OJHL Power Rankings – October
With most teams at, or nearing the twenty game mark of their respective 2016-2017 campaigns, we bring you the second OJHL Power Rankings this season. While some teams have made some fairly significant moves throughout the rankings from our September rankings, a lot has also stayed the same as the top dogs, remain the top dogs.
1. Cobourg Cougars (16-2-0-0)
The month of October was kind to the 2017 Royal Bank Cup hosts as the Cobourg Cougars went an impressive 11-1-0-0 with their lone loss coming at the hands of a very talented Wellington Dukes squad. The Cougars find themselves winners of three straight and secured quality victories over Markham, Trenton, North York, Whitby and Stouffville during the month of October. Cobourg boasts tremendous depth both offensively and defensively and can overwhelm you with their size, speed and skill, something that has been evident in a number of wins this season. Despite that, the Cougars have gone out and made three key additions to their lineup in October, adding goaltender Matthew Menna from the OHL’s Flint Firebirds, forward Riley MacRae from the Erie Otters and twenty-year old former Buckland Cup Champion Quinn Syrydiuk from the Alberni Valley Bulldogs of the BCHL, were he had spent the 2015-2016 season following two championship seasons with the Toronto Patriots. The Cougars will be in tough in November as they head into a four game stretch where they square off against Georgetown, Markham, Trenton and Wellington.
2. Georgetown Raiders (16-2-1-0)
To the say the Georgetown Raiders are rolling would be an understatement. The Raiders head into November on a ten game unbeaten streak, with their loan “blemish” coming in their final game of the month, in a game that saw them battle to a 2-2 draw with a tough Burlington Cougars squad. Georgetown secured quality wins over Wellington, St. Mikes and the Jr. Canadiens in October, while feasting on some struggling squads in between. While Georgetown may have taken advantage of some in superior squads, winning games in the OJHL is know easy task and full marks go out to the Raiders. The Raiders have gotten balanced scoring through out the lineup and currently sit second overall goals for across the league. Leading the bunch is eighteen year old Clarkson University Commit Jack Jacome who has tallied 11 goals and 17 assists for 28 points through the first 19 games. Georgetown’s goaltending tandem of Josh Astorino and Jett Alexander has also been outstanding, as the duo spot a combined 2.05 goals against average and a 0.932 save percentage. A tough task is on the horizon however as Georgetown heads to Cobourg on November 7th.
3. Trenton Golden Hawks (15-3-0-0)
After an 8-0 start to the 2016-2017 campaign, the Golden Hawks went 7-3 through the month of October. While anyone who follows the league closely will tell you, those are simply hiccups along the road, however the Golden Hawks where not satisfied with their seven win month. Evidence of which comes in their continual attempt to enhance their roster. After acquiring Andrew Cordssen-David and Jeremy Pullara last month, Trenton added a trio of players in nineteen year old forward Connor Quinn from the Brockville Braves, goaltender Joseph Murdaca from the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads and most recently twenty year old forward Chris Sekelyk from the North York Rangers. Trenton, who is set to host the 2017 Dudley Hewitt Championship is setting themselves up to head into the tournament through the front door, despite playing in arguably the toughest division in Canadian Junior Hockey. It would be important to note that Trenton’s three losses in October came to high quality opponents in Whitby, Cobourg and Stouffville.
4. Whitby Fury (13-5-0-1)
Whitby remains fourth in the monthly power rankings after an October that saw them go 7-3 with high quality wins over Trenton, Stouffville, Wellington and Kingston. While the Fury surprisingly dropped a 3-1 decision to a lowly Lindsay Muskies squad, it was really the lone blemish in October as Whitby’s other losses came to tough Markham and Cobourg squads. Teams are allowed to have off day’s here and there, however playing in the OJHL’s East Division, the Fury simply cannot afford to drop points to teams like Lindsay in the future. Whitby has been excellent at home thus far this season, sporting a 10-2-0-0 record, opposed to just a 3-3-0-1 record on the road. Why is that stat line important? Because Whitby plays six of their next eight games on the road this month with two in Markham, one in Wellington and one in Oakville, where all three teams sport strong home records. The Fury have been getting strong offensive contributions from a quartet of veterans thus far with Nik Coric (31PTS), Ryan Heeps (29PTS), Luke Keenan (29PTS) and Ryan Taylor (28PTS) all thriving, mix in a solid start to the season by Austin Cain in goal and its really know wonder the Fury are off to such a strong start.
