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2018 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour: Meet the Teams

 

The 20 team stage is set as the 2018 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour is underway at the Scotiabank Pond in Toronto.

Here’s a fan’s guide to the competing teams:

 

LINDROS DIVISION:

London Jr. Knights (Regular season: 20-9-4, 2nd ALLIANCE)

Qualified: ALLIANCE Finalist (Lost 6-4 pts. to Brantford in ALLIANCE Championship Series)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (5-1-0-0, lost in semi-final to Mississauga Reps)

Players to Watch: George Diaco (F), Quinton Pepper (F), Sheldon Serraglio (D)

Notable Alum: Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack), Ryan Suzuki (Barrie Colts), Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph Storm)

Outlook: Last year’s ALLIANCE Minor Midget champs stunned the Toronto Marlboros in quarter-final play to reach the semis before a loss to the eventual OHL Cup champion Reps. Jr. Knights feature the ALLIANCE’s leading scorer in George Diaco and play their usual offensive brand under head coach Greg Benedetti.

Oakville Rangers: (Regular season: 32-0-4, 1st SCTA)

Qualified: OMHA Bronze Medalist (Defeated Barrie 5-3 in OMHA Bronze Medal Game)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2015 (1-3-0-0, 4th Shanahan Division)

Players to Watch: Cameron Tolnai (F), Jake Murray (D), Luke Evangelista (F)

Notable Alum: Evan Bouchard (London Knights), Brett McKenzie (Owen Sound Attack)

Outlook: High-powered Rangers went wire-to-wire atop the SCTA standings, going unbeaten throughout the regular season. Group features a wealth of talent all throughout the depth chart and looks to get back on track after falling short of their expectations at the OMHA Championships.

Vaughan Kings(Regular season: 19-7-7, 4th GTHL)

Qualified: GTHL Semi-Finalist (Lost 9-1 pts. to Toronto Marlboros)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (3-1-0-2, lost in semi-final to Toronto Nationals)

Players to Watch: Cole Perfetti (F), Ryan O’Rourke (D), Ty Tullio (F)

Notable Alum: Adam Mascherin (Kitchener Rangers), Nicholas Porco (Saginaw Spirit)

Outlook: Won’t find many better 1-2 punches than Cole Perfetti and Ty Tullio up front. Perfetti and defenceman Ryan O’Rourke reached the OHL Cup quarter-final as members of the Whitby Wildcats last spring, with Perfetti leading the club in scoring. Vaughan plays with pace and showed that they can skate with the GTHL’s best during the season.

Team NOHA

Qualified: NOHA Representatitve

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (1-0-0-3, 3rd Lindros Division)

Players to Watch: Pacey Schlueting (D), David Campbell (F), Hunter Brazier (F)

Notable Alum: Owen Headrick (Erie Otters), Damien Giroux (Saginaw Spirit)

Outlook: A team with several members of the GNML Minor Midget Showcase champion North Bay Trappers, Team NOHA has been very competitive in recent years, playing to three ties in last year’s showcase. Though they haven’t played together as a group, many of these players are familiar with each other and will look to form some quick chemistry out of the gate.

Peterborough Petes: (Regular season: 23-8-5, 1st OMHA ETA East Division)

Qualified: 4-0 Wild Card Play-In win over Niagara North

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2014 (0-1-0-3, 5th Lindros Division)

Players to Watch: Nolan Burke (F), Tyler Deline (D), Will Cranley (G)

Notable Alum: Riley Stillman (Hamilton Bulldogs), Cedric Ralph (Guelph Storm)

Outlook: A team that finished first in the OMHA ETA East Division, the Petes have proven capable on both sides of the puck and pair that combination with strong goaltending from Will Cranley and William Craig. They missed out on a chance to compete at the OMHA Championships after a 3-2 Play-In loss to Quinte and played with a chip on their shoulder to gain entry to the 2018 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour on Tuesday.

 

NASH DIVISION:

Toronto Marlboros: (Regular season: 29-3-1, 1st GTHL)

Qualified: GTHL Champions (Defeated Miss. Senators 8-0 pts., defeated Vaughan 9-1 pts., defeated Miss. Reps 9-5 pts.)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (3-2-0-0, lost in quarter-final to London Jr. Knights)

Players to Watch: Jamie Drysdale (D), Lleyton Moore (D), Will Cuylle (F)

Notable Alum: Taylor Raddysh (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Akil Thomas (Niagara IceDogs)

Outlook: GTHL Champions also won the Whitby International Silver Stick this season and feature some of the top young talent in the province. A team that can do it all, the Marlboros were the top-ranked team in all 17 editions of the weekly OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Top 10 Rankings this season.

