Toronto, ON – The puck drops tonight with the start of the 2017 Ontario Hockey League Playoffs featuring three games, followed by the remaining five first round matchups commencing Friday.
Here’s a look at what’s going on around the league:
A LOOK AT THE OHL PLAYOFFS: EASTERN AND WESTERN CONFERENCE PREVIEWS:
With the 2017 OHL Playoffs upon us, we take a series-by-series look across the league, examining the numbers and latest trends in advance of the most exciting time of the year for OHL hockey fans. Western Conference Playoff Preview / Eastern Conference Playoff Preview
2017 OHL PLAYOFFS – FIRST ROUND SCHEDULE SET WITH FOUR GAMES FEATURED ON SPORTSNET:
After 680 games it’s time to drop the puck on the 2017 Ontario Hockey League playoffs with first round action beginning on Thursday March 23. All 16 playoff positions have been claimed, setting the stage for eight first round post-season matchups across the league. Four first round games will be broadcast across the country on Sportsnet 360 including Game’s 1 and 2 from London featuring the Knights and Mastercard Memorial Cup host Spitfires on Friday March 24 and Sunday March 26, Game 3 between the Petes and IceDogs from St. Catharines on Tuesday March 28, and Game 4 between the Frontenacs and host Bulldogs on Thursday March 30. Read more
CHL PREDICTOR LAUNCHES AHEAD OF 2017 OHL PLAYOFFS:
Canadian Hockey League fans can get engaged in the postseason and win great prizes doing so! With #CHLPredictor, fans sign up for a CHL Fan Base account at CHLFANBASE.ca and make their picks before the start of each playoff round. Pick right to earn points and win great prizes including the grand prize trip to the Mastercard Memorial Cup. Register today at CHLFANBASE.ca.
WATCH EVERY PLAYOFF GAME WITH NEW OHL LIVE PLAYOFF PACKAGES:
Don’t miss a game! Follow your team throughout the #OHLPlayoffs with new OHL LIVE Playoff Packages including the flexibility of single game, team pass and all access options. Visit OHLLIVE.com for full details.
MISSISSAUGA REPS ARE 2017 OHL CUP POWERED BY UNDER ARMOUR CHAMPIONS:
Dennis Golovatchev scored with nine seconds remaining in the third period to give the Mississauga Reps their first ever OHL Cup Powered by Under Armour Championship with a 3-2 win over the Toronto Nationals at the Mattamy Athletic Centre. Golovatchev wristed a quick release past Nationals goaltender Zach Roy off an offensive zone faceoff win by linemate Lucas Rowe, making the Reps the second Wild Card entry following the 2010 Mississauga Rebels to ever hoist the OHL Cup. Read more / Watch highlights
OTTERS, ATTACK, GREYHOUNDS, KNIGHTS IN FINAL CHL TOP-10 RANKINGS:
The Erie Otters (2), Owen Sound Attack (4), Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (5) and London Knights (6) are all included in the 26th and final edition of the weekly CHL Top-10 Rankings. The WHL’s Regina Pats close out the season at number one followed by the Hamilton Spectator Trophy recipient Otters and the QMJHL’s Saint John Sea Dogs at number three. The 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup host Windsor Spitfires received an honourable mention in the rankings. Read more
OTTERS MAKE CHL HISTORY, CLAIM SECOND STRAIGHT HAMILTON SPECTATOR TROPHY:
The Erie Otters are Hamilton Spectator Trophy recipients as OHL regular season champions for a second straight year following a 5-2 Saturday night win over the visiting Guelph Storm. This marks the third time in franchise history that they’ve been earned the honour, following efforts in 2001 and 2016. The win puts the Otters in the Canadian Hockey League record books as they become the first team in CHL history to string together four consecutive 50-win seasons, surpassing the 2012-15 Kelowna Rockets, 2011-14 Edmonton Oil Kings, 2009-12 Saint John Sea Dogs and 1989-92 Kamloops Blazers who all accomplished the feat in three straight campaigns. Read more
OTTERS’ DeBRINCAT SETS SINGLE-SEASON FRANCHISE GOAL-SCORING MARK, CAPTURES 2016-17 OHL SCORING TITLE:
Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters is the 2016-17 Eddie Powers Memorial Trophy and Jim Mahon Memorial Trophy recipient. DeBrincat recorded 65 goals and 62 assists for 127 points in 63 games to lead all OHL players in regular season scoring finishing 18 points ahead of teammate Taylor Raddysh who finished second with 109 points in 58 games. The 19-year-old from Farmington Hills, Michigan, delivered a multitude of scoring records over the course of the 2016-17 campaign helping the Otters capture their second straight Hamilton Spectator Trophy, third straight Midwest Division crown, and record fourth straight 50 win season. Read more
ATTACK’S McNIVEN AND VELLA WIN DAVE PINKNEY TROPHY:
The Owen Sound Attack allowed the fewest goals in the OHL this season with just 177 against, backstopped by the tandem of Michael McNiven and Emanuel Vella. The Dave Pinkney Trophy is awarded annually to the goaltending tandem from the team that allows the fewest goals against during the regular season. Last season, the London Knights allowed 182 goals against with the award presented to Tyler Parsons and Brendan Burke. Read more
GREYHOUNDS’ VILLALTA EARNS F.W “DINTY” MOORE TROPHY:
