Playoff Preview and Predictions Round Three

Let’s start by looking back at my first two rounds of predictions:

CONFERENCE QUARTER FINALS

EASTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Hamilton vs (8) PeterboroughHamilton in 4Hamilton wins 4-0
(2) North Bay vs (7) OttawaNorth Bay in 5North Bay wins 4-0
(3) Kingston vs (6) OshawaKingston in 6Kingston wins 4-2
(4) Mississauga vs (5) BarrieMississauga in 7Mississauga wins 4-2
WESTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Windsor vs (8) SarniaWindsor in 5Windsor wins 4-2
(2) London vs (7) KitchenerLondon in 6Kitchener wins 4-3
(3) Flint vs (6) Owen SoundFlint in 6Flint wins 4-3
(4) Sault Ste Marie vs (5) GuelphSault Ste Marie in 7Sault Ste Marie wins 4-1

CONFERENCE SEMI FINALS                                                                                                                                        

EASTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Hamilton vs (4) MississaugaHamilton in 5Hamilton wins 4-0
(2) North Bay vs (3) KingstonNorth Bay in 6North Bay wins 4-1
WESTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Windsor vs (7) KitchenerWindsor in 6Windsor wins 4-1
(3) Flint vs (4) Sault Ste MarieSault Ste Marie in 7Flint wins 4-1

As you can probably guess, not happy about my results when getting two incorrect winners in 12 series and only two correct in the right number of games. I really did try to find a loss for the Hamilton Bulldogs in the Conference Semi Finals, but it just didn’t materialize. So, I’ll try again for the Conference Finals!

 HamiltonNorth Bay
Season series2-2-02-2-0
Last 10 games10-0-08-1-1
Powerplay27.6%25.9%
PP vs opponent0.0%15.4%
PP Playoffs37.0%36.7%
Penalty Kill80.9%80.6%
PK vs Opponent84.6%100.0%
PK Playoffs87.9%87.5%
Goals for RS300267
Goals for Playoffs3843
Goals against RS176198
Goals against Playoffs1531
Team PIM / Game RS11.3/game9.1/game
Team PIM / Game Playoffs14.9/game7.0/game
Leading after 1st period34-2-422-2-3
Leading after 2nd period43-2-127-0-2
Trailing after 1st period5-9-13-6-0
Trailing after 2nd period3-9-27-14-2
Outshooting opponents36-5-226-5-4
Outshot by opponents15-7-317-12-2

Not too much to say here. In many ways, Hamilton and North Bay were close in the regular season. And North Bay dominated specialty teams against Hamilton through the season. They even split the season series versus each other. But this is the Hamilton Bulldogs we’re talking about and they were built just for these playoffs. Somehow, my head is saying to find one loss for them and it likely won’t come until the next round. But….

Prediction: Hamilton in 5 games.

 WindsorFlint
Season series7-0-11-5-2
Last 10 games8-1-17-3-0
Powerplay26.1%19.7%
PP vs opponent26.5%10.0%
PP Playoffs13.3%20.0%
Penalty Kill82.6%84.3%
PK vs Opponent90.0%73.5%
PK Playoffs78.0%83.3%
Goals for RS305286
Goals for Playoffs4144
Goals against RS248238
Goals against Playoffs2732
Team PIM / Game RS10.3/game10.4/game
Team PIM / Game Playoffs12.6/game9.5/game
Leading after 1st period23-5-022-4-1
Leading after 2nd period32-0-231-1-3
Trailing after 1st period7-7-28-12-3
Trailing after 2nd period6-14-33-14-2
Outshooting opponents34-12-420-8-1
Outshot by opponents10-4-320-13-4

You know what they say about the playoffs and special teams: Win the special teams battle and you stand a better chance of winning the series. The Spitfires had a far superior powerplay during the regular season. And head-to-head the Spitfires powerplay was two and a half times better than the Firebirds. But to date in the playoffs? The Firebirds have doubled their regular season proficiency while the Spitfires was cut in half.

On the penalty kill, the Firebirds were less than 2 percentage points better than the Spits during the regular season. Through the playoffs, the Firebirds were still above the Spits.

But head-to-head, the Spitfires hold a decisive advantage in both powerplay efficiency and penalty kill. It’s only reasonable to assume that the Spitfires hold a big advantage when it comes to specialty teams in this series.

