - 40 points 4. Lindsay - 39 points 5. Pickering - 39 points
Finally it was Pickering’s game. They had time to watch all of the action unfold and knew exactly what they had to do (let alone know that they needed to snap a 9 game losing streak). And they did, pummeling Toronto 7-3 for their first win since mid-december.
And now the standings as they stand right now:
1. Aurora - 69 points 2. Pickering - 41 points 3. Newmarket - 40 points 4. Stouffville - 40 points 5. Lindsay - 39 points
Who doesn’t love a good playoff race? And all of the above changes happening in a span of 4 hours!
North Division Game of the Week Review: Lindsay Muskies 4 - 1 Stouffville Spirit
The two teams who were on the outside looking in the North-East playoffs faced off in a big matchup, and it showed with lots of hits, tight scoring, and even some fisticuffs in the final period.
Logan DeNoble had a great game for Lindsay, netting two goals. DeNoble scored at 13:11 into the second period to make the score 2-0 Lindsay and again while 1:42 into the third to make the score 3-0 Lindsay.
Stouffville was stymied by the Muskies netminder Branden Francey, who stopped 39 shots during the victory. Francey certainly lowered his goals against average, which was 3.08 entering the contest.
Lindsay additionally got points from Joseph Vocino, who also registered one goal and one assist. Lindsay also got a goal from Vince Herlihey as well. In addition, Lindsay received assists from Brandon Washer and Davis Gadjovich, who contributed one a piece.
The Spirit forced Lindsay goalie Francey to work between the pipes, taking 40 shots.
Stouffville was led by Andres Kopstals, who scored the team's only goal. Kopstals scored on the power play 4:13 into the third period to make the score 3-1 Lindsay. The Spirit had taken the advantage when the Muskies' James Sterne got sent off for cross checking. Matthew Dunlop picked up the assist.
North Division 3 Stars:
Honourable Mention: Dylan Sikura - Aurora Tigers
- 3 assists vs Hamilton and added one more against Oakville as the Tigers won back-to-back and start another mini winning streak
3. Brodie Tutton - Pickering Panthers
- a big game for Tutton lifting the Panthers to a 7-3 win over Toronto, in which he scored 2 goals and an assist. Tutton is now on a 5 game point streak (5G, 3A).
2. Vince Herlihey - Lindsay Muskies
- also on a 5 game point streak, Herlihey has helped the Muskies win 5 straight and get back into the playoff race. A goal and assist in a comeback win over Milton plus a goal in each game vs North York and Stouffville
1. Joseph Vocino - Lindsay Muskies
- something about the number 5 today. Vocino (also on 5 game point streak) is another reason the Muskies are on a role. A big goal Sunday versus Milton gives Vocino 6 goals and 3 assists in those 5 games.
North Division Rookie of the Week: Logan DeNoble - Lindsay Muskies
- two goals in the game of the week matchup versus Stouffville, the Peterborough ON native snapped a scoreless streak and was also critical in the resurgence.
North Division Team of the Week - Lindsay Muskies
If you thought that I was going to pick a team other than the Muskies as team of the week, you might as well still be in holiday mode. Once thought to be dead in the water (sorry had to) after a 10 game losing streak earlier in the season, the Muskies have certainly turned things around. Winners of 5 in a row, two of which were 6-2 victories and the latest one a come-from-behind win. Their offence has found itself again, and goaltender Branden Francey has been stellar, All 5 wins have been in his name, 178 saves on 189 shots and 3 goals or less allowed in those games, while the Muskies as a group have outscored their opponents 27 - 11.
North Division Game of the Week Preview: Stouffville Spirit at Newmarket Hurricanes, Tuesday February 4, 2014, 8pm EST
This game is the make up game for the one that was canceled back in December, who knew that it would have such an importance! With the two teams tied in the standings, this is what some would call a 4-point game. It will be tightly contested, and watched by many. I don’t think I need to preview it any more than that.
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.