OJHL West Division Week 9 Review
The Buffalo Jr Sabres continued their march up the CJHL top 20 as they found themselves in 9th this week and the highest ranked team in the OJHL. Ben Blacker made team Canada East for the World Jr A Challenge but wouldn’t see any ice time till the 5th place game where he let in 7 goals against the Czech Republic. After 2 weeks off the Georgetown Raiders came back with 3 points in 2 games highlighted by Michael McNiven’s 1st career shutout. The Orangeville Flyers played a great game in Oakville Friday night but couldn’t get enough pucks past Brendan McGlynn and ended up losing all their games this week. The Burlington Cougars followed up their recent 5 game winning streak with a 3 game losing streak before halting that Sunday night against the Toronto Jr Canadians. The Hamilton Redwings halted their losing streak with a win against the Cougars Saturday night but a quick turnaround Sunday afternoon against Trenton ended in another lose. Now without further ado here is the week in review.
Game of the Week Review
Hamilton Redwings @ Burlington Cougars
The game of the week took place Saturday night at the Twin Wave in Burlington as the Cougars played host to the Hamilton Redwings a team that they trailed in the standings by 2 points entering the game. Their two previous meetings took place in the first weekend of the season as Hamilton came away with 4 points in those games.
It took a while for things to get going some penalties opened things up. With Hamilton on the PP they had a great chance as their defender walked in off the point only to have Morton cut down the angle and rob him. Unfortunately for the Cougars defender Jordon Brown took an unneeded cross checking penalty putting the Redwings 2 men up. While they were unable to score with anyone in the box they maintained possession after the final penalty expired and Alex Zaccaria threw the puck towards the net from the half boards and LaFrance tipped it past Morton to put the Redwings up 1-0. 2 minutes later the Redwings added to their lead by knocking in the puck in a goalmouth scrabble. This seemed to wake up the Cougars as the cut the lead less than a minute later as Lepore feed Dunda on a 2 on 1 that developed at the hash marks. With the score 2-1 Hamilton we headed to the intermission.
The Redwings started out with a bang on the fresh ice in the 2nd period with Nathan Gomes streaking down the wing past the Burlington defense. If it weren’t for the net getting knocked off Cole Poliziani would have put home the rebound. Cole though didn’t have to wait long to get his goal as he tipped home Justin Whitewell’s point shot to restore Hamilton’s 2 goal lead. Penalty trouble however allowed Burlington to get back in the game as Chance McDonald after being separated from some Cougars before the faceoff to a boarding penalty shortly after a faceoff. 2 penalties later and some 4 on 3 action and the Cougars were back within 1 as DeSousa knocked in the rebound off of a Burnett point shot.
One thing I noticed about the Redwings is that they may be the most physical team in the OJHL. It has it’s pro’s and its cons. At the 8:43 mark Niko Porikos called 2 and a game for checking from behind. From my vantage point at the blue wave arena it looked like he got shoulder from the side but it is the referees vantage point that matters most and he was gone. The good however came around the 11 minute mark as Mitch Reid laid a big hit on DeSousa as he was leaving the Cougars zone causing a turnover that gave the Redwings an odd man rush that was finished off by Chance Mcdonald and once again the Redwings had a 2 goal lead. This time it was the Cougars turn to turn physical play into offence as Corey Caruso got knocked half into the Cougars bench and instead of getting back into the play he had words with a few Cougars. This extra time gave Tyler Lepore an opening that he used to from the circle and we were heading into the 3rd 4-3.
The 3rd period got off to a slow start and it seemed as though the game would end 4-3 until of course Joel Knight dumped the puck in from center ice. That may seem like an odd turning point but throughout the game the Redwings seemed to be testing Morton with long shots and he was struggling with controlling them. Joel Knight flipped one from center and it hit the ice 5 feet in front of the net and bounced top corner on Morton and the Wings suddenly had an unexpected 2 goal lead again at 5-3. From this point on Burlington was throwing everything at Hamilton. Corey Foster was standing tall in net and when needed the post helped him out. Tyler Lepore seemed to be the main catalyst as he put a one timer on the PP off of iron then later in the 3rd had a clean break on Foster who somehow got a pad on it when he looked out of the play to preserve the 2 goal lead. Finally with a little over a minute to play Burnett sent a wrister towards the net that Ryan Wilkinson tipped home. Unfortunately for the hometown fans that was as close as they would get as the Cougars fall to the Redwings 5-4.
West Division 3 Stars
1)Pat Egan (Buf)
The Buffalo forward took over the OJHL scoring lead with hat trick against Burlington and then added to that lead with a 4 goal and 1 assist performance against Lindsay. 7 goals and 1 assist to cap off the 1st star performance.
2)Steven Mueller (Bur)
The Cougars were only able to pick up 1 win in 3 games this week but Mueller never quit as he went from 2 points to 3 points to finally 4 points in a win against the Toronto Jr Canadians. 5 goals and 4 assists in 3 games.
3)Max Mikowski (Buf)
A big week for the ’93 born forward as he helped Buffalo push their winning streak to 5 games. A 4 assist night against the cougars followed by 2 goals and 1 assist against Lindsay to round out a 7 point week in 2 games.
Rookie of the Week
Michael McNiven (Georgetown)
It seems whenever he plays he becomes the rookie of the week. This time it was on the backs of his 1st career OJHL shutout. The Raiders were playing their first game in 2 weeks and they seemed a bit rusty as they gave up 44 shots to Stouffville. That didn’t matter though as McNiven turned everything away.
Honourable mention: Corey Caruso (Ham) Was all over the ice against the Cougars Saturday and finished the week with 2 goals and 2 assists.
Team of the Week
Buffalo Jr Sabres
The rest of the division is having trouble knocking the Jr Sabres out from team of the week as once again they are the team. 2 more wins a 6-3 home win over division rivals the Burlington Cougars and then a 9-4 road thrashing of the Lindsay Muskies.
Honourable mention: Georgetown Raiders
Game of the Week Preview
St. Mikes Buzzers @ Georgetown Raiders Wednesday Nov 13th
A rematch of last season’s South-West Conference SF where St. Mikes prevailed against the Raiders. The Buzzers were able to win both games at the Mold-Master Sportsplex in a 4 games to 1 triumph. Currently both these teams sit 2nd in their respective divisions with St. Mikes going 6-3-1 in their last 10 and 5-0 against the West division although their last 2 wins have come via the shootout. Georgetown meanwhile is 8-2 in their last 10 while riding a 7 game win streak. Against the South division they are 4-0 with one of those wins coming via overtime.