Four OMHA teams advance to 2023 OHL Cup
After a thrilling OMHA Championship weekend in Oakville, four teams have secured spots at the OHL Cup Showcase. Here’s a little about each of them.
Peterborough Jr. Petes (OMHA Champions) – 33-1-2, 68 pts. (1st Place, ETA)
It has been a season for the ages for the Peterborough Jr. Petes U16’s. The ETA champions have yet to lose in 2023, currently riding a 36-game unbeaten streak, a streak that includes two major overtime victories on back-to-back Sundays to secure both the ETA title and OMHA Championship.
Scoring both overtime-winners for the Petes is speedy forward Kaiden Harmon, who scored the game-winner last week against York-Simcoe, and most recently this past weekend, converting on a set-play to break a 0-0 tie in triple-overtime to defeat the Southern Tier Admirals in the OMHA Championship game.
Alongside Harmon, the Petes possess an extremely talented group from top to bottom, featuring fellow high-scoring forwards such as William McFadden and Joshua Avery, as well as cornerstone pieces on the back end in Ben Radley, and an impressive goaltending tandem of Masen Johnston and Eric Maki.
Southern Tier Admirals (OMHA Finalists) – 30-2-4, 64 pts. (2nd Place, SCTA)
A team that found themselves going toe-to-toe with the Halton Hurricanes all season long, the Southern Tier Admirals U16’s have been a thorn in the side of every team they’ve played against all season long.
After coming up just short of winning the SCTA’s against the Hurricanes, STA would get their revenge against their arch-rivals at the OMHA Championships, knocking the presumptive favourites out in the semis by a score of 2-1.
The Admirals play a heavy style, led by Noah Read, and Joseph Sinclair offensively, wielding an impressive defensive core featuring the likes of Team Ontario member Dryden Allen, Kaleb Dietsch, and Trent Vaillancourt. Between the pipes, the Admirals lean on the presence of one of the premiere goaltenders in the U16 age group, Isaac Gravelle.
Halton Hurricanes (OMHA 3rd Place) – 31-2-3, 65 pts. (1st Place, SCTA)
Although Halton did not achieve their goal of winning the OMHA’s, the #3 team in the OHL Cup rankings has been one of the most polarizing teams of the U16 age group. The SCTA champions come into the OHL Cup with a 51-5-7 record.
As complete of a group that you will see in the OHL Cup this season, the Hurricanes carry a roster that many OHL scouts have followed closely throughout the season.
The Canes boast a potent offence with names like Team Ontario forward Tyler Hopkins, SCTA goal-scoring king Tanner Lam as well as Brady Smith. On the blue line, the smooth-skating duo of Team Ontario captain Matthew Schaefer and Casey Bridgewater eats up big minutes. Halton can go toe-to-toe with any team that crosses their paths in next week’s tournament.
York-Simcoe Express (OMHA 4th Place) – 30-1-5, 65 pts. (2nd Place, ETA)
Another team that entered the season with high expectations, the York-Simcoe Express had an incredible ETA regular season, outscoring their opponents 272-46, finishing with a 30-1-5 record, three points shy of the Petes for first in the standings.
After stealing the show during the round-robin of last year’s OHL Cup as an underager with the Markham Waxers, Owen Griffin returned to the OMHA this season, scoring at a historic pace, tallying a total of 94 PTS (51 goals, 43 assists) in 35 games.
Alongside Griffin, Ryan Brown, Wesley Royston, and Jake Crawford round-out a high-scoring offence, while defensively, YSE is led by captain Isaac Oldenhof and Rylan Singh, two blue liners that can impact the game at both ends.