Road to the 2018 OHL Cup: A look at the ETA


There’s lots to see in the OMHA’s ETA circuit this year, with players ranging from likely top-20 selections to some very reliable mid-round OHL Priority Selection options that are putting their best foot forward in the playoffs.

The ETA is down to its final four, with three of those clubs able to secure a spot in the 2018 OMHA Championship set for March 2-4 in Aurora, Ont.

The York-Simcoe Express and the ETA’s first place Barrie Colts are both one win away from punching their ticket to the OMHA Championships. As the host team, should York-Simcoe qualify by reaching the league final, the losing teams of both semi-final series would square off in a one-game playoff to decide who will advance to the OMHA Championships.

The Express have been included in 12 of the 14 editions of the weekly Top 10 rankings this season, boasting a talented forward group and a blue line that gets things done by committee.

“There aren’t many teams in the province that can match what York-Simcoe brings offensively in Quinton Byfield, Evan Vierling, Cameron Butler and Ty Collins,” said OHL Director of Central Scouting Darrell Woodley. “When I compare them to the Express team that won the 2016 OHL Cup, I think they might have more top-end talent on this roster.”

York-Simcoe has struggled to put everything together at times this season, but ended the campaign on a four-game winning streak before winning five straight playoff matchups headed into Thursday’s Game 3 against Peterborough.

The Petes finished as the top team in the ETA East Division with a 23-8-5 record. They’re looking to make their first OHL Cup appearance since 2014 with a roster built around reliable two-way centreman Nolan Burke up front along with offensive sidekick Kalvyn Watson. Smooth-skating defenceman Tyler Deline sees big minutes on the back end while goaltenders Will Cranley and Will Craig have proven to be a solid tandem in the crease.

The other semi-final series sees the Barrie Colts leading the Quinte Red Devils 4-0 in points headed into Game 3 action on Thursday.

The 27-4-3 Colts have been a Top-10 team in 10 out of 14 weeks this season, relying on a forward core led by 41-goal scorer James Hardie. Tyson Foerster, Rylee Hlusiak and Cameron Snow also factor prominently up front while offensive-minded blueliner Alec Belanger finished the season with 46 points (16-30–46).

“Barrie is a structured team that has shown that they can skate against the best teams in the province,” said Woodley. “There’s a lot to like when they’re on their game and it will be interesting to see how they fare over the next couple weeks.”

The Colts are up against the Quinte Red Devils who fought their way into the second round following a six-game duel with the Clarington Toros.

Not flashy but reliable, standout Quinte centreman Isaac Langdon finished tied with the team lead in goals with 21 along with opportunistic forward Jacob Gilbert. Undersized speedster Jacob Vreugdenhil also factors in offensively while defencemen Ben Roger and Cole McGuire are proven competitors.

“I think we’ll see a good number of ETA players chosen in the 2018 OHL Priority Selection,” said Woodley. “The talent level is certainly there this year and I think there are a lot of players that, though they might need another year of development, could eventually develop into solid OHL performers.”

The top four teams from the OMHA Championships will secure a spot in the 2018 OHL Cup Powered by UnderArmour while the fifth place team will compete on Wild Card Play In Day.

Here’s a look at what’s happening in playoff action across the province.



***The four teams that reach the GTHL semi-finals earn a 2018 OHL Cup berth. (Toronto Marlboros, Mississauga Reps, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Vaughan Kings)

(1) Toronto Marlboros vs. (2) Mississauga Reps
Marlboros lead series 4-0 in points

Marlboros: (D) Lleyton Moore
Reps: (D) Owen Power


*** The champion, finalist and third place team qualify for the 2017 OHL Cup

(1) Cambridge Hawks vs. (4) Brantford 99’ers
Series tied 2-2 in points

Cambridge: (F) Joseph Serpa (33 GP, 14G, 26A, 40 PTS.)
Brantford: (F) Tanner Bibby (31 GP, 16G, 13A 29 PTS.)

(2) London Jr. Knights vs (3) Sun County Panthers
London wins series 6-0 in points


***The champion and finalist in the ETA Championship, along with the host York-Simcoe Express and champion and finalist from the SCTA will compete in the 2018 OMHA Championship at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora from March 2-4. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams at the OMHA Championship will qualify for the 2018 OHL Cup.


(1E) Peterborough Petes vs. (2W) York-Simcoe Express
York-Simcoe leads series 4-0 in points

Peterborough: (D) Tyler Deline (35 GP, 5G, 14A, 19 PTS.)
York-Simcoe: (F) Ty Collins (31 GP, 31G, 37A, 68 PTS.)

(1W) Barrie Colts vs. (3E) Quinte Red Devils
Barrie leads series 4-0 in points

Barrie: (F) James Hardie (34 GP, 41G, 29A, 70 PTS.)
Quinte: (D) Ben Roger (33 GP, 8G, 14A, 22 PTS.)


***The SCTA qualifier weekend took place February 10-11 in Fort Erie, ON. The champion and finalist from that tournament will compete against the champion and finalist from the ETA along with the host York-Simcoe Express in the 2018 OMHA Championships at St. Andrew’s College in Aurora, ON from March 2-4. The 1st, 2nd, 3rd and 4th place teams at the OMHA Championship will qualify for the 2018 OHL Cup.

(1) Oakville Rangers vs. (6) Grey-Bruce Highlanders
Oakville wins series 6-0 in points

(3) Guelph Gryphons vs. (9) Brampton 45’s
Guelph leads series 5-1 in points

Guelph: (F) Andrew Britton (41 GP, 20G, 27A, 47 PTS.)
Brampton: (F) Carder Edmonds (41 GP, 10G, 7A, 17 PTS.)

For more information on the 2018 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament Powered by Under Armour, visit

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