5. Stouffville Spirit (12-4-1-1)
After a 6-1 start to the 2016-2017 campaign, the Stouffville Spirt currently sit second in the OJHL’s North Division with an impressive 12-4-1-1 record. The Spirit were essentially rebuilt this off-season with a number of new faces making their debuts with the franchise when the season kicked off in early September. However currently leading the bunch offensively is returning defensemen Max Novick, who has put up an impressive 19 points in 18 games, following a 2015-2016 season that saw him tally 31 points in 46 games. Following closely behind Novick are a quartet of forwards in Josh Argier, Kyle Thomas, Joseph Teofilo and Andrew Hughes all of whom look poised for career years offensively, as Argier and Thomas have already surpassed their previous career high’s in points just 18 games into the season. While the offense is surely clicking, there’s much to talk about along the back end and especially in goal as Aaron Taylor and rookie Hunter Jones have been stellar. Stouffville plays 6 of 7 games at home this month, but do see Whitby, Wellington and Trenton come to town. Emerging from the month of November with a half dozen wins would speak volumes as to where this Spirit franchise sits heading into the last month of the calendar year.
6. Markham Royals (13-4-0-1)
The month of October didn’t get off to the greatest start for the North Division leading Markham Royals, as the club went just 1-3-0-0. The silver lining however, all three losses where to high quality teams in Wellington, Stouffville and Cobourg. Mix in the fact the Royals ended October on a six game winning streak and the final result was a 7-3 month. The Royals may play in a division in which only Stouffville really poses a threat to them, however Markham has stepped up against high quality opponents from the other divisions and secured victories, showing they can not only play with anyone in this league, but they are well deserving of their spot atop the North Division standings. Markham has gotten excellent contributions offensively throughout their lineup as eight skaters have already tallied double digits in points, led by 18 year old winger Rylee St.Onge who has racked up 20 points through 18 games. The month of November will be a tough one for the Royals as Whitby (x2), Cobourg, Wellington, Trenton and Stouffville all pop up on the schedule.
7. Oakville Blades (12-5-0-2)
Some how the Oakville Blades must be the most under-rated top ten club in the league. Oakville is absolutely loaded with talent up and down the lineup, boasting a roster with several NCAA division one commits, former OHL players and two talented netminders. Leading the way offensively is University of Vermont product Bryce Misley who sits with 10 goals and 14 assists in 19 games. Misley’s hot start to the 2016-2017 campaign has also led to his name being featured on the NHL Central Scouting’s pre-season rankings, alongside fellow teammate and University of Princeton commit Matthew Kellenberger. Kellenberger has also been excellent for the Blades playing significant minutes, while producing 7 points in his first 19 games. Factor in the likes of Ryan Foss, Jackson Bales, Christian Rajic, Drew Worrad, Jack Jeffers and veteran Chris Brill-Morgan an its know wonder the Blades lead the South Division in goals for. Even youngsters like Mathew Hayami, Jack Ricketts and Jeff Clarke have been solid, which only adds o the clubs depth. November won’t be the most grueling of schedules for the Blades, so they should find themselves even higher in the next OJHL Power Rankings.
8. St. Mike’s Buzzers (11-5-0-4)
The Buzzers went 6-2-0-2 in the month of October and currently sit in a first place tie with the Oakville Blades in the OJHL’s South Division. While the Blades do have a game in hand on the Buzzers, St. Mike’s month of October was fairly impressive as they earned a trio of victories over a pesky Buffalo squad, two wins over North York an a victory over an improving Mississauga squad. The Buzzers boast a roster full of talent, with 18 year old Cameron Wright leading the way. Wright is truly a “Late Bloomer” as the Richmond Hill native went undrafted in the OHL draft back in 2013-2014 but has since drawn interest from both OHL and top tier Division one NCAA schools and for good reason as the veteran winger leads the Buzzers in scoring with 14 goals and 11 assists in 25 games. Following closely behind Wright in club scoring is twenty year old Buzzers Captain A.J D’Orazio who is certainly leading by example with 23 points in 20 games. Mix in Princeton NCAA Commit Finn Evans, Cameron Searles and talented youngsters Devlin Shanahan and Jonah Alexander and you quickly see why the Buzzers are extremely relevant in the OJHL this season.