The Spitfires like to come at you and produce a lot of shots having outshot their opponent’s 70 percent of the time. On the flip side, the Firebirds are outshot more times than not and rely more on their goaltending. And that was slightly better than the Spitfires during the regular season.

Both squads are great at protecting the lead, but the advantage goes to the Spitfires when it comes to coming from behind. I think this series will be tight and the difference will be specialty teams.

Prediction: Windsor in 7 games.

OHL ANNOUNCES WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCHEDULE

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced the 2022 OHL Western Conference Championship Series for the Wayne Gretzky Trophy between the Windsor Spitfires and Flint Firebirds beginning Saturday, May 21 in Windsor.

The third round series features a pair of highly familiar West Division rivals. The Spitfires won the West Division with a 44-17-4-3 record during the regular season. They proceeded to eliminate the Sarnia Sting in six games and the Kitchener Rangers in five to reach their first Western Conference Final since 2011. The Firebirds played to a franchise record 42-21-1-4 mark, finishing third in the Western Conference. They bested the Owen Sound Attack in seven games before eliminating the Soo Greyhounds in five contests, reaching the Western Conference Championship Series for the first time in their history.

The Spitfires and Firebirds faced each other eight times during the regular season, with Windsor winning seven of those meetings.

The Western Conference Champion receives the Wayne Gretzky Trophy named in honour of the Hockey Hall of Fame member who played for the Soo Greyhounds in 1977-78.  The Spitfires made three straight appearances in the Western Conference Championship Series from 2009-11, winning consecutive titles in the first two showings. The Firebirds have won their first two playoff rounds in the six-year history of the franchise this year, and look to keep the momentum going when the puck drops on Saturday.

WESTERN CONFERENCE CHAMPIONSHIP SERIES SCHEDULE:

(1) WINDSOR SPITFIRES (44-17-4-3) vs. (3) FLINT FIREBIRDS (42-21-1-4) – #WSRvsFLNT

Game 1, Sat., May 21 at Windsor, 7:05pm
Game 2, Mon., May 23 at Windsor, 7:05pm
Game 3, Wed., May 25 at Flint, 7:00pm
Game 4, Fri., May 27 at Flint, 7:00pm
Game 5, Sun., May 29 at Windsor, 7:05pm*
Game 6, Tues., May 31 at Flint, 7:00pm*
Game 7, Wed., June 1 at Windsor, 7:05pm*
*if necessary 

2022 OHL Playoff Brackets

Don’t miss a second of the 2022 OHL Playoffs. CHL TV playoff packages are on sale now, with complete OHL Playoff passes, round-by-round passes and single day passes available. See a full range of options at watch.chl.ca.


About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

OHL Playoff Preview and Predictions Round Two

Before we look at the second round series matchups, lets look back and see how poorly I did in round one:

EASTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Hamilton vs (8) PeterboroughHamilton in 4Hamilton wins 4-0
(2) North Bay vs (7) OttawaNorth Bay in 5North Bay wins 4-0
(3) Kingston vs (6) OshawaKingston in 6Kingston wins 4-2
(4) Mississauga vs (5) BarrieMississauga in 7Mississauga wins 4-2
WESTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Windsor vs (8) SarniaWindsor in 5Windsor wins 4-2
(2) London vs (7) KitchenerLondon in 6Kitchener win 4-3
(3) Flint vs (6) Owen SoundFlint in 6Flint wins 4-3
(4) Sault Ste Marie vs (5) GuelphSault Ste Marie in 7Sault Ste Marie wins 4-1

So, 7 out of 8 correct winners. The Hockey Gods looked after the Kitchener Rangers after they were robbed of a goal as video review deemed it kicked in when it wasn’t. (The OHL officially came out and said the next day that it was an error). That call quite possibly cost the Rangers game 5. But they bounced back, tied the series and forced a game 7 in London in which they won in overtime to take the series.

But in only two of the series where I picked the correct winner did, I hit on the number of games. The biggest discrepancy was the Soo Greyhounds taking care of business against the Guelph Storm in 5 games where I had predicted it to go the distance. I don’t think anyone predicted the Storm wouldn’t give the Greyhounds a fight.