Guelph Gryphons: (Regular season: 23-10-3, 3rd OMHA SCTA)

Qualified: OMHA Finalist (Lost to York-Simcoe Express in OMHA Championship Final)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2014 (2-2-0-1, lost in quarter-final to Chatham-Kent Cyclones)

Players to Watch: Logan Morrison (F), Jackson Kirk (F), Jack Harper (D)

Notable Alum: Connor Bunnaman (Kitchener Rangers), Austen Keating (Ottawa 67’s)

Outlook: The Gryphons emerged as silver medalists at the OMHA Championships and play an honest, hard-working game led by the dynamic duo of Morrison and Kirk up front. A team that got hot at the right time with a strong finish to the season and great showing at the SCTA Qualifiers.

Cambridge Hawks: (Regular season: 26-2-5, 1st ALLIANCE)

Qualified: Won ALLIANCE Wild Card Series (Defeated Sun County Panthers 6-0 pts.)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (0-4-0-0, 5th Nash Division)

Players to Watch: Joseph Serpa (F), Ben McFarlane (F), Peyton Adams-Matthews (D)

Notable Alum: Connor Hall (Kitchener Rangers), Zach Magwood (Barrie Colts)

Outlook: Undersized team challenges opponents with speed, battling for space and control of the puck. Coached by former NHLer and Guelph Storm head coach Scott Walker, the Hawks were the ALLIANCE’s first place team during the regular season, surrendering just 52 goals over 33 games.

Elite Hockey Group

Qualified: USA Invite

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (2-2-0-0, 3rd Nash Division)

Players to Watch: Dane Dowiak (F), Isaac Novak (F), Michael Cameron (F)

Notable Alum: Cam Dineen (Sarnia Sting), Jake Goldowski (Saginaw Spirit)

Outlook: Annual American entry gets a tough challenge out of the gate against a high-powered Marlboros club. Elite Hockey Group has talent up front along with a big defence corps, featuring four blueliners over 6-feet tall.

Sun County Panthers: (Regular season: 18-8-7, 3rd ALLIANCE)

Qualified: 5-2 Wild Card Play-In victory over Toronto Titans

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2012 (2-2-0-0, 4th Lindros Division)

Players to Watch: Matthew Maggio (F), Ryan Gagnier (F), Zane Dalpe (F)

Notable Alumni: Michael DiPietro (Windsor Spitfires), Eric Henderson (Oshawa Generals)

Outlook: Led by former OHL forward Mark Cadotte behind the bench, the Panthers boasted the ALLIANCE’s best offence this season, scoring 126 goals over 33 games. Sun County can score, but keeping pucks out will be the challenge this week against some of the province’s top shooters. Not a team to be overlooked.

 

SHANAHAN DIVISION:

York-Simcoe Express: (Regular season: 26-4-4, 1st OMHA ETA West Division)

Qualified: OMHA Champions (Defeated Guelph Gryphons in OMHA Championship Final)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2016 (5-0-0-2, defeated Toronto Marlboros to be crowned OHL Cup champions)

Players to Watch: Quinton Byfield (F), Cameron Butler (F), Evan Vierling (F)

Notable Alum: Robert Thomas (Hamilton Bulldogs), Cameron Hillis (Guelph Storm)

Outlook: OMHA Champions have a number of names drawing attention from OHL clubs but have struggled to put all of the pieces together at times this season. The Express ride a wave of momentum into the showcase and have a big centrepiece offensively in dynamic forward Quinton Byfield. They won an OHL Cup title two years ago and the Express will be in the thick of things again.

Mississauga Reps: (Regular season: 22-4-7, 2nd GTHL)

Qualified: GTHL Finalist (Lost to Toronto Marlboros in GTHL Championship Series 9-5 pts.)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (6-0-0-1, defeated Toronto Nationals to be crowned OHL Cup champions)

Players to Watch: Tristan Lennox (G), Owen Power (D), Jake Uberti (F)

Notable Alum: Jamieson Rees (Sarnia Sting), Nick Isaacson (Peterborough Petes)

Outlook: GTHL Finalists gave the mighty Marlboros a good fight before settling for second. Reps benefit from the strong goaltending of Tristan Lennox while a steady defence corps and offence-by-committee helped pave the way to a very respectable season. A team not to be underestimated in a week-long showcase.

TPH Hockey

Qualified: USA Invite

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (2-2-0-0, 3rd Subban Division)

Players to Watch: Noah Marino (D), Frank Jenkins (D), Kyle Van Compernolle (F)

Notable Alum: Jack Studnicka (Oshawa Generals), Blade Jenkins (Saginaw Spirit)

Outlook: A team that has featured some standout forwards in years past, TPH brings plenty of size up front boasting one of the biggest players in the showcase in 6-foot-6 Kyle Van Compernolle. The blue line will be depended upon as a group largely unfamiliar with each other gets accustomed in the early going.

Mississauga Senators: (Regular season: 11-18-4, 8th GTHL)

Qualified: 4-1 Wild Card Play-In victory over Quinte

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (0-3-0-1, 5th Subban Division)

Players to Watch: Sebastian Bulovs (F), Thomas Haynes (D), Luka Profaca (D)

Notable Alum: Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting), Michael Pezzetta (Sarnia Sting)

Outlook: Hard-working team had a hard time scoring goals at various points this season but struck for three in the opening 10 minutes against Quinte on Tuesday. Steady defenders Thomas Haynes and Luka Profaca log big minutes. Senators will need to be at their best against elite opposition this week.