Matthew Villalta of the Soo Greyhounds is the 2016-17 recipient of the F.W. “Dinty” Moore Trophy after posting the lowest goals-against-average among OHL rookies. Vilallta’s 2.41 goals-against average not only led all rookies, it was the fifth lowest across the entire league, and set a new Greyhounds record besting Kyle Gajewski’s 2.44 mark in 2007-08. Read more
OHL ANNOUNCES PERFORMERS OF THE MONTH FOR MARCH:
Owen Sound Attack teammates Petrus Palmu and Santino Centorame along with Soo Greyhounds goaltender Matthew Villalta have been named OHL Performers of the Month for March. Palmu led all players with 20 points to be named Player of the Month while Centorame is Defenceman of the Month for the second time this season. Vilallta takes both Vaughn OHL Goaltender of the Month and OHL Rookie of the Month honours. Read more
STEELHEADS’ INGHAM NAMED PIONEER ENERGY OHL PLAYER OF THE WEEK:
Rookie goaltender Jacob Ingham of the Mississauga Steelheads is the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the week ending March 19 after posting a 3-0-0-0 record with a goals-against-average of 1.50 and save percentage of .958. Ingham stopped 91 shots last week winning all three of his games for the Central Division champion Steelheads. Read more
ATTACK’S CENTORAME BECOMES TOP-SCORING DEFENCEMAN IN FRANCHISE HISTORY:
Overage veteran Santino Centorame is the Owen Sound Attack’s new franchise leader in career points by a defenceman. Centorame pitched in with two assists on Saturday setting the 156-point record while helping the Attack post their first-ever 100-point season in a 7-2 win over the visiting Kitchener Rangers. The captain added to his total on Sunday with a goal in an 8-5 road win over the Guelph Storm to close out the 2016-17 season. His career point total in an Attack uniform stands at 157 including 27 goals and 130 assists over 229 regular season games. Read more
STEELHEADS’ WATSON RECORDS 300th OHL POINT:
Overage Los Angeles Kings prospect Spencer Watson of the Mississauga Steelheads reached a significant career milestone on Sunday, recording his 300th OHL regular season point in a 6-1 win over the visiting Niagara IceDogs. Watson registered a goal and an assist along with a team-leading nine shots on goal to bring his season point total to 52 including 28 goals and 24 assists in 40 games. The London, Ont. native has enjoyed considerable success in an injury-shortened campaign that was delayed due to offseason wrist surgery. Read more
RANGERS’ MASCHERIN JOINS OHL’s CENTURY CLUB:
Florida Panthers prospect Adam Mascherin of the Kitchener Rangers became the third player to join the OHL’s century club for the 2016-17 regular season. Third in OHL scoring, Mascherin finished the campaign recording his 65th assist in a 7-2 loss to the Owen Sound Attack on Saturday to go along with his 35 goals in 65 games. Read more
67’s’ BROWN EARNS 100th OHL WIN:
Ottawa 67’s head coach and general manager Jeff Brown earned his 100th OHL coaching win behind the bench on Saturday afternoon as the 67’s defeated the visiting Oshawa Generals 5-2. Brown, whose 67’s officially clinched a spot in the 2017 OHL Playoffs on Friday, is wrapping up his third full season behind the bench in the nation’s capital. He holds an overall record of 100-87-16 over 203 regular season games. Read more
SPITFIRES’ BRACCO SIGNS WITH MAPLE LEAFS:
The Toronto Maple Leafs have signed Windsor Spitfires winger Jeremy Bracco to an entry-level NHL contact. Toronto’s second round (61st overall) pick in 2015, Bracco finished his second OHL season as Windsor’s leading scorer with 83 points including 25 goals and 58 assists between the Spitfires and Kitchener Rangers. The 20-year-old native of Freeport, NY helped guide the United States National Junior Team to a gold medal finish at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto, recording five points (3-2–5) over seven contests. Read more
KNIGHTS’ PARSONS SIGNS WITH FLAMES:
The Calgary Flames have signed London Knights goaltender Tyler Parsons to an entry-level NHL contract. Calgary’s second round (54th overall) pick last summer, Parsons recently completed his third OHL season with London, leading all goaltenders with a .925 save percentage along with a 2.37 goals-against average, four shutouts and a record of 23-6-2-3 in 34 games. The native of Chesterfield, Michigan helped backstop the United States to gold at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship this past January. Read more
HRONEK, HODGSON, SMITH, RADKE, McKENZIE JOIN AHL CLUBS:
With their teams missing out on the 2017 OHL Playoffs, Saginaw Spirit teammates Filip Hronek and Hayden Hodgson as well as Guelph Storm winger Givani Smith, Barrie Colts forward Roy Radke and North Bay Battalion centreman Brett McKenzie have joined American Hockey League clubs. Property of the Detroit Red Wings, Hronek and Smith have joined the Grand Rapids Griffins. A draft pick of the Chicago Blackhawks, Radke was assigned to the Rockford IceHogs. A Vancouver Canucks prospect, McKenzie was assigned to the Utica Comets. An undrafted free agent coming off a 38-goal season, Hodgson signed an Amateur Tryout Offer with the Cleveland Monsters, the AHL affiliate of the Columbus Blue Jackets.