So, I try again with round two:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Hamilton vs (4) Mississauga

 HamiltonMississauga
Head-to-head5-2-0-13-5-0-0
PP Regular Season27.6%20.9%
PP Playoffs39.4%33.3%
PP vs opponent16.7%14.3%
PK Regular Season80.9%81.3%
PK Playoffs91.3%75.0%
PK vs opponent85.7%83.3%
GF Regular season300229
GF Playoffs2717
GA Regular season176189
GA Playoffs913
PIM /game regular season11.3/game11.5/game
PIM /game playoffs21.5/game9.8/game

I want to say “it’s hard to imagine the Hamilton Bulldogs losing a game in these playoffs” but I can’t because it’s bound to happen at some point. Offensively, the Bulldogs dominated during the regular season and the playoffs. Defensively, the Steelheads were almost as good as Hamilton during the regular season and the playoffs.

Both teams brought their powerplays to new levels during the playoffs. Mississauga’s penalty kill took a hit during the playoffs while Hamilton’s skyrocketed. However, one must take into account their respective opponents. If special teams are going to be a factor in this series, then you have to take into account that Mississauga is taking fewer penalties in the playoffs than the regular season while Hamilton has almost doubled theirs. But I’m not going to overthink this trying to find wins for Mississauga.

Prediction: Hamilton in 5 games.

(2) North Bay vs (3) Kingston

 North BayKingston
Head-to-head4-0-0-00-4-0-0
PP Regular Season25.9%25.3%
PP Playoffs30.0%26.7%
PP vs opponent53.8%13.3%
PK Regular Season80.6%79.8%
PK Playoffs90.0%60.0%
PK vs opponent86.7%46.2%
GF Regular season267285
GF Playoffs1727
GA Regular season198242
GA Playoffs1118
PIM /game regular season9.1/game11.1/game
PIM /game playoffs7.8/game11.5/game

As you can see above, the North Bay Battalion swept the season series against the Kingston Frontenacs. Only 6 points separated the two teams in the regular season. Their powerplays were pretty even as was their penalty kills and their goals for. North Bay had a decisive advantage in the goals against department.

Where North Bay had the big advantage was on specialty teams head-to-head. North Bay’s powerplay clipped along at 53.8% against Kingston while the Fronts could only score on 13.3% of their chances against the Battalion. And in the four games head-to-head during the regular season North Bay outscored Kingston 19-10. If Kingston gets into penalty trouble, this series could be over quickly.

Prediction: North Bay in 6 games.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Windsor vs (7) Kitchener

 WindsorKitchener
Head-to-head4-3-0-14-4-0-0
PP Regular Season26.1%18.3%
PP Playoffs7.4%22.7%
PP vs opponent21.9%16.0%
PK Regular Season82.6%77.4%
PK Playoffs76.0%80.0%
PK vs opponent84.0%78.1%
GF Regular season305236
GF Playoffs1823
GA Regular season248271
GA Playoffs1123
PIM /game regular season10.3/game11.0/game
PIM /game playoffs14.3/game9.3/game

The regular season series between the Kitchener Rangers and Windsor Spitfires was pretty even. The Spits were better team on the powerplay and the penalty kill against each other and the rest of the league. The Spits scored 69 more goals than the Rangers – that’s a goal per game more and also allowed 23 fewer goals against than the Rangers.

But in the playoffs, it was the Rangers who came out on top in the special team’s department while also playing a tougher opponent in the London Knights than Windsor had against the Sarnia Sting. The Spits have some star power for sure but of Rangers goalie Pavel Cajan can play as he did versus the Knights it will be a tight series. Mathias Onuska was no slouch for Windsor in the blue paint either.

Prediction: Windsor in 6 games.  

(3) Flint vs (4) Sault Ste Marie

 FlintSault Ste Marie
Head-to-head2-1-0-23-1-1-0
PP Regular Season19.7%28.4%
PP Playoffs9.7%35.3%
PP vs opponent34.6%17.6%
PK Regular Season84.3%78.7%
PK Playoffs87.5%90.9%
PK vs opponent82.4%65.4%
GF Regular season286295
GF Playoffs2221
GA Regular season238246
GA Playoffs                              2011
PIM /game regular season10.4/game11.5/game
PIM /game playoffs10.9/game15.4/game

The Flint Firebirds and Soo Greyhounds were also very close in the regular season. Only 4 points separated them in the standings. Their offence and defence were also close. The Greyhounds win out in the powerplay department while the Firebirds topped them on the penalty kill. However, head-to-head the Firebirds dominated.