Mississauga Rebels: (12-16-5, 6th GTHL)

Qualified: 1-0 Wild Card Play-In triple overtime victory over Grey-Bruce

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (4-1-0-0, lost in quarter-final to Vaughan)

Players to Watch: Rory Kerins (F), Nolan Dillingham-Morelli (D), Ryan O’Toole (F)

Notable Alum: Zach Gallant (Peterborough Petes), Peter Stratis (Sudbury Wolves)

Outlook: Came out on top of one of the longest games in OHL Cup history on Tuesday. A gritty, hard-working team that wins battles to create offence. The Rebels are back at the OHL Cup for a third straight year, looking for their third ever championship. The Rebels make it a Mississauga trifecta in the Shanahan Division as they go up against the Senators and Reps.

 

SUBBAN DIVISION:

Brantford 99ers: (Regular season: 19-3-1, 4th ALLIANCE)

Qualified: ALLIANCE Champions (Defeated Waterloo Wolves 7-5 pts., defeated Cambridge Hawks 6-4 pts., defeated London Jr. Knights 6-4 pts.)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2009 (2-2-0-0, 2nd Shanahan Division)

Players to Watch: Theoren Hill (F), Andrew Casasanta (F), Dylan Robinson (D)

Notable Alum: Holden Wale (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Daniel Murphy (Erie Otters)

Outlook: Cinderella story 99ers hoisted the ALLIANCE Championship trophy after a complete team effort put them past the London Jr. Knights as 2003-born Maddox Callens scored the game winner. Theoren Hill stepped up to lead the team in playoff scoring while steady defender Dylan Robinson was an anchor on the back end. Brantford returns to the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour for the first time since 2009.

Toronto Jr. Canadiens: (Regular season: 20-7-6, 3rd GTHL)

Qualified: GTHL Semi-Finalist (Lost to Mississauga Reps in GTHL semi-final 8-2 pts.)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (2-2-0-1, lost in quarter-final to Mississauga Reps)

Players to Watch: Dylan Robinson (F), Zayde Wisdom (F), Michael Bianconi (D)

Notable Alum: Ryan Merkley (Guelph Storm), Travis Barron (Ottawa 67’s)

Outlook: Dylan Robinson has been making things happen offensively all season and leads the Jr. Canadiens into action this week as they seek their first OHL Cup title since 2008. Team is coached by former OHL 100-point scorer Daniel Sisca.

Barrie Colts: (Regular season: 27-4-3, 1st OMHA ETA West Division)

Qualified: OMHA Championship 4th Place (2-2-0 at OMHA Championship)

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2016 (2-1-0-1, 3rd Shanahan Division)

Players to Watch: James Hardie (F), Alec Belanger (D), Cameron Snow (F)

Notable Alum: Morgan Frost (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds), Matt Brassard (Oshawa Generals)

Outlook: Solid group is led by 41-goal scorer James Hardie while standout defenceman Alec Belanger had well over a point-per-game this season. Colts are a well-balanced team that works until the final buzzer. They’ll look to rise to the challenge against the top teams in the province this week.

Thunder Bay Kings: (Regular season: 7-9-1, T-10th NAPHL)

Qualified: HNO Representative

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2017 (0-4-0-0, 5th Shanahan Division)

Players to Watch: Michael Stubbs (F), Nikolas Campbell (F), Eric Vanska (G)

Notable Alum: Cole Tymkin (London Knights)

Outlook: From the far reaches of Thunder Bay, the Kings travel a long way to compete at the OHL Cup and will look to improve upon an 0-4-0-0 showing last year. Michael Stubbs is Thunder Bay’s offensive engine but it’ll take more than just him to bring success to the boys in black and white this week.

Don Mills Flyers: (Regular season: 18-11-4, 5th GTHL)

Qualified: 2-1 Wild Card Play-In victory over Detroit Little Caesars

Last OHL Cup Appearance: 2016 (4-2-0-0, lost in semi-final to York-Simcoe)

Players to Watch: Matthew Perciballi (F), William Portokalis (F), Joe Vrbetic (G)

Notable Alum: David Levin (Sudbury Wolves), Noel Hoefenmayer (Ottawa 67’s)

Outlook: A team that stayed in the thick of things in the GTHL throughout the regular season,  the Don Mills Flyers hit adversity come playoff time, taking a first round exit before dropping a closely contested GTHL Wild Card Series against the Mississauga Senators. The Flyers are back though, taking a hard-fought win over Detroit on Tuesday on a game winner from Matthew Perciballi. Big netminder Joe Vrbetic is among the best in his class and gives the Flyers a chance to win with his solid play.

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