KNIGHTS’ MAX JONES HEADLINES OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK:
The 25th and final edition of the OHL Plays of the Week for the 2016-17 regular season feature another exciting countdown of the league’s Top-5 goals scored during the week ending March 21. This week’s highlights open with a pair of creative passes including Isaac Ratcliffe with a one handed dish from his back to Guelph Storm teammate Liam Hawel, and Nick Suzuki with a behind-the-back look to Owen Sound Attack teammate Jonah Gadjovich. The countdown continues with top scorer Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters scoring an overtime winner off the cycle, Riley Stillman of the Oshawa Generals completes his hat-trick in fantastic fashion, and Max Jones of the London Knights caps it all off with a between-the-legs beauty. Watch
Jones is also the OHL representative featured in this week’s #CIBCShowdown which showcases one great play from all three leagues allowing fans the opportunity to choose their favourite play. See all the plays and vote at chlshowdown.ca.
25TH AND FINAL EDITION OF JANES SAVES OF THE WEEK:
The 2016-17 OHL regular season came to an exciting conclusion as goaltenders saved their best stuff for last. The 25th and final edition of #JanesSaves features 10 netminders including Scott Smith of the Peterborough Petes, Justin Fazio of the Sarnia Sting, Matthew Villalta of the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, Jacob Ingham of the Mississauga Steelheads, Liam Herbst and Anthony Popovich of the Guelph Storm, Kaden Fulcher of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Stephen Dhillon of the Niagara IceDogs, MacKenzie Savard of the Sudbury Wolves, and Tyler Parsons of the London Knights. Watch
TWO FIRST GOALS AND TWO PETES SHUTOUTS IN OHL MILESTONE MOMENTS:
The 25th and final week of the 2016-17 Ontario Hockey League season ending March 21 featured a quartet of milestone moment celebrations including two first career OHL goals and two first career shutouts. First goals came from Liam Peyton (Kitchener Rangers) and Jakob Brahaney (Kingston Frontenacs) while the Peterborough Petes goaltending tandem of Scott Smith and Dylan Wells each collected their first OHL shutout. Watch
OTTERS’ DeBRINCAT FEATURED ON JUNIOR HOCKEY MAGAZINE WITH GINO REDA:
Fresh off his OHL record-tying 19-game goal-scoring streak, Chicago Blackhawks prospect Alex DeBrincat of the Erie Otters chats with Gino Reda about his remarkable season. Listen
2017 MASTERCARD MEMORIAL CUP TICKET PACKAGES NOW ON SALE:
The Canadian Hockey League has released tickets to the 2017 Mastercard Memorial Cup Host Organizing Committee. As a result, fans now have the chance to purchase full tournament ticket packages online while quantities last. To purchase, visit WFCU-Centre.com, click ‘Buy Tickets’, then click ‘Mastercard Memorial Cup Packages’ for full information.
Spirit Charitable Foundation raises $62,688 on Hockey for the Homeless Night: The Saginaw Spirit Charitable Foundation in partnership with Rescue Ministries of Mid-Michigan has raised $62,688.00 during their sixth annual “Hockey for the Homeless” night on March 4, 2017 at The Dow Event Center. In the six years of the “Hockey or the Homeless” Event, the Saginaw Spirit and Rescue Ministries of Mid-Michigan have partnered to raise $188,581.00. Money raised during the annual “Hockey for the Homeless” helps provide emergency shelter services including safe shelter, nutritious meals, case management and life skills training. Read more
Staal plays 1000th NHL game: Peterborough Petes graduate Eric Staal reached a significant career milestone on Sunday, suiting up in his 1000th career regular season NHL game. The 32-year-old Minnesota Wild centreman skated 17:36 in a 5-4 loss to the Winnipeg Jets. In his 1,000 contests, Staal has 349 goals, 486 assists and 835 points and is now in his 13th NHL season. One of four brothers from Thunder Bay, Ont. to play in the OHL, the eldest Staal brother was Carolina’s first round (2nd overall) pick in the 2003 NHL Draft after recording 81 goals, 128 assists and 209 points over 185 OHL contests with the Petes from 2000-03. Staal won a Stanley Cup with Carolina in 2006.