Flint couldn’t get the man advantage to work for them in their first round series against the Owen Sound Attack while the Greyhounds exploded against the Guelph Storm. Unless the Greyhounds can limit the number of penalties, they take the powerplay could be the difference in this series. It could also come down to home ice advantage. For me, this is a flip a coin series.

Prediction: Sault Ste Marie in 7

OHL ANNOUNCES WESTERN CONFERENCE SEMI-FINAL SCHEDULES AND SCENARIOS

**Note: The results are in from the two game sevens and this is the schedule for round two:

Series E: (1) Windsor Spitfires (44-17-4-3) vs. (7) Kitchener Rangers (30-31-5-2) – Scenario #3
Game 1, Sat., May 7 at Windsor, 7:05pm
Game 2, Sun., May 8 at Windsor, 7:05pm
Game 3, Tues., May 10 at Kitchener, 7:00pm
Game 4, Thurs., May 12 at Kitchener, 7:00pm
Game 5, Sat., May 14 at Windsor, 7:05pm*
Game 6, Mon., May 16 at Kitchener, 7:00pm*
Game 7, Tues., May 17 at Windsor, 7:05pm*

Series G: (3) Flint Firebirds (42-21-1-4) vs. (4) Soo Greyhounds (39-22-6-1) – Scenario #1
Game 1, Fri., May 6 at Flint, 7:00pm
Game 2, Sun., May 8 at Flint, 4:00pm
Game 3, Tues., May 10 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07pm
Game 4, Thurs, May 12 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07pm
Game 5, Sat., May 14 at Flint, 7:00pm*
Game 6, Mon., May 16 at Sault Ste. Marie, 7:07pm*
Game 7, Wed., May 18 at Flint, 7:00pm*

BULLDOGS AND FIREBIRDS INCLUDED IN WEEK 20 EDITION OF KIA CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS

Toronto, Ont. – The Canadian Hockey League announced today the Week 20 edition of the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings for the 2021-22 season.

The Hamilton Bulldogs continue their climb up the list, coming in at a season-high second slotting in Week 20. The Dogs had a 12-game winning streak snapped on Tuesday night in Peterborough, but had Steeltown on its feet on Monday night at Tim Hortons Field, winning the fourth outdoor matchup in OHL history over the Oshawa Generals by a score of 3-0. The 37-12-2-2 Bulldogs lead the OHL standings and have won 19 of their last 21 games. Top scorer Logan Morrison is on a current 12-game point streak dating back to Feb. 18th while blueliner Nathan Staios sits second in scoring among OHL defenders with 52 points (12-40–52) in 45 games. Staios and teammate Mason McTavish were out of the Hamilton lineup on Tuesday night in Peterborough. The Bulldogs have just embarked on eight straight games on the road, with a three-in-three slated for the coming weekend in Kingston and Ottawa.

The Flint Firebirds keep cruising, winning back-to-back last week to climb to ninth on this week’s list. The ‘Birds defeated highly-skilled Western Conference opponents in London and Guelph on Friday and Saturday, improving to 35-16-1-3 with a league-leading 235 goals scored. New York Rangers prospect and captain Brennan Othmann tied the club’s single season goal-scoring record with his 39th on Saturday. Overage goaltender Luke Cavallin made 49 saves against Guelph to earn his 29th win, tying Anthony Popovich’s high franchise watermark from the 2019-20 season. The Firebirds are at home for games against Sault Ste. Marie and Windsor on Friday and Saturday this weekend before visiting Windsor on Sunday afternoon.

The North Bay Battalion are an honourable mention in this week’s rankings, riding a five-game winning streak into Thursday action at home to Mississauga. Having punched their ticket to the OHL Playoffs last week, the Battalion sit tied with the Steelheads for first place in the Central Division, owning a 33-17-3-3 record. The Troops recently welcomed captain Liam Arnsby back into the lineup after he missed time due to injury. The Troops feature four different 30-goal scorers in their lineup, with Mitchell Russell (34), Kyle McDonald (33), Matvey Petrov (31) and Brandon Coe (30) making up that group. McDonald has points in 13 straight games dating back to Feb. 6th.

