Date:  Source: Ontario Junior A Hockey League


Lucas Stanojevic of the Aurora Tigers – in the throwback Los Angeles Kings’ uniforms – deflects the puck in front of Georgetown Raiders netminder Mikael Kingo and defenceman Carson Lloyd during the second period of the Tigers’ 3-1 loss at the Aurora Community Centre Friday.  (Photo by Tim Bates / OJHL Images). 


Seven weeks into the 2021-22 Ontario Junior Hockey League season, the Trenton Golden Hawks remain the highest flyers.

In the East Division, Trenton has opened up a seven-point lead on the Haliburton County Huskies and eight on the Wellington Dukes. 

The Pickering Panthers saw their winning streak ended but they still lead the North by four over the Collingwood Blues. 

Eleven points separate first and fifth in the West with the Burlington Cougars three points up on the Georgetown Raiders.

In the hotly-contested South, the North York Rangers ended the week two points ahead of the Toronto Junior Canadiens and three up on the St. Michael's Buzzers. 

In the North/East Conference, Trenton has a winning percentage of .800 followed by the Junior Canadiens on .725, the Rangers on .705 and the Buzzers at .700.

In the South/West Conference Burlington and Georgetown are tied with .750 percentages. Pickering is at .714.

During the past week, it was three wins in three games for arch rivals Wellington and Trenton in the East Division. The Haliburton County Huskies and Collingwood Blues both went 2-for-2.

MONDAY - Two teams who played on Sunday met again this time at a different venue as the Cobourg Cougars welcomed the Wellington Dukes in. The two clubs came in tied for fourth in the East. It took Kallaway Mercer just 41 seconds to record his tenth goal of the season to put the Cougars ahead and George Krotiris made it 2-0 halfway through the opening period and at the end of twenty minutes it was 3-0 courtesy a goal from Trevor Hoskin. All four of the goals in the second period were scored in the same net as those in the first as the Dukes took a 4-3 lead including Corbin Roach's first two in the OJHL. They would add three more in the final frame to win, going away, 7-3. As well as Roach, Barret Joynt had a pair of goals becoming the first Duke to reach ten this season.

TUESDAY - The Trenton Golden Hawks beat the Muskies 5-1 in Lindsay to go seven points clear in the East. William Nguyen made 27 saves for the club's 13th victory of the season. Nathan Oickle's power-play goal got the 'Hawks on the board first and Jordan Fuller, unassisted, scored the game winner in the second. Dalton Bancroft's two assists sent him clear into first place in OJHL points with 34. In the third period, Lindsay captain Will Jones made it a 2-1 game before the Hawks exploded for three in just over five minutes. Eleven of the next 12 games for Trenton will be at the friendly confines of their Duncan McDonald Memorial Arena. 

WEDNESDAY - Sebastian Labora turned back 26 Oakville Blades' shots on goal and in the process recorded his 50th OJHL victory as the Georgetown Raiders took win No. 12 to move within a point of the West Division-leading Burlington Cougars, winning at the Alcott in Georgetown 4-1. Brandon Kakei had two goals and one assist to lead the way. The Blades were on the powerplay when Evan Pringle netted their only goal of the game early in the third. For the Raiders, Aaron Andrade scored his first goal.

THURSDAY - Game one of a home-and-home series, this one at the Gretzky, between the Brantford 