Another week and another division 1 commitment out of the Buffalo Jr Sabres program. This time it was Max Mikowski as he committed to RIT. It was a down week for Buffalo other than that as they were winless in 3 games. The Georgetown Raiders won a big home matchup against Buffalo but lost their 2 out of division games. Orangeville was Orangeville as they lost 2 games. The Hamilton Redwings didn’t pick up a win but they were able to pick up a point in comeback fashion while falling to Pickering. Burlington knocked off Orangeville on Friday in a rare afternoon tilt and Milton just kept on winning as they pushed their streak to 5 games.
Would you believe that we are now at the half way mark of the OJHL season? 292 of 583 games are now in the books. As it stands right now only 3 teams from the West are in the playoffs if it were to start today. Hamilton and Burlington sit 9th and 11th respectively. Whatever kinks were in the first half they better be worked out soon. The first half went fast and the 2nd is sure to be quicker.
Game of the Week Review
Buffalo Jr Sabres vs Georgetown Raiders
The 2nd match of the season between the two favourites in the West Division. Both teams were coming in not playing their best of the season but an important 2 points were on the line so that didn’t matter. In their previous meeting Georgetown skated away with a 2-1 victory secured via the shootout.
The first period was very evenly played. Both teams wanted to make sure they got off to a great start yet didn’t want to give anything up to the other team. Georgetown held the shot advantage after 1 period 11-10 but it was Pat Egan for the Jr Sabres was the only one able to solve the goalies as he buried his 18th of the season. It seemed as though McNiven and Mueller were going to turn this into a goalie dual just like the first matchup.
The 2nd period however had a little more offence then the first. Georgetown made sure they got back in the game quickly as John Adams tied the game at the 2:21 mark. Following some back and forth play where anyone could have scored it was Nick Smith who got the Jr Sabres back on top as Jason Heerdt picked up his 2nd helper of the night. Not wanting to go into another intermission trailing the Raiders put on the press and Anthony Marra got them back on equal terms with just under 4 minutes remaining in the 2nd. Shots were close again in this period with the Jr Sabres holding a 10-9 advantage for an even 20-20 through 2 periods.
Shortly after the start of the 3rd period Georgetown was able to taste the lead for the first time as John Adams added his second of the game this one on the man advantage. Would Michael McNiven be able to hold of the division leaders or were more goals to come? Buffalo answered that question and then some as they added two goals to retake the lead the first by Nick Smith and the second by recent RIT commit Max Mikowski and Jr Sabres were back out in front 4-3. A Georgetown Raiders and Buffalo Jr Sabres game just wouldn’t be the same without extra time while the first two periods were pretty even the Raiders started to assert themselves in the 3rd. They would outshoot the Jr Sabres 16-11 and captain Steve Hladin would tie things up at 4 and once again we were off to overtime.
I would like to say it was a back and forth overtime but the Raiders carried their momentum from the 3rd over into the extra period and before the Jr Sabres were able to register a shot the Raiders had 4 and the 4th shot of the stick of John Adams found a home in the back of the net for the Hat-Trick and OT winner. The Jr Sabres were now stuck in a 3 game winless streak that would be pushed to 4 on Sunday with another loss this time in Milton. The Raiders picked up a much needed win as the hard charging Icehawks have passed them in the standings on the backs of a 5 game winning streak.
West Division 3 Stars
1)Shane Bennett (Mil)
WOW! That is the first thing that comes to mind when looking at Shane Bennett’s week. 2 hat tricks and a 2 goal game, 8 goals and 3 assists total as the Icehawks won all 3 games.
2)John Adams (Geo)
The 2nd year forward had his best week in the OJHL as he tallied 5 goals and added 2 assists. Highlighted by a hat trick and OT winner against Buffalo on Saturday he surpassed last years goal total and now has 12 on the season.
3)Jeremy Gottzmann (Mil)
The former Cougars captain was only able to suit up in 2 of the Icehawks 3 games this week but when he was in he made it count. Picked up 3 points against Newmarket on Friday and followed that up with another 3 against Buffalo on Sunday. 1G and 5A is what the final stat line read at the end of the week.
Rookie of the Week
Alex Richie (Mil)
Alex Richie has continued his stellar season adding a goal and 7 assists to his yearly totals this week in helping lead the Icehawks to 3 wins.
Team of the Week
3 more wins in 3 games this week for the Icehawks as they push their winning streak to 5 games. Last week it was the goaltending but this week it was the offence as Milton scored 18 times in 3 games. This run has pushed them into 2nd in the division although Georgetown does have 5 games in hand on them.
Game of the Week Preview
Burlington Cougars @ Milton Icehaws Saturday November 30th
Lots of story lines in this one as Milton currently has former Cougars captain Jeremy Gottzmann on their roster as well as the son of Cougars coach Pete Richards on their team, Cooper Richards. Gottzmann and Richards have already laced them up for 1 game against their former team a 5-2 win by the Cougars where they were led by former Icehawk Viktor Mueller as he scored 2 goals.
It may seem like a mismatch on paper with Milton 4th and the Cougars 11th but when these 2 rivals meet it doesn’t matter what the paper says. Can Milton stay hot and exact some revenge on the Cougars? Or will they spoil a Friday night for the Milton faithful as they continue to fight for a playoff spot?
Only one way to get an answer to these questions and that is to check out the game of the week in Milton.