For further analysis on the Week 20 edition of the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings, visit CHL.ca.


About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

BULLDOGS, FRONTENACS AND FIREBIRDS IN WEEK 17 EDITION OF KIA CHL TOP 10 RANKINGS

Toronto, Ont. – The Canadian Hockey League announced today the Week 17 edition of the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings for the 2021-22 season.

The Hamilton Bulldogs are up two spots to number five in this week’s rankings while the Kingston Frontenacs follow at ninth and the Flint Firebirds make their Top 10 season debut in the 10th spot.

Winners of 11 of their past 12 games, the Bulldogs have pulled to within two points of first place in the OHL standings with a 29-11-2-2 record. Hamilton went 3-0 this past weekend, outscoring opponents 21-7. They created some distance for themselves atop the East Division with a decisive 8-2 victory over Kingston on Saturday. Logan Morrison has been a force offensively racking up 10 points in his last three outings while leading the club in scoring with 65 points (20-45–65) over 38 games. Avery Hayes leads the way in the goal-scoring column with 30 on the campaign while blueliner Nathan Staios sits second among OHL defenders with 45 points (9-36–45) in 40 games. The Dogs are expected to have Mason McTavish back in their lineup on Friday as he makes his return from China where he represented Canada at the Olympic Winter Games.

The Frontenacs are down one spot to ninth this week, defeating Ottawa twice while falling in Hamilton on Saturday. Overage winger Lucas Edmonds rides a nine-game point streak into another week, sitting one point back of the OHL scoring lead with 79 (24-55–79) on the season. Top 2022 NHL Draft prospect Shane Wright has multi-point outputs in four of his last five games, sitting third in club scoring with 57 points (20-37–57). Los Angeles Kings prospect Martin Chromiak made his return to the Kingston lineup from injury on Monday. The Fronts are in action on Wednesday in Ottawa before playing host to the Oshawa Generals on Friday night, a game that will be aired coast-to-coast on TSN.

The Western Conference-leading Flint Firebirds make their first Top 10 appearance of the season, collecting points in nine consecutive games. The ‘Birds picked up five of a possible six points last weekend, falling in overtime to Windsor, defeating the Spits in a shootout a night later and triumphing over Sarnia 7-3 on Family Day. New York Rangers prospect Brennan Othmann has 34 goals and 66 points through 45 games this season to pace the club offensively. Overage winger Ethan Keppen has given Flint a nice boost with 24 points (13-11–24) over 21 games since returning from the AHL’s Abbotsford Canucks. Luke Cavallin has provided the Firebirds with top tier goaltending, going 23-9-1-3 on the season with a 3.28 goals-against average and .907 save percentage.

With wins in nine straight contests, the North Bay Battalion receive an honourable mention on this week’s list. The Troops have shot up the Eastern Conference standings, sitting two points back of the first place Mississauga Steelheads in the Central Division. North Bay features four 20+ goal-scorers in their lineup including San Jose Sharks prospect Brandon Coe, Edmonton Oilers draftee Matvey Petrov, overage forward Mitchell Russell and trade deadline acquisition Kyle McDonald who scored a hat trick in Ottawa on Sunday.

For further analysis on the Week 17 edition of the Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings, visit CHL.ca.


About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league.

OHL ANNOUNCES ACADEMIC PLAYERS OF THE MONTH FOR NOVEMBER

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Lawson Sherk of the Hamilton Bulldogs, Hunter Haight of the Barrie Colts, Connor Lockhart of the Erie Otters and Gavin Hayes of the Flint Firebirds have been named the OHL Academic Players of the Month for November.

Though the puck has yet to drop on the 2020-21 OHL Regular Season, players are striving for excellence in the classroom through their studies. The League continues to work with government and public health agencies to prepare a safe return to play with a targeted Regular Season start date of Thursday, February 4, 2021. Academic players of the month are listed in correspondence with their 2019-20 divisions. Details concerning the structure of 2020-21 team alignment will be made available upon release of the OHL Regular Season schedule.

