Around the OHL – September 15

Michael Giugovaz enjoyed his first season with the Knights

Michael Giugovaz is in a precarious position.

Tyler Parsons of the London Knights. Photo by Terry Wilson/OHL Images.
Tyler Parson, London Knights. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

He is 20 years old and has never been a full-time starting goalie in the Ontario Hockey League.

That’s the same spot Jake Patterson found himself in last summer when, staring at a crease full of contenders, decided he was done with the London Knights.

Giugovaz has made it clear if the team doesn’t want him, they will have to tear the jersey off his back.

“You’ve put all the time and effort, from age five until now, and to give up on something is just not acceptable,” the potential over-ager said. “You lived for this moment to be on the big stage and make a career out of something you love to do, which isn’t a job. It’s fun. There’s no other way to describe it.

“I’m not going to let someone come in here and just because they have another person signed, change the way I come to the rink every day and prepare.”

Tyler Parsons has declared himself ready to carry the bulk of the load this year. Big youngster Emanuel Vella is the up-and-comer behind him.

But since Michael Houser left in 2012, there have been two London goalies to record at least 25 victories in a season — Anthony Stolarz and Giugovaz.

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Here’s looking at the OHL

What I see and what I don’t see as the 2015-2016 Ontario Hockey League season approaches.

Brandon Halverson of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images
Brandon Halverson of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds. Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images

DOG DAYS: The team that was supposed to win the OHL championship in 2014-2015 — the Soo Greyhounds — fell well short, losing in the Western Conference finals to the Erie Otters.

Ad nauseam, we continue to read about the 2014-2015 regular-season success of the Greyhounds and since-departed coach Sheldon Keefe and how he is the supposed next coming of Scotty Bowman.

But the fact of the matter is the Greyhounds underachieved in last spring’s playoffs. Keefe did not properly prepare the Greyhounds for star forward Connor McDavidand the Otters. Keefe was clearly out-coached by Erie’s Kris Knoblauch — and the Greyhounds and their fans paid the price.

Now, it’s a fresh start for the Greyhounds under new coach Drew Bannister, who does not have the overall talent to work with that Keefe did, due to mass graduation of star players to the pros. But Bannister is viewed as a rising star in the OHL coaching ranks and not only that, he is a well-grounded guy minus the smirk and ego of his predecessor.

Methinks the Greyhounds will be a solid fourth-or-fifth-place team in the Western Conference under Bannister, provided goalie Brandon Halverson plays up to potential.

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OHL goes to three-on-three for five minutes of OT, to reduce shootouts

Sure, it’s exciting — but for some Hamilton Bulldogs fans, a new Ontario Hockey League rule might also feel like a bad case of déjà vu.

The OHL is following in the National Hockey League’s footsteps by implementing a five-minute, three-on-three overtime period this season in order to reduce the number of games decided by shootout.

Teams previously played five minutes of four-on-four before resorting to penalty shots.

“If you’re standing on the bench watching the puck go up and down the ice chance after chance after chance, it puts a lot of pressure on your goaltenders and probably adds a few grey hairs,” said head coach George Burnett, “but I think it will be fun.”

The change, approved at an OHL board of governors meeting last month, comes one year after the American Hockey League decided to test out a seven-minute, hybrid OT, with three-on-three starting at the first faceoff beyond the three-minute mark. The extra period begins with four players per side.

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