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Great eight prepare for Quarter-Final matchups

 

The 2019 OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour quarter-final field is set as eight teams remain on the road to Minor Midget supremacy.

The province’s first and second ranked Don Mills Flyers and Toronto Marlboros each played to undefeated 4-0 records in preliminary play while the Detroit Little Caesars, Halton Hurricanes, Mississauga Rebels, Quinte Red Devils, Toronto Red Wings and TPH Hockey also advanced to the showcase’s great eight showdown on Saturday morning.

Here’s a look at Saturday’s four quarter-final matchups:

 

Detroit Little Caesars (3-1-0) vs. Halton Hurricanes (3-1-0) – 10:00am

The Detroit Little Caesars and Halton Hurricanes begin Saturday’s action squaring off in the first quarter-final matchup of the morning.

Two American teams have qualified for the quarter-final for the first time since 2008, with the Detroit Little Caesars bursting onto the scene this year with a 3-1 record. Earning shutouts in two of their three wins, netminder Zak Brice is the event’s only goaltender with two shutouts to his name, posting a 1.26 goals-against average and .942 save percentage over a showcase-leading 179 minutes.

Griffin Jurecki (3-5–8) leads Detroit in tournament scoring while blueliner Luke Hughes (2-1–3), the younger brother of GTHL graduates Quinton and Jack Hughes, is among the showcase leaders with a plus-9 rating.

Recognize some familiar names? The Little Caesars feature the sons of long-time NHL forwards Patrik Stefan and Bryan Smolinski. A recent signee with the WHL’s Portland Winterhawks, James Stefan (2-1–3) wears the ‘C’ for Detroit while defenceman Max Smolinski (1-2–3) has seen plenty of ice on the back end.

One of the early surprises of the showcase, the Halton Hurricanes defeated the province’s third-ranked Toronto Nationals 3-2 to open their schedule before blanking TPH Hockey 3-0. Goaltenders Matteo Drobac and Braedyn McIntosh have both been busy, each posting save percentages north of .940.

Recently named OMHA SCTA Player of the Year and Hurricanes captain Lawson Sherk (4-3–7) leads the team in scoring while speedy forwards Jordan Adams (2-3–5) and Joseph Meleca (2-3–5) each have five points. Regular season 30-goal scorer Ethan Burroughs (2-2–4) has also been a factor, giving the Canes a dangerous presence around the net.

The Little Caesars and Hurricanes both come off losses in their round robin finale’s with Detroit falling to the Don Mills Flyers 3-0 and Halton losing in overtime to the North York Rangers by a score of 3-2.

 

TPH Hockey (3-1-0) vs. Don Mills Flyers (4-0-0) – 10:30am

TPH Hockey returns to the quarter-finals for the first time since 2013 and they’ll have their hands full, facing the province’s top-ranked Don Mills Flyers.

After being shutout by Halton in their opener, TPH has stormed back with consecutive wins over the Toronto Nationals, North York Rangers and Brantford 99ers. Ryan Humphry scored twice and added an assist against Brantford on Friday afternoon, climbing into the team scoring lead with seven points (4-3–7). Connor Miller (1-5–6) has been the team’s top playmaker while Jared Mangan (2-0–2) and big forward Sutter Muzzatti (2-0–2) have scored twice.

The Flyers have surrendered a tournament-low four goals while boasting five different players with at least six points. Exceptionally talented underage forward Shane Wright (3-6–9) sits tied with Francesco Arcuri (3-6–9) for the team scoring lead while sharpshooting winger Brennan Othmann (5-3–8) leads the Flyers with five goals.

Don Mills comes off its biggest test yet, defeating the previously undefeated Detroit Little Caesars by a score of 3-0 on Friday afternoon as Sergei Litvinov posted a 15-save shutout.

The Flyers return to the quarter-final for the first time since 2016, a year they lost to the eventual OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour champion York-Simcoe Express in semi-final play.

 

Quinte Red Devils (3-1-0) vs. Toronto Red Wings (3-1-0) – 11:45am

The OMHA’s fourth place Quinte Red Devils meet the GTHL Semi-Finalist Toronto Red Wings in Saturday’s third quarter-final matchup.

Quinte battled the Toronto Marlboros in a 5-3 loss to open the tournament before responding with three straight wins. The go-to connection of Daniel Michaud (5-2–7) and Luke LaPalm (4-4–8) has been dangerous as ever this week, with the two combining for 15 points over four games.

The Toronto Red Wings will have last change as the home team on Saturday morning as they come off a 5-4 overtime win over the Kitchener Jr. Rangers. Star forward Francesco Pinelli capped a hat-trick with the game winner that came with eight seconds remaining in the extra frame. Pinelli leads the Wings with seven points (5-2–7) over four games while Luca Del Bel Belluz (3-1–4) joins Justin Ertel (2-2–4), Adam Fantilli (2-2–4) and Nolan Dann (1-3–4) with four points.

Expect a fast-paced, back-and-forth matchup when these two teams hit the ice.

 

Mississauga Rebels (3-1-0) vs. Toronto Marlboros (4-0-0) – 12:15pm

A pair of Friday wins gave the Mississauga Rebels what they needed to secure a quarter-final berth, defeating two capable opponents in Team NOHA along with the Whitby Wildcats.

The Rebels, who lost in the final minute of a seven-game series against the Toronto Red Wings in the second round of the GTHL playoffs, are the lone wild card team left standing. Hard-working winger Zito Pasquale (3-3–6) joins Max Donohoe (1-5–6) with six points this week while crafty forward Jesse Fishman (4-1–5) has four goals in as many games.

Undersized but athletic Rebels netminder Justin Wu has been among the tournament’s best, posting a 1.75 goals-against average and .909 save percentage over four games.

Across the ice, the high-scoring Toronto Marlboros boast tournament scoring leader Wyatt Johnston (4-8–12) while Marc Boudreau (5-4–9), Jack Beck (3-5–8) and defenceman Logan Mailloux (1-7–8) also have at least eight points.

A team that plays at high-speed, the Marlboros also boast a big blue line with five defencemen standing at least 6-foot-2.

The Marlboros took two of the three meetings between the two clubs during the GTHL regular season.

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