Here’s a closer look at the OHL’s Academic Players of the Month for November:

East Division: Lawson Sherk of the Hamilton Bulldogs is being recognized as November’s East Division Academic Player of the Month. He achieved 100% in Grade 12 University Level Advanced Functions; one of few Ancaster High School students to have ever achieved the perfect grade. Sherk also scored the top mark in Grade 12 University Level Physics with 94% and earned a 93% in his Personal Life Management course.

Sherk’s teachers and coaches regularly compliment his work ethic, positive attitude and kindness and point out his perseverance and teamwork both in the classroom and on the ice. He is known around school as a mentor and a leader.

The 17-year-old Halton Hills, Ont. native put up 15 points (5-10—15) over 62 games in his rookie season with the Bulldogs. He was selected 40th overall by Hamilton in the 2019 OHL Priority Selection after a 50-point season (15-35—50) with the OMHA’s Halton Hurricanes.

Central Division: Barrie’s Hunter Haight is November’s Central Division Academic Player of the Month. Over his first term at Blyth Academy, he put up an impressive 98% in Grade 11 University Level Physics and 95% in Grade 12 Community Technology. Out of the 19 courses Haight has completed so far, he has yet to receive a grade lower than 90%.

Haight is described by his teachers as extremely focused and as someone who “continuously puts forth his best efforts both on and off the ice.” He was also recently recognized with the Emerging Leaders Award on account of his outstanding personal leadership, positive impact and contributions within the community.

The 9th overall 2020 OHL Priority Selection pick led the ALLIANCE U16 ranks with 32 goals last season and led his Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs to a league championship. Haight finished the 2019-20 season with 58 points (32-26—58) in 33 appearances and put up 26 points (11-15—26) in the playoffs.

Midwest Division: Connor Lockhart of the Erie Otters has been named the Midwest Division’s Academic Player of the Month for November after undertaking a full courseload that included Grade 11 Academic Math, Grade 12 Athletic Leadership, Grade 11 English, Grade 12 Nutrition and Grade 12 Personal Life Management.

Lockhart has been praised for fulfilling his course responsibilities at John McRae Secondary School and Blyth Academy before the start of the season so that he will have more time in his schedule for increased demands during his draft year. His ability to adapt to new ways of learning, time management, self-motivation and prioritization during this difficult time have also been praised, as well as his decision to front load his schedule to maximize his free time while maintaining his workouts and pre-season preparation.

The 17-year-old forward amassed 27 points (9-18—27) over 57 contests in his rookie campaign with the Otters following a 79-point (30-49—79) production with the Kanata Lasers U18 in 2018-19.

West Division: Flint Firebirds rookie Gavin Hayes is the West Division’s Academic Player of the Month for November. Hayes earned an 88% in U.S. History, 84% in Grade 11 English and 83% in Algebra II at SOAR Academic Institute.

Drafted 16th overall by the Firebirds in the 2020 OHL Priority Selection, Hayes led the High-Performance Hockey League in goals (16) and points (33) over 21 appearances with the Detroit Compuware U15 AAA squad.

2020-21 OHL Academic Players of the Month:

Players listed in correspondence with 2019-20 divisions. Details concerning the structure of 2020-21 team alignment will be made available upon release of the OHL Regular Season schedule.

East Division:
November – Lawson Sherk (Hamilton Bulldogs)

Central Division:
November – Hunter Haight (Barrie Colts)

Midwest Division:
November – Connor Lockhart (Erie Otters)

West Division:
November – Gavin Hayes (Flint Firebirds)

A total of 334 graduates utilized their OHL Scholarship at post-secondary institutions across North America during the 2019-20 academic year, with a total contribution by teams of over $3 million.  Over the past 10 seasons, OHL Scholarship payments have totalled more than $25 million.

Click here for more information about ‘OHL Players First’ programs.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPO­­­RTS than any other league.

Riley Piercey – Flint Firebirds – Player Profile

Height: 6’3”

Weight: 200 Pounds

Date of birth: March 20, 2002

Hometown: Mississauga, Ontario

Position: Wing

Shoots: Left

OHL Draft: Round 1, 16th overall, 2018 Priority Selection by the Barrie Colts

NHL Central Scouting Rankings

Pre-season

November Mid-term Final
N.R. N.R. N.R.