9. Burlington Cougars (10-6-3-0)
The Cougars find themselves ten points behind the West Division leading Georgetown Raiders, however certainly possess the roster capable of stacking claim to the division lead at some point this season. Burlington had an up and down month and their record through the month of October is a perfect example of that. Going 5-3-2-0 the Cougars saw numerous highs, and lows as they continue to try and chip away at Georgetown’s division lead, while also trying to keep the Buffalo Jr. Sabres behind them. The Cougars have a deep lineup, there’s know questioning that. However it’s bringing a consistently strong effort that has led to some down falls for the Cougars. Currently leading the way offensively for Burlington is Philip Lagunov. Still just seventeen years of age until November 22nd, Lagunov has thrived since coming over mid-way through last season from the Milton Icehawks. On top of his 23 points in 23 games with the Cougars last season, Lagunov has tallied 19 points in 19 games this season. The addition of 20 year old Zack Fisher from the Whitby Fury gives the Cougars more speed and another veteran point producer. If the likes of Kyle Moore and Michael Boushy could ever get going offensively, Burlington would become increasingly difficult to contain.
10. Kingston Voyageurs (9-5-1-3)
When I called the Oakville Blades the most underrated top ten team in these rankings, I may have forgotten about the Kingston Voyageurs. Kingston plays in the toughest division in the OJHL and don’t get a lot of credit for a team that sits with a 9-5-1-3 record. That may be, because they sit dead last in the East Division, however to put it into perspective, the Voyageurs 22 points place them eleventh overall in the league, just one point behind Burlington and four points back of St. Mikes, Wellington, Stouffville and Oakville. Kingston quietly went about their business in the month of October, finishing the month with an impressive 6-2-0-1 record and winners in four of their last five. Led by forward Danny Bosio who leads the league in goals with 17 and sits third in points with 33, the Kingston offense currently sits 2nd overall in the league, producing a ridiculous 89 goals through 18 games. However the biggest issue to date for the Voyageurs has been keeping the puck out of their net, haven given up 70 goals against, which is by far the most for any club with a record over .500. Eighteen year old goaltender Zach Springer has struggled some this season after taking over the starters role after backing up last season. However American Ryan Glander has come over from the NAHL’s Johnstown Tomahawks and stabilized the crease, going 3-1-0-0 in his first four OJHL starts.
11. Wellington Dukes (12-5-1-1)
The Dukes see the biggest drop down the rankings this month, going from second all the way down to eleventh. While it can’t be all bad since the Dukes still sit with a very impressive 12-5-1-1 record, the month of October wasn’t exactly kind to the Dukes either. Wellington went just 4-4-1-1, dropping games to Georgetown, Whitby, Trenton, Oakville and the lowly Pickering Panthers. In saying that its hard to miss the fact the games Wellington lost, with the exception of the Pickering game, were to high end OJHL clubs, and none were blow outs with losses against Georgetown, Whitby and Oakville all being one goal games. The Dukes will be fine, an will get shots of redemption as Whitby and Trenton are both on their schedule in November, as are the likes of Cobourg, Stouffville and Kingston. With upwards of seven tough games in the month of November, the Dukes will certainly face a tough task, however emerging on with some key victories will only enhance the clubs confidence as the season rolls into December. Former NOJHL 100 point man, Brayden Stortz continues to roll for the Dukes, leading the club and OJHL in scoring with a ridiculous 41 points in 19 games. What is even more incredible is teammate Nic Mucci sits just 6 points behind Stortz with an equally impressive 35 points in 19 games. The biggest issues for the Dukes is after Stortz and Mucci the production drops off as Brent House sits third with 18 points followed by defensemen Brody Morris and Justin Bean.
12. Toronto Patriots (10-8-0-1)
Last month the Patriots cracked the top 10 going 4-3-0-1. This month they find themselves sitting just on the outside of that top ten after going 5-5-0-0 through the month of October. The Patriots earned quality wins over Oakville, North York, Burlington and the Jr. Canadiens while also securing the points they were expected to get against Milton. While the five wins are certainly impressive, two losses to a lowly Orangeville squad are concerning. The Patriots battle with consistency despite a talent club, solid goaltending and seasoned coach. If Toronto can find the consistency that has seemingly come and gone thus far this season, they have top 10 talent and are a team I wouldn’t want to match-up against come playoff time. Andrew Petrucci leads the club offensively with 11 goals and 8 assists in 18 games, while Dante Spagnulo continues to prove he was a worth while pickup from the Trenton Golden Hawks, having tallied 10 points in his first 15 games as a Patriot.
