Currently Georgetown and Milton are tied for the division lead following 4 and 3 point weeks respectively while the Jr Sabres sit 3rd with 53 points. One thing Buffalo has going for it though would be 4 games in hand on the Raiders and 5 in hand on the Icehawks. Both the 3rd and 4th seeds in the conference are within reach of the 2nd and 3rd place teams in the West Division but a strong coming week will be needed as there are only 3 left in the season.
Game of the Week Review
Georgetown @ Milton
Friday night marked the 3rd time this season these two north Halton rivals had met with each team winning a game on home ice. With both teams so tight in the standings this game carried extra importance with how it pertained to the South-West conference playoff picture.
The first period was all Georgetown as they were looking to jump on the Icehawks early. Aided by 3 powerplay in the opening 20 as well as 2 10 minute misconducts, one to Patrick Arnold and the other to Shane Bennett the Raiders would hold a 13-7 shot advantage. Ben Blacker however was up to the challenge of facing fellow ’97 goaltending prodigy Michael McNiven.
Andrew Court would get the Raiders on the board in the first half of the second as the 16 year old forward was able to solve Blacker. Milton would give Georgetown their 4th power play of the game a minute later but once again Georgetown couldn’t cash on the advantage. At the 12:30 mark Mitch Graham and Gavin Shantz would go off for roughing. Shantz however was hit with a double minor and on the ensuing Milton power play Ryan Burns would tie things up. 1-1 is where things would stay till the end of the period but a Jeremy Gottzmann double minor for spearing would give the Raiders an early advantage to start the 3rd.
0-4 on the power play through two periods it was vital for Georgetown to find some special teams success early in the 3rd. Unfortunatly Ben Blacker and the Milton PK unit were up to the task. No matter what was thrown at them they had an answer as they withstood the 4 minute onslaught. That would prove vital for Milton as Kane Elliot would give them their first lead of the game less than 2 minutes after the penalty expired. From that point on it was the Ben Blacker show as he would turn away all 13 shots he faced in the 3rd and 40 of 41 throughout the game to lead Milton to a big victory.
West Division 3 Stars
1)Anthony Marra (Geo)
Anthony had 2 big games on Saturday and Sunday picking up 3 goals and 4 assists between the two. The offensive effort helped the Raiders salvage 4 points from their weekend after a disappointing loss to Milton on Friday night.
2)Daniel Poutsoungas (Mil)
Sometimes it is hard to get noticed when you play defence on a team with the offensive firepower that Milton has. On Friday night in a tight defensive battle it was Poutsoungas who stepped up for the Icehawks by assisting on both of their goals in what turned out to be a 2-1 victory.
3)Luke Sinclair (Ham)
While the Redwings were only able to pick up 1 point in 3 games this week it wasn’t for a lack of effort. Helping lead the charge on the offensive end was Luke Sinclair who had points in all 3 games and finished the week with 2 goals and 2 assists.
Rookie of the Week
Ben Blacker (Mil)
The rookie goalie had another big week for the Icehawks as he turned away 40 of 41 shots against the Raiders on Friday night. It was the 8th time this season he has turned away 40 or more shots and has a 7-1 record in such games.
Team of the Week
Won a big game Friday against Georgetown to keep momentum going into the coming week where they face the Raiders again before hosting the division leading Buffalo Jr Sabres. Unfortunatly they were unable to hold onto a lead against Lindsay on Sunday but were still able to pick up a point.
Honourable mention: Georgetown Raiders
Game of the Week Preview
Buffalo Jr Sabres @ Milton Icehawks Friday January 31st
The Icehawks have won the last 2 meetings in this series 6-2 and 5-2 after dropping the first game to Buffalo 6-2. Grand Island, NY native Shane Bennett has been a force against the Jr Sabres as he has tallied 4 times in those two wins. While all games are important in the final standings this one is more easily quantifiable so close to the end of the year as Milton heads into the week with a 1 point lead on Buffalo but with playing 5 more games. If Milton wishes to keep Buffalo below them in the standings this is a must win and a must win in regulation.
For Buffalo this is game 3 of 4 this week with other matches against Hamilton, Oakville and Burlington. Obviously the most difficult on paper it will be important to jump on Milton early to ensure things go better than the last time they visited the Hawks Nest.
Don't forget fans currently on the OJHL website voting is going on for the 2014 fan favourite award. So be sure to get onto the site and vote early and often for your favourite 2014 OJHL player.