The weather wreaked havoc on the OJHL schedule this week and the west division was affected just as much as anyone. For the second Saturday in a row the Burlington Cougars had a game that was cancelled while the Milton/Georgetown game Saturday night and the Orangeville game Sunday were also cancelled.
The division would only go 3-7 this week with all 3 wins once again coming via divisional foes. It is looking more and more that only 3 teams will be making the playoffs from the division. That being said the order of 1 to 3 is far from etched in stone as Buffalo’s recent struggles have given Milton and Georgetown hope of a higher seed come playoff time. Without further ado here is the week review.
Game of the Week Review
Hamilton @ Orangeville
With the original game of the week between Georgetown and Milton canceled due to the ice storm I bring you the Saturday night tilt between the Redwings and the Flyers. While playoff aspirations may be long gone in Orangeville the Hamilton Redwings still have a glimmer of hope but with each passing loss the hill to climb becomes higher and higher.
The first period started with great flow as each team came out with the goal of picking up 2 points. Orangeville picked up the first penalty 7 minutes into the period but the Redwings were unable to cash in on the power play. With a little over 2 minutes remaining in the opening period Niko Porikos was able to cash in on the feed from Liam Bird. Hamilton would care the 1-0 lead into the intermission as well as an 11-10 shot advantage.
Less than a minute into the 2nd period ’97 born dynamo Cole Poliziani would give Hamilton a 2 goal lead. It seemed as though the Redwings were well on their way to a much needed victory. Unfortunately this is when some undisciplined play upended their plans. Almost within 2 minutes of each other they would lose both Justin Whitwell and Ryan Laufman to game misconducts due to checks from behind. While Orangeville was unable to capitalize on the power plays they did take advantage of the shorter bench later in the period. With 5 minutes to go in the 2nd Brandon Gaudette would get Orangeville on the board with a power play marker and with under 2 to go in the period Devon Gillham would tie the score at 2. Once again Hamilton held the shot advantage but Taylor Welsh held Orangeville in long enough for a comeback.
5 minutes into the 3rd period Hamilton would pick up their 3rd game misconduct of the game as Liam Bird and Matt Mercer of the Flyers would engage in some fisticuffs. 4 minutes later Connor Stack would pick up his 3rd goal of the season and 5th point in his last 5 games to give Orangeville their first lead of the game. With Hamilton knowing their season could be on the line they started throwing everything at the Flyers net. Taylor Welsh however stood tall in net turning away all 23 shots he faced in the 3rd period while helping turn away 2 power plays Hamilton picked up in the final 6 minutes of the game.
It was the 3rd time this season that Taylor Welsh had faced 50 or more shots with one other time also resulting in a victory. The loss was a tough one for Hamilton to swallow as they now drop 11 points back of the final playoff spot with the end of the season drawing close.
West Division 3 Stars
1)Steve Hladin (Geo)
The offensive dynamo of the Georgetown Raiders had another big week with 4 goals and 2 assists in 3 games played.
2)Taylor Welsh (Ora)
Due to the ice storm the Flyers only played 1 game this weekend but Welsh helped make it count has he turned away 48 of 50 shots in a 3-2 win against Hamilton.
3)Liam Clare (Geo)
The veteran defender had another solid week for the Raiders coming up big with a goal and an assist against Burlington.
Rookie of the Week
Michael McNiven (Geo)
The Raiders rookie goalie continues to put up stellar numbers between the pipes in Georgetown. 2 wins in 3 games while only allowing 4 goals. He also picked up shutout number 2 against the Burlington Cougars.
Team of the Week
With teams falling victim to poor weather all weekend the Orangeville Flyers were able to weather the storm in the Alder Street Arena by picking up a 3-2 win against the Hamilton Redwings. All 4 of Orangeville’s wins this season have come at home with this being the 2nd against the Redwings.
Honourable mention: Georgetown Raiders
Game of the Week Preview
Trenton Golden Hawks @ Georgetown Raiders Saturday January 4th
The Georgetown Raiders continue in their fight for 2nd place in the west division after taking 4 of a possible 6 points this past week. Trenton has meanwhile slide into 5th in the ultra competitive east division. In their previous meeting back in November Trenton was victorious with a 6-2 win. The 5 goals given up on 26 shots was the worst save percentage for Michael McNiven in a game so far in his young OJHL career. With points at a premium with the end of the season near it will be interesting how each team responds coming out of the Christmas break.