13. Toronto Jr. Canadiens (6-9-1-2)
The Jr. Canadiens opened the season with a 2-4-0-2 record, which was somewhat surprising for a team that has a roster bursting at the seams with talent. With that being said it is important to note that most of the Jr. Canadiens most talented players, are their younger players. Example, Jack McBain. McBain is still just sixteen years old, but sits sixth in team scoring with 8 points in 17 games. Mathew Rehding, Scott Del Zotto, James Turner and Jeremy Smith are just a few more names that possess high end talent but are still rather young and adjusting to the OJHL game. Additions of Scott Docherty and David Sherman give the JRC a couple of veteran bodies to pick up the slack offensively, however if the Jr. Canadiens want to make a significant playoff push this season, they will need the youngsters to eventually begin to produce.
14. North York Rangers (8-8-0-1)
North York opened the season with a respectable 3-2 record and sat eleventh in the first OJHL power rankings of the season. However through the month of October the Rangers went just 4-6-0-1 and sit with a modest .500 record. The Rangers recently traded veteran offensive star Chris Sekelyk to the Trenton Golden Hawks, however they did receive a quality point producer in Ture Linden and young and talented defensemen in Ryan Radisa. The pair will undoubtedly help the Rangers down the stretch. This past month the Rangers earned wins over Oakville, Milton, Mississauga and the Jr. Canadiens and while the win over the Blades was impressive, North York dropped winnable games to Mississauga, Burlington and the Patriots, which led to their sub .500 record through the month of October. The Rangers are on the road for seven games in the month of November, however the positive there is the Rangers 4-3-0-0 road record.
15. Buffalo Jr. Sabres (9-8-1-0)
After a 5-3 star the Jr. Sabres continue to be an up and down club, hovering around the .500 mark with an overall 9-8-1-0 record. In the month of October Buffalo went 4-4-0-1, losing three times to conference rival St. Mike’s, while also falling to Burlington and the Toronto Jr. Canadiens. With that being said Buffalo did earn wins over Lindsay, Mississauga and Milton on two occasions. In some ways the Sabres lost the games they were expected to lose and won the games they were expected to win, which is exactly what you’d expect out of a team floating around that .500 mark. With a tough four game road trip that see’s Buffalo go through Oakville, North York, Trenton and Wellington, Buffalo will need to raise their level of play if they hope to stay above that .500 mark.
16. Mississauga Chargers (5-13-0-1)
Mississauga struggled through the month of September going just 2-7-0-0, however the month of October was much more kind to the Chargers as they picked up three wins, scoring victories over North York, St. Mike’s and Aurora. The Charges are a competitive bunch, however their youthfulness is certainly a factor in their struggles. Chris Karabassis is having a strong start to the OJHL season as he currently leads the Chargers in scoring with 8 goals and 7 assists in 18 games. Meanwhile the return of Brandon Yeamans from the OHL’s Mississauga Steelheads will give the Chargers some more grit and scoring as the undersized forward plays with a ton of jam and knows how to find the back of the net. Mississauga will continue to see it’s share of struggles as the youngsters learn the ropes, however Mississauga is a team that will beat you if you take them lightly as their young players boast an impressive amount of skill to their games.
17. Newmarket Hurricanes (6-13-0-1)
Newmarket got off to a rough 2-6-0-0 record, however since then they’ve put together a 4-7-0-1 record with three wins over Pickering and a quality victory over Kingston. Sure the Hurricanes took advantage of a struggling and depleted Panthers squad, but at the end of the day they picked up six points that will go a long way in them chasing one of the final playoff spots in their conference. The additions of Joseph Mizzi and Bradley Van Schubert from the OHL have enhanced the Hurricanes as Van Schubert gives Newmarket a bonafide number one goaltender, while Joseph Mizzi will significantly help what was a stagnant offensive attack. Todd Winder continues to produce at over a point per game pace offensively, while Alex Ierullo and Marco Bozzo aren’t far behind. The play of youngsters Bradley Johnson, Cole Thiessen and Sheldon Nolan provide Hurricanes fans with hope for what the future holds.
