The shuffling in the playoff race continued as Buffalo pulled ahead of Milton for first in the division. Georgetown meanwhile picked up a big 2 points against Burlington as Toronto and Oakville are suddenly breathing down their necks for the 6th seed. Burlington ended a 15 game winless streak with a home win over Orangeville while scoring more than 2 goals in a game for the first time since November. Lots of great action is on tap as the playoff race continues to heat up.
Game of the Week Review
Cobourg @ Hamilton
Coming off of a Friday night loss in Lindsay coupled with wins by Toronto and Mississauga this tilt with Cobourg carried extra importance to the Redwings. With points at a premium and the end of the season within sight this was a must win.
The opening stanza was a tightly contested period. Hamilton goalie Mark Sinclair stood tall helping turn away 2 Cobourg power plays in the first half. Hamilton would get their first power play in the 2nd half of the period but Cobourg goalie Mathieu Ouellet was equally up to the task. The strong goalie play carried thru the end of the period as the zero’s stayed on the scoreboard till the buzzer. Hamilton went into the break with a 9-8 shot advantage.
Within 5 mintues of the 2nd period the Hamilton Redwings would break the goose egg with Mitch Reid firing home the opening goal. Newly acquired forward Riley Dunda picked up an assist on the play giving him points in 3 straight games for the Red Wings. The Cougars were able to tie it up shortly thereafter with Nick Neil tying the score. The teams would trade power plays in the 2nd half of the period but the 1-1 score line would hold up going into the intermission. The play in the second had started to shift Cobourg’s direction as they held a 15-10 shot advantage that period.
The 3rd period was a tight affair with both teams playing evenly. Hamilton got the first power play of the third but were unable to capitalize as Ouellet continued to stand tall. Just as it expired Cobourg would get their first power play of the period but were unable to find an answer. They were however able to maintain the pressure from that power play and were rewarded 10 seconds after it expiered as Kenzie Smith would put the Cougars on top. A little over 1 minute later they would push the lead to two goals as Mitchell Gibson would pick up the insurance marker. The rest of the game was the Mathieu Ouellet show as he turned away everything Hamilton sent his way as Cobourg would hold on for the victory and deal Hamilton a serious setback in their playoff push.
West Division 3 Stars
1)Darren McCormick (Buf)
A 7 point week thanks to 4 goals and 3 assists helps McCormick pick up 1st star honours. 1 of 6 Buffalo skaters who is averaging over a point per game this season.
2)Nolan Sheeran (Buf)
After picking up 3rd star honours last week Nolan jumps up a spot to the 2nd star this week. Showed off his playmaking prowress by adding 7 assists to his season total including a 5 assist outburst Saturday in Orangeville.
3)Riley Dunda (Ham)
The newly acquired Dunda made his presence felt in his first full week in a Redwings uniform by picking up 2 goals and an assists. Unfortunalty for Hamilton they were only able to pick up 2 out of 6 points on the week.
Rookie of the Week
Josh Gabriel (Buf)
The ’96 born forward picked up his first career hat trick Saturday night in Orangeville and finished the week with 4 goals and 2 assists. Often over looked due to the veteran leading cast in Buffalo Josh is one of a handful of younger players who has quietly added enviable depth to the potent Buffalo offense.
Team of the Week
Buffalo Jr Sabres
2 big wins against Pickering and Orangeville has helped pull Buffalo ahead of the Milton Icehawks for 1st place in the West Division. After relying on major comebacks in their previous 2 wins there was little doubt with these two as the Jr Sabres outscored their opponents 18-4 in 2 games.
Honourable mention: Hamilton Redwings
Game of the Week Preview
Toronto Jr Canadians @ Georgetown Raiders Saturday January 25th
Another South-West conference game with major playoff implications as TJC has moved up with 2 wins this past weekend. Georgetown is just looking for some consistency as they are 5-5 in their last 10 with a rather symmetrical 24 goals for and 24 goals against. These two teams have yet to meet this season but will have plenty of time for pleasantries this weekend as game to of the season series goes Sunday in the back half of this home and home.