OJHL Final Preview

After 6 and a half months, the final two teams are left standing as the Georgetown Raiders and the Trenton Goldenhawks will be competing in the final best of 7 series for the OJHL Buckland Cup. A true Jr A championship in the province of Ontario. Right up there with the Bogart Cup of the CCHL and the Copeland Cup-McNamara Trophy of the NOJHL.

 This year the best two teams are in the finals. The Southwest Conference champions, The Georgetown Raiders and the Northeast Conference Champions, Trenton Goldenhawks.

 For the Goldenhawks, they were the wire to wire team to beat in the Northeast conference and the in the OJHL. On the backend the team was lead by Daniel Urbani between the pipes who posted amazing numbers, almost video game like statistics, including a 1.69 GAA and a .930 SV%. He also posted a leagues best  5 shutouts in his 40 games played this season.

The blue line is patrolled by 6 strong individuals who may not be involved in a lot of scoring, but they definitely know how to stop the puck at the blue line and frustrate the opposition. Adam Clements was the D’s leading scorer with 7 goals and 34 points through 37 games. Jordan DaSilva, Blayne Oliver, Josh Allan, Brandon Marinelli and Nick Boddy and Chays Ruddy make up the other 6 patrolling blue liners. These 6 combined for 12 goals and 93 points. Again, not a scoring group, but definitely get the puck to the net. Even in the playoffs, this group has combined for a little more, netting 12 and racking up 34 points through 13 games… that is more back end umph per game than in the regular season.

 The Forwards are never in question. Danny Hanlon, Mitch Emerson, Hunter Fargey, Liam Morgan and Kevin Lavoie all put up 20 goals in the regular season, 115 in total. and in the playoffs, they combine for 22 through 13 games. A bit of a surprise is Lucas Brown with his team leading 8 in the playoffs who put up 12 through 44 games in the regular season.

The offence is potent, the goaltending is solid, Special teams? #1 PP in the playoffs, #1 PK in the playoffs, 32.69% and 95.45%, a whopping 128.14% combined. And this is a sport where anything over a combined 100% is great.

How do you beat the Goldenhawks? There isn’t an easy answer. Newmarket and Wellington figured it out… twice this season. But in the playoffs Trenton made good and took them both out in a combined 9 games. In fact, Wellington has given them the lone blemish in these playoffs as Trenton advanced by sweeping Kingston, playing only 13 games.

Whatever the answer is to the question how do you slow the Goldenhawks down. I am sure Greg Walters, Head Coach and GM of Georgetown will find the answer.

 Switching to the Raiders… They seem to just get better with age. And by age I mean more games under their belt. Their season wasn’t a dominate affair like many are use to seeing. For a good period of time both Orangeville and Burlington were the best team in the division, arguably the southwest conference.  As the season went on, Georgetown began to really assert their dominance, even as Buffalo climbed up the standings to compete for the top spot. In the end the Raiders claimed their 2nd straight conference title.

 In between their pipes is arguably the best goalie in the OJHL this year, Andrew Masters. If you are asking me, I say he has the advantage over Urbani. The only statistical advantage that Masters had was a greater save percentage, beating Urbani by .004 while facing 318 more shots than Urbani, an average of 8 shots more per game and although 8 shots doesn’t seem like much, take a quick look at what workload can do to a netminder. Last year Andrew Lee faced an average of 39 shots a game and had a 2-8 record. This year, he faced an average of 29 shots a game and cut his GAA by 2 whole goals from 4.84 to 2.80. Don’t tell me goalies can’t be over worked and tire out.

 But back to the point. Andrew Masters has the leg up in the net when compared to his counterpart, at least in my mind given the workload he carried.  The defence is similar to Trenton’s that the D can add to the offence, but are there to stop the opposition first and foremost. Matthew Cairns lead the blueline in scoring with 9 goals and 33 points; alongside him are Zack Dybowski, Austin Cho, Jake Payette, Kyle Allan, Wyatt Hicken and Matthew Thom. These 6 combined for 13 goals and 93 points in the regular season; additionally the 7 defenders had 320 penalty minutes this season, a testament to their tough style of play which wears down the opposition quickly.

 Up front the Georgetown Raiders are lead by Jack Jacome, younger brother to Brendan who are 1-2 in team scoring, 55 goals and 145 points between the two brothers. The Raiders had 4 forwards notch 20 goals or more and one at 19 goals on the season. The Jacomes’s alongside Josh Dickinson, Daniel Hardie, Jordan Crocker and Andrew Court are a potent top 6. Behind them are a great 3rd and 4th line that allows Greg Walters to roll all lines, any time of the game to change the momentum or give them that extra something to finish the game.

 With 4 strong lines and 7 capable D, the Raiders were 5th in PP% for the regular season .40% behind the Goldenhawks and 2nd in PK behind… you guessed it… Trenton. The Goldenhawks’ PK% in the regular season was 90.70% while Georgetown was at 87.84%. In the Playoffs, the Raiders are again, 4th in PP%, a staggering 7.01%  behind Trenton and 2nd in PK% with 91.03%. Again, a huge number but 4.42% behind the number one team… Trenton. Combined Georgetown has a 116.71% on Special teams.

 After all of this, the series comes down to a pick em. Trenton or Georgetown, flip a coin. Who do you like?

On one hand you have a very solid all around team up against a team that can get the job done behind a very solid goaltender. Arguably the best goalie in the OJHL.

The action gets underway on the 15th of April in Trenton for the odd numbered games and in Georgetown for the even numbered games. Pull up a chair, buy some popcorn and enjoy the action.

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