5 OHL grads win U SPORTS University Cup Championship with UNB: Five OHL graduates are U SPORTS University Cup Champions with the UNB Varsity Reds following a 5-3 win over the Saskatchewan Huskies on home ice. Marcus McIvor (North Bay Battalion), Matt Petgrave (Oshawa Generals), Colin Suellentrop (Oshawa Generals), Cameron Brace (Belleville Bulls) and Rob Mignardi (Owen Sound Attack) are all U SPORTS Champions. Read more
Curtis earns Frank H. Sobey Award for Excellence in Business Studies: Erie Otters graduate Michael Curtis has been recognized for his outstanding academic achievements. The 24-year-old student at Saint Mary’s University was awarded the $25,000 Frank H. Sobey Award, one of eight given annually to business students in the Atlantic region. Curtis maintained a stunning 4.26 GPA while using his time to support others in the community. Among the activities recognized in his application to the awards committee are a peer mentoring role to support better mental health among his fellow student athletes; helping acclimatize new students from BNUZ in China who come to Saint Mary’s to study; running hockey camps in August of each year to develop youth in the sport; and tutoring other students. The Mississauga native played five OHL seasons between Belleville and Erie from 2009-14, recording 155 points (79-76–155) over 311 career regular season games. Get more on the story at SMU.ca.
Austin makes NHL debut: London Knights graduate Brady Austin made his NHL debut with the Buffalo Sabres on Monday, skating 15:37 in a 2-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings. A 23-year-old native of Bobcaygeon, Ont., Austin is currently in his third pro season after graduating from the London Knights after their Mastercard Memorial Cup hosting in 2014. He has spent much of the season with the AHL’s Rochester Americans, recording nine points (2-7–9) in 61 games. The 6-foot-4, 230 Ib. rearguard played five OHL seasons between Erie, Belleville and London from 2009-14, recording 110 points (29-81–110) over 322 career regular season games. He was Buffalo’s seventh round (193rd overall) pick in 2012.
Anderson named ECHL Goaltender of the Week: Sarnia Sting graduate J.P. Anderson of the Adirondack Thunder has been named the ECHL Goaltender of the Week after posting a 2.20 goals-against average and .936 save performance along with a 2-0-0-0 record in three appearances. The 24-year-old stopped 11 of 12 shots he faced in a relief effort on Friday in a 5-2 loss to Wheeling, made 44 saves in a 5-4 win against the Nailers on Saturday and turned aside 33 shots in a 6-1 victory over Atlanta on Sunday. The 44 saves set a professional career high, surpassing his previous high of 42 from 2013 with the San Francisco Bulls. The Toronto native has appeared in 22 games with Wheeling and Adirondack this season, going 12-4-3 with a 2.71 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage. The OHL’s all-time goaltending wins leader, Anderson went 126-76-13 over 223 career regular season games between Mississauga and Sarnia from 2008-13, posting a 2.87 goals-against average and a .906 save percentage in the process.
Thursday March 23:
Sarnia at Erie (Game 1) – 7:00pm
Niagara at Peterborough (Game 1) – 7:05pm
Flint at Sault Ste. Marie (Game 1) – 7:07pm
Friday March 24:
Hamilton at Kingston (Game 1) – 7:00pm
Ottawa at Mississauga (Game 1) – 7:00pm
Kitchener at Owen Sound (Game 1) – 7:30pm
Windsor at London (Game 1) – 7:30pm – CHL on Sportsnet
Sudbury at Oshawa (Game 1) – 7:35 pm
Saturday March 25:
Erie at Sarnia (Game 2) – 7:05pm
Niagara at Peterborough (Game 2) – 7:05pm
Flint at Sault Ste. Marie (Game 2) – 7:07pm
Kitchener at Owen Sound (Game 2) – 7:30pm
Sunday March 26:
Hamilton at Kingston (Game 2) – 2:00pm
Windsor at London (Game 2) – 2:00pm – CHL on Sportsnet
Ottawa at Mississauga (Game 2) – 2:00pm
Sudbury at Oshawa (Game 2) – 6:05 pm
Be sure to catch all of this weekend’s action at ohllive.com.