It really hasn’t been the best of runs for the OJHL West division but this has to be rock bottom. 13 games and only 1 win for the West Division and it came from the only inter-divisional game. Not to mention 2 games were snowed out due to the snowstorm that hit the west GTA on Saturday.
It wasn’t all bad news for the Conference however as Buffalo Jr Sabres forward Pat Egan picked up his 100th career OJHL point. Also Hamilton Red Wings forward Corey Caruso committed to Mercyhurst University.
Game of the Week Review
St Michaels Buzzers vs Buffalo Jr Sabres in Rochester
The first ever outdoor OJHL game took place Sunday in Rochester as part of the frozen frontier. The game pitted the top team from the OJHL west division and the 2nd place team from the South division who just happened to be undefeated against the West this season.
The Jr Sabres took the first lead of the game half way through the opening period as Ryan Schmelzer scored on the power play. Schmelzer entered the season as the Jr Sabres highest returning scorer but he has been out of the lineup since October 30th. This was Ryan’s 7th goal of the season and it was a lead that the Jr Sabres would carry into the 1st intermission although the Buzzers held the shot advantage at 10-9
The 2nd period was truly a period of 2 halves. The Buzzers owned the 1st half of the period before the Jr Sabres took over for the second half. It took less than 9 minutes for St Michaels to turn a 1-0 deficit into a 3-1 lead. Jake Evans, Jordon Schneider and Bron Loiselle on the PP were the goal scorers. Recent acquisition from Orangeville Peter Angelopoulos had 2 helpers from that little offensive outburst. It seemed like this was a lead that the Buzzers would be able to carry into the intermission before they ran into some penalty trouble last in the period. A stretch that would include 2 two man advantages for the Jr Sabres. Nico Gonzalez, Pat Egan and Nick Smith needed only 1:35 to put Buffalo back in the lead and a 4-3 advantage that they would hold into the 3rd period.
The third period was all Buzzers. Star player and NHL draft prospect Jake Evans would tie the score at the 6:05 mark. Buffalo had trouble creating offense from that point on as the Buzzers were doing a great job of neutralizing their offensive attack. The powerplay that was red hot through the first 2 periods and had led to all 4 Buffalo goals would finally leave them astray. St Mike’s would take 2 penalties in the final 7 minutes of the game but during the second penalty kill Jake Evans would be the hero as he was able to find the back of the net 1:21 into the penalty kill. Now with the lead the Buzzers would lock down the Buffalo offence even more over the final 2 minutes to finish off the comeback. Once again the Buzzers found a way to beat a West division team and continue their unbeaten run against their conference foes.
West Division 3 stars
Pat Egan (Buf)
A big offensive week for the Jr Sabres offensive leader has he picked up 2g and 5A in 3 games including a pair of 3 point outings. For those on the milestone watch Pat picked up his 100th career OJHL point in the win against Georgetown.
Steve Hladin (Geo)
The leader of the Raider’s offense had another big week has he added 2 goals and 3 assists to his season totals. Unfortunatly for the Georgetown faithful the hometown team would drop all 3 games it played last week
Dylan Howatt (Buf)
The 3rd year Jr Sabres rearguard has only recently come back into the lineup. He let the rest of the West division know he is making up for lost time by picking up 4 assists in 2 games this past week. Adding him to an already solid backend will only make Buffalo harder to beat come playoff time.
Rookie of the Week
Dennis Gilbert (Buf)
The first year ’96 born defender came up big in an 8-5 win over Georgetown by scoring 2 goals. Gilbert is a player that really stood out to me at the Governors showcase in Oakville but who missed most of October with an injury. It was nice to see him finally score not only his first OJHL goal but his second in the same game.
Team of the Week
Buffalo Jr Sabres
Easy to come up with a team of the week when only 1 team wins a game. That being said it was a big 2 points for Buffalo as they knocked off the Georgetown Raiders at home to further solidify their spot ahead of the Raiders in the standings.
Game of the Week Preview
Milton Ice Hawks @ Georgetown Raiders Saturday December 21st 2013
Big playoff implicationgs with this match as Milton enters the week with a point lead on Georgetown although the Raiders do have 5 games in hand on the Icehawks. This will also be Ben Blackers final game before heading off to join team Ontario at the U17 championships. From Georgetown’s point of view this is a must win not only to cut into the Milton lead but to do so at a time when Milton’s next 6 opponents are all on the outside of the playoff picture in what is their easiest stretch on the schedule.
Milton won game 1 of the season series in OT back in September at home while Georgetown took the return engagement 8-1. It will be interesting to see what adjustments have been made and how these new look Icehawks will play against the Raiders. For those in the Georgetown area this game is a must see.