GTHL quartet advances to OHL Cup
The GTHL Semi-Finals are underway, with four teams booking their trip to the 2023 OHL Cup that begins Tuesday, March 28th at the Scotiabank Pond in Toronto.
The Toronto Marlboros, Toronto Jr. Canadiens, Mississauga Senators and Mississauga Rebels are all headed to the year-end showcase. Here’s a look at how they got there.
Toronto Marlboros – 30-6-0, 60 pts. (1st Place)
Following an injury-riddled first month of the season, the Toronto Marlboros have been collecting banners throughout the year.
Holding the #1 spot in the OHL Cup rankings from wire-to-wire this season, the Marlies were successful in their quests of winning the Whitby Silver Stick in November, taking home their own tournament in late December, the Marlies Holiday Classic, and most recently winning the Kraft Cup for securing the #1 seed in the GTHL regular-season. The Marlboros swept the North York Rangers to secure a spot in the GTHL Semi-Finals and the OHL Cup.
One of the most complete units we’ve seen in the U16 age group in recent memory, the Marlies feature a forward corps of nine productive high-level scorers, with the likes of 2022 OHL Cup champion and Canada Winter Games gold medalist William Moore, and fellow Team Ontario teammate Matheas Stark leading the charge, as well as an elite defensive group highlighted by Luke Dragusica.
Toronto Jr. Canadiens – 28-4-4, 60 pts. (2nd Place)
Coming into the season with high expectations, the Toronto Jr. Canadiens have gone toe-to-toe with the best of the U16 age group.
Despite coming up just short in both the championship game at the Wendy Dufton and in triple-overtime of the semi-finals of the Whitby Silver Stick, the Jr. Canadiens have still found themselves at the top of the heap, finishing the GTHL regular-season in second place with a 28-4-4 record. They swept their first-round matchup against the Toronto Young Nationals to clinch their spot in the OHL Cup.
A group that can match up with any team in the age group, the Jr. Canadiens are led up front by the likes of high-scoring forwards such as Nico Addy, Jake O’Brien, Luca Romano, and Chase Yanni. On the back-end, JRC carries one of the premiere shutdown-pairing units in Keagan Knight and Michael Lavigne, in addition to two impressive puck-movers in Luka Graziano and Xander Velliaris.
Mississauga Senators – 25-7-4, 54 pts. (3rd Place)
After starting the season claiming the first major tournament (the Toronto Titans Early Bird), the Mississauga Senators have been a consistent presence throughout the season.
Getting hot at the right time winning nine straight games to close out the regular-season with a 25-7-4 record, the #3 seed Sens booked their ticket to the OHL Cup following their opening round victory, winning three straight contests against the #6 seed Don Mills Flyers.
The Sense feature a very solid roster from top to bottom, featuring the likes of offensive talents such as Caden Taylor and Matthew Manza, as well as goaltender Jack Ivankovic leading the charge between the pipes.
The Sens currently lead JRC in their second round series, with the opportunity to move to the next round of the GTHL playoffs on Saturday afternoon.
Mississauga Rebels – 24-7-5, 53 pts. (4th Place)
A team that flew under the radar in the GTHL this season, the Mississauga Rebels have been a tough out for any team that has competed against them thus far.
Finishing the GTHL regular-season with a 24-7-5 record, the Rebels found themselves in an extremely competitive 4 vs. 5 first-round series against the Vaughan Kings. In four razor-thin matchups, it would be the Rebels who would pull away with the 6-2 series victory against the Kings, booking their ticket to the OHL Cup.
A team that brings a lot of firepower to the table, the Rebels will lean on the talents of Ethan Czata, Tristan Delisle, and Curtis Freeman as they look to close out their second round series in the GTHL playoffs against the Toronto Marlboros with a win on Saturday afternoon.