129 N.A.

Riley Piercey played his Minor Midget AAA hockey with the Toronto Marlboros during the 2017-2018 season. He scored 26 goals and 30 assists while skating in 59 games. Piercey went on to add 4 goals and an assist in 6 games with the Marlboros at the OHL Cup. He also scored one for Team GTHL Red at the OHL Gold Cup as they went on to capture silver.

The Barrie Colts would select Piercey with the 16th overall pick at the 2018 OHL Priority Selection. Here’s what OHL Central Scouting had to say prior to the draft:

Riley is a big power forward that is very hard to play against as he is constantly moving and takes the body every chance that he has. He is a powerful skater that when at full speed is very quick. He is a player that makes the simple, effective play the majority of the times. He has a good shot which he gets off quickly. Riley plays hard in all three zones and rarely takes any short cuts. He is the type of player that coaches like to have on the bench because he can play up and down a lineup.

During his OHL rookie season, Piercey appeared in 60 games for the Colts scoring 3 goals and 11 assists. He also represented Canada with Team White at the World Hockey Challenge Under-17 going pointless in 5 games.

 

Piercey, Riley
Riley Piercey of the Flint Firebirds. Photo by OHL Images.

Piercey began this season with the Colts and in 35 games had 9 goals and 4 assists which was kind of disappointing. But on January 7, 2020 the Colts sent Piercey along with Tyler Tucker to the Firebirds for Evan Vierling and draft picks.

The trade was kind of a breakout for Piercey as he went on to score 8 goals and 13 assists in 27 games prior to the season being cancelled due to the COVID-19 pandemic, more then doubling his points-per-game from .37 to .78 points-per-game.

The trade started to draw some attention to Piercey. While we here at OHL Writers had him as a potential 7th round pick coming into the season, NHL Central Scouting left him off their pre-season watch list, their November list and their mid-term list. It wasn’t until their final list that they had Piercey ranked – 129th among North American Skaters.

Piercey is a big bodied forward who can play both sides. He’s not afraid to use his size to play the physical game. He also uses that frame extremely well to win battles down low and along the walls. Technically, he skates extremely well, has some excellent edgework and is difficult to knock off of the puck and once he gains possession, he is willing to drive directly to the net. He doesn’t possess top end speed, but for a player his size navigates the ice well. We would like to see some improvement in his speed.

Once Piercey arrived in Flint, we saw that he had some vision and playmaking skills. However, using those assets consistently has been an issue. When he produces offensively, they come in bunches and he can go multiple games without producing.

When you’re not producing, you have to bring other elements to the game and we believe Piercey is capable of that. The physicality, energy, the willingness to stand in front of the net to provide a screen and a solid defensive game is there. We believe he has a good shot with a good release however, at under 2 shots per game, he doesn’t utilize it enough.

Piercey is still raw and has some potential. He will be worth a late round pick in hopes that he can find some consistency and continue to develop.

FIREBIRDS’ TY DELLANDREA AWARDED MICKEY RENAUD CAPTAIN’S TROPHY

Ty Dellandrea

Toronto, Ont. – The Ontario Hockey League today announced that Dallas Stars prospect Ty Dellandrea of the Flint Firebirds is the 2019-20 recipient of the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy.

Dellandrea was chosen for the award by a media selection committee as the OHL team captain that best exemplifies leadership on and off the ice, with a passion and dedication to the game of hockey and community that Mickey demonstrated.

“This is an award very near and dear to our family’s hearts,” said Mickey’s father Mark Renaud. “Ty had an outstanding year on the ice for the Firebirds. He was also an important presence in his community and helped lead Team Canada to a gold medal at the World Juniors. We’ll be watching Ty play in the NHL for many years to come and we extend our congratulations and wish him the very best of luck in the future.”

Dellandrea modelled leadership both on the ice and in the Flint community, continually stepping up as the first player to put his name down for community events on the Firebirds’ dressing room cork board. Throughout his four-year tenure, he has shown a genuine interest in the lives of others, initiating spontaneous acts of kindness such as a hospital visit to a sick fan that included him bringing along a signed stick and Firebirds pennant unannounced. His positive attitude, accommodating relationship with local media and willingness to go the extra mile at community events to ensure no fan is left without an autograph or photo opportunity were all things that made him a fan favourite in Flint. Coming in as a 16-year-old rookie following a 2015-16 season that had its share of challenges, Dellandrea proved to be a leader through thick and thin during each of his four seasons with the franchise.

