Road to the 2018 OHL Cup: Exploring the North
We’ve taken a look across the GTHL, ALLIANCE and OMHA ranks and now, with one week remaining until puck drop at the 2018 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour, we survey the northern reaches of the province.
Two northern representatives will be in Toronto next week including Team NOHA, a squad featuring the top Minor Midget players from across North Bay, Sudbury, Sault Ste. Marie and Kapuskasing. They’re joined by the Thunder Bay Kings, an organization best known for producing members of the Staal family as all four brothers Eric, Marc, Jordan and Jared all spent time in the Ontario Hockey League.
Coached by former OHL scorer Richard Rochefort (1994-97), Team NOHA features a large contingent of the North Bay Trappers Minor Midget team, a group that won the Great North Midget League Minor Midget Showcase in Sault Ste. Marie last week with a 3-1 win over Thunder Bay. The Trappers played to a 17-7-0-0 record during the regular season.
Two-way defenceman Pacey Schlueting has been garnering attention throughout the season, racking up 34 points (13-21–34) in 24 games while crafty forward David Campbell led the team in scoring with 24 goals and 36 points. Other prominent contributors on the Trappers this season included Eric Lafontaine (13-15–28), Jesse Kirkby (10-15–25), Joe Jordan (11-12–23) and Jack Stockfish (6-13–19).
“Schlueting and Campbell are both very good prospects,” Director of OHL Central Scouting Darrell Woodley noted. “Team NOHA will be interesting to watch because I think we’ll see them put a pretty deep forward group on the ice. They should be able to throw three lines at their opponents and make things interesting.”
The GNML Minor Midget Showcase bronze medalist Sudbury Minor Midget Wolves will send core contributors Hunter Brazier (8-14–22), Justin Dauphinais (8-8–16), Giordano Biondi (9-11–20) and leading scorer Dario Beljo (8-22–30) to represent Team NOHA next week. Sudbury was 13-11-0-0 during the regular season.
The Thunder Bay Kings played to a 7-9-1-0 record in the NAPHL this season, being led by leading scorer Michael Stubbs (12-8–20). The Kings managed to slip by Sudbury in the GNML Minor Midget Showcase semi-final last week to earn silver at the tournament.
Team NOHA and Thunder Bay will be joined by a pair of American teams at the Showcase. Elite Hockey Group and the TPH Thunder make their return to the OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour as they work to finalize their respective rosters in the coming days.
Wild Card matchups for Tuesday March 13th were announced on Monday night with the Toronto Titans, Don Mills Flyers, Mississauga Senators, Mississauga Rebels, Peterborough Petes, Grey-Bruce Highlanders, Niagara North Stars, Quinte Red Devils, Detroit Little Caesars and Cambridge Hawks or Sun County Panthers battling for five Wild Card openings in the showcase.
The dust has begun to settle in playoff scenarios across the province as the GTHL’s Toronto Marlboros and OMHA’s York-Simcoe Express have emerged as champions of their respective leagues.
Here’s a closer look at playoff action throughout Ontario.
***The four teams that reach the GTHL semi-finals earn a 2018 OHL Cup berth. (Toronto Marlboros, Mississauga Reps, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Vaughan Kings). The winners of the GTHL Wild Card Play-In Series will earn a Wild Card Play-In game opportunity at the OHL Cup (Mississauga Rebels, Mississauga Senators). The Don Mills Flyers and Toronto Titans were chosen by the OHL Cup Wild Card Selection Committee and will compete in Play-In games on Tuesday March 13th.
(1) Toronto Marlboros vs. (2) Mississauga Reps
Marlboros win series 9-5 in points
GTHL WILD CARD SERIES A
(5) Don Mills Flyers vs. (8) Mississauga Senators
Senators win series 9-5 in points
GTHL WILD CARD SERIES B
(6) Mississauga Rebels vs. (7) Toronto Titans
Rebels win series 9-5 in points
*** The champion, finalist (London Jr. Knights, Brantford 99’ers) and third place team qualify for the 2017 OHL Cup
(2) London Jr. Knights vs. (4) Brantford 99’ers
Brantford leads series 4-2 in points
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
London: (F) George Diaco (33 GP, 23G, 29A, 52 PTS.)
Brantford: (F) Andrew Casasanta (33 GP, 13G, 25A, 38 PTS.)
ALLIANCE WILD CARD SERIES
(1) Cambridge Hawks vs. (3) Sun County Panthers
Cambridge leads series 4-0 in points
PLAYERS TO WATCH:
Cambridge: (F) Joseph Serpa (33 GP, 14G, 26A, 40 PTS.)
Sun County: (F) Matthew Maggio (33 GP, 20G, 24A, 44 PTS.)
***The OMHA champion York-Simcoe Express, Guelph Gryphons, Oakville Rangers and Barrie Jr. Colts have clinched at spot at the 2018 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour. The fifth place Quinte Red Devils and SCTA’s Grey-Bruce Highlanders will play a Wild Card Play-In Game. The Peterborough Petes and Niagara North Stars were chosen by the OHL Cup Wild Card Selection Committee to also compete in a Wild Card Play-In game.
OMHA CHAMPIONSHIP GAME
York-Simcoe Express defeat Guelph Gryphons 3-1
OMHA CHAMPIONSHIP FINAL STANDINGS
- York-Simcoe Express
- Guelph Gryphons
- Oakville Rangers
- Barrie Jr . Colts
- Quinte Red Devils (OHL Cup Wild Card Play-In Game)
OMHA SCTA WILD CARD PLAY-IN QUALIFIER
Grey-Bruce Highlanders defeat Brampton 45’s 5-2
For more information on the 2018 OHL Cup Showcase Tournament Powered by Under Armour, visit ohlcup.ca.