3 OJHL west teams picked up points in all their games this week as Burlington went 3-0, Georgetown 2-0 and Buffalo 2-0-1. Burlington and Milton hooked up for another trade as captain Jeremy Gottzman and Dman Mark Rowe headed to Milton while Viktor Mueller is now a Cougar. Hamilton snapped a 4 game losing streak by knocking of Newmarket while Milton and Orangeville were both winless. Week 8 in the OJHL will be highlighted by the Canada East selection camp in Oakville for the Jr A challenge but this is a review for week 7 so let’s get at that.
Game of the Week Review
Buffalo Jr Sabres @ Georgetown Raiders
What happens when you get a team that has won 5 of 6 hosting the #17th ranked team in the country who themselves have won 6 of 7? Well you get the OJHL west division game of the week. The Buffalo Jr Sabres came into this one fresh off of 2 wins earlier in week 7 over Orangeville and Oakville while Georgetown also had a win against Orangeville. Both these teams came in hot playing some of their best hockey of the year as the resurgent Raiders were looking to chip away at the Buffalo lead in the division.
The Sabres came out strong in this one holding a shot advantage in the 1st period 11-6. Neither team was able to cash in on the power play as Buffalo was 0-2 and Georgetown was 0-1. Michael McNiven was standing tall in net for the Raiders while Jr Sabres back up Brandon Mueller continued his strong recent play in net. With the teams deadlocked at zero’s we move to the 2nd period.
The 2nd just like the 1st it was the goalies were on top of their game. This time however it was the Raiders who held the shot advantage 14-10 as it seemed their 2nd game in 2 nights was catching up to Buffalo. Georegtown was unable to connect on 3 PPs in the 2nd while Buffalo misfired on their only chance on the man power advantage. Once again we were deadlocked at zero’s at the end of a period
With a tight game and the goalies shining it seemed like whichever team would be able to figure out their power play would be the ones who would come out on top. At 5:34 of the 3rd Buffalo would get that chance. With Richard Court in the box for hooking Darren McCormick would connect with his 4th goal of the week to give the Jr Sabres the first lead of the game. For the next 9 minutes it looked like it would be enough but Raiders forward Anthony Marra had different ideas as with just under 5 to go he would tie the game up at 1’s with his 2nd goal and 4th point of the week. For the 2nd week in a row the Georgetown Raiders would be playing some free hockey on a Saturday night as were O.T. bound.
Overtime was all Georegtown as they outshot Buffalo 5-0 in the extra frame while aided by a man advantage with Jr Sabres Dman Brandon Schaber in the box for boarding. Brandon Mueller once again was proving the value of having a solid back up as he turned everything away. In his last 4 starts Mueller has allowed 4 goals in 245 minutes of play and is sporting a Save % of .966.
Since overtime solved nothing we were about to find out which team would lose their first shootout of the season as both teams had won their only previous trip to the shootout. Through the first round of 3 shooters the only skaters who were able to solve the goalies were the games goal scorers McCormick and Marra. It would have to be won by someone who didn’t score and Liam Board would be that man who would play hero as he solved Mueller to seal the W for the Raiders.
West Division 3 Stars
1)Michael McNiven (Geo)
There may not be a hotter goalie in the OJHL right now than Michael McNiven of the Georgetown Raiders. 6 wins in 6 starts to begin his OJHL career with 2 of those coming this week to go along with a .969 Save %
2)Neil Aird (Bur)
4 goals and 1 assist in helping lead the Cougars to 3 wins this week. Picked up a hat trick in the game against the Orangeville Flyers
3)Nick Desimone (Buf)
The OJHL leader in scoring among defensemen had another strong week as he picked up 2 goals and 2 assists as he helped the Buffalo Jr Sabres pick up 5 of a possible 6 points.
Rookie of the Week
Michael McNiven (Georgetown)
Second straight week we have Michael McNiven as rookie of the week and with 2 wins and a .969 save% it is hard to argue. It seems the only thing that can stop him is the schedule makers and that is what will happen as the Raiders now have 2 weeks before their next game.
Honourable mention: Carl Greco (Bur) the Burlington defender picked up 2 goals in the Cougars 6-3 win over Orangeville Saturday
Team of the Week
The Cougars were a perfect 3 for 3 this week and now have 9 points in their last 5 games. This hot streak has come at the right time as the Cougars have now pulled within 4 points of 6th place in the South-West conference. Not bad for a team who picked up only 1 win in their first 12 games.
Honourable mention: Georgetown Raiders
Game of the Week Preview
Hamilton Red Wings @ Orangeville Flyers Saturday November 2nd 2013
Week 8 has a light schedule involving west division teams with Georgetown having the whole week off and Buffalo playing all non-divisional opponents. The game of the week comes Saturday night as the Hamilton Red Wings head up north to take on the Orangeville Flyers. The Flyers are looking to get back in the win column as they have lost 4 straight and been outscored 22-7 since their 1st win of the year. Can they take advantage of a Red Wings team who has 1 win in their last 5? It may not look like much on paper but neither did the Orangeville/Trenton game but we all know how that turned out.