18. Pickering Panthers (4-14-0-1)
The Panthers started the season off with an 0-6-0-1 record, however since then they’ve gone a much more respectable 4-8-0-0. With victories over Orangeville, Lindsay, Aurora and the highly touted Wellington Dukes, the Panthers have showed they have what it takes to win games in this league, however a lack of experience is playing a large factor right now. The Panthers finally returned to a renovated Pickering Rec Centre in October and it undoubtedly played a factor in them earning some much needed points. However numerous suspensions and injuries have once again slowed the Panthers as they had upwards of ten players out in a recent loss to Cobourg. The Panthers top line of Adam Wheaton, Tiger McDonald and Davis Teigen-Katsumi has been a real bright spot, as has been the play of former Cobourg Cougar Russell Nowry. The return of Davis Kuksis will only help the Panthers in the coming months, while the play of youngsters Anthony Starvou and Daniel Tsiampas has only helped improve Pickering’s depth offensively.
19. Orangeville Flyers (4-12-0-0)
The Flyers struggled through the month of October, going just 2-6-0-0, however they did record two victories over the 12th ranked Toronto Patriots which was intriguing in its own right. It’s tough to see the Flyers struggle because they do have some high end talent on their club this season, however there simply isn’t the depth their needed to compete with the top teams in the league this season. Orangeville is led by Colin Rigney who is playing out his final OJHL campaign and will surely be a hot commodity at the January trade deadline. So far this season Rigney has racked up 7 goals and 12 assists in 16 games and has been the Flyers most reliable skater on a game-by-game basis. Getting Ruan Badenhorst from the Barrie Colts has given the Flyers a veteran presence to pair with rookie Nathan Torchia between the pipes, however Badenhorst, as solid as he’s been still hasn’t been enough to change the Flyers fortunes.
20. Lindsay Muskies (3-12-0-2)
At the time the first rankings were published the Lindsay Muskies had yet to earn a victory, sitting with an 0-6-0-1 record, since then the Muskies have earned wins over Whitby, Pickering and the Aurora Tigers to move their record to 3-12-0-2. While 14 losses in your first 17 games is nothing to write home about, the Muskies continue to battle their opponents hard and make a game of things on most nights, just ask the Whitby Fury who were upset but the Muskies. Lindsay doesn’t have much offensively outside of Cam Lamport and Noah Dollo, however rookies Braydon Leeking and Matt McNamara sure turn heads on a regular basis. Both Leeking and McNamara will likely be wearing OHL jerseys on a full time basis this time next season.
21. Milton Icehawks (3-13-0-0)
Milton opened the season with a 2-6 record, a far cry from great, but if you’ve followed the OJHL for the past couple of seasons, that 2-6 record was impressive for an Icehawks club that has struggled the past few seasons. Milton didn’t really build off that start as they have gone 1-7 since the last rankings were published and 0-7 through the month of October. Milton has some intriguing young pieces in their lineup, including leading scorer Justin Paul, who has 11 points in 15 games. Brad Yowart has been a strong veteran two-way presence along the back end, racking up 4 goals in 2 assists thus far, while Will Rawski doesn’t get the credit he deserves between the pipes. Rawski sports a 3-7-0-0 record and a 3.97 goals against average, however his .907 save percentage is impressive. Milton will face some tough times this year, but the pieces have been assembled for seasons to come.
22. Aurora Tigers (2-18-0-2)
The Aurora Tigers have fallen along way from their previous winning tradition. It’s been a trying year for a young and rebuilding Tigers squad that continues to battle, but simply seem to be outmatched on many of nights. Through the month of October the Tigers went just 1-11-0-1, with their lone victory coming against the 3-12-0-0 Lindsay Muskies who have also had their fair share of struggles. There have been a few bright spots lining the Tigers roster this season as Mel Melconian sits with 21 points in 21 games, while Eric Holland isn’t far behind with 17 points in 18 games. James Thomson has brought a physical edge along the blue line, while also contributing 6 points at the offensive end and rookie Tyler Davis has looked solid for a first year junior player after a solid minor midget campaign with the Markham Waxers.
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