“This is truly an honour to receive the Mickey Renaud Captain’s Trophy,” said Dellandrea. “This is not an individual award. We have a great leadership group in our dressing room and every one of those guys played a role in this. To hear so much about Mickey to this day speaks a lot of who he was as a captain and as a person. On behalf of the entire Flint Firebirds organization, I’d like to thank the Renaud family and give my respect to Mickey and what he has done for our game.”

On the ice, the 19 year-old from Port Perry’s resume is a lengthy one. After being selected fifth overall by Flint in the 2016 OHL Priority Selection and developing through a pair of seasons outside of the Western Conference playoff picture, Dellandrea served as a key piece of the Firebirds’ best season yet as they won 40 of their 63 games. Dellandrea recorded 70 points (32-38–70) over 47 contests, wrapping up his fourth season as the Firebirds’ all-time leader in career goals (94), assists (122) and points (216). The 6-foot-1, 190Ib. centre won gold as part of Canada’s National Junior Team in January and finished tied for first as the Western Conference’s top face-off man in the 2019-20 OHL Coaches Poll. Dellandrea, who was chosen as Flint’s most valuable player in both the 2018 and 2019 seasons, was selected by Dallas with the 13th overall pick of the 2018 NHL Draft.

“Ty has been a leader from the first day he arrived in Flint,” said Flint Firebirds Vice President of Hockey Operations & General Manager Barclay Branch. “He embodies everything that Mickey represented both on and off the ice. We could not be more proud of Ty’s leadership skills and his commitment to the game. As the second Firebird to earn this award in just four years, it is a great example of the type of character level and culture we have inside our dressing room in Flint.”

Dellandrea follows 2016-17 award winner Alex Peters as the second Firebirds player to earn the award. Past recipients also include Isaac Ratcliffe (Guelph 2019), Justin Lemcke (Hamilton 2018), Michael Webster (Barrie 2016), Max Domi (London 2015), Matt Finn (Guelph 2014), Colin Miller (Sault Ste. Marie 2013), Andrew Agozzino (Niagara 2012), Ryan Ellis (Windsor 2011), John Kurtz (Sudbury 2010) and Chris Terry (Plymouth 2009).

Nomination forms are submitted annually by OHL General Managers on behalf of their individual team captains. The selection committee consists of a panel of four, representing media from each OHL division.

2020 OHL Awards announcements continue on Wednesday when the OHL recognizes its All-Star and All-Rookie Teams for the 2019-20 season.

For full coverage of the 2020 OHL Awards, be sure to visit ontariohockeyleague.com or follow along on TwitterInstagram and Facebook.

About the Ontario Hockey League
The Ontario Hockey League is a proud member of the Canadian Hockey League which is the world’s largest development hockey league with 60 teams in nine Canadian provinces and four American states. In addition to the OHL, the CHL is made up of the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and the Western Hockey League. The CHL supplies more players to the National Hockey League and U SPORTS than any other league. For more information visit http://www.ontariohockeyleague.com/.

Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 24

Toronto, ON – The Canadian Hockey League today announced the week twenty-four edition of the Kia CHL Top-10 Rankings for the 2019-20 season.  The weekly rankings of the CHL’s Top-10 teams are selected by a panel of National Hockey League scouts.

Kia CHL Top 10 Rankings – Week 24

Rank: Team: Last Week Ranked: Total Weeks Ranked:
1 Sherbrooke Phoenix (49-8-3-1) 1 24
2 Ottawa 67’s (47-11-0-1) 2 22
3 Moncton Wildcats (47-12-1-0) 3 18
4 Everett Silvertips (44-12-3-1) 6 18
5 Edmonton Oil Kings (41-10-6-4) 5 21
6 Portland Winterhawks (42-11-3-4) 4 14
7 London Knights (42-15-1-1) 8 10
8 Chicoutimi Sagueneens (41-12-5-1) 7 24
9 Kitchener Rangers (38-15-5-2) 9 5
10 Saginaw Spirit (38-16-3-2) 3
Honourable Mention:
Flint Firebirds (39-19-1-1) 10 3
Lethbridge Hurricanes (37-16-2-5) 1
Spokane Chiefs (37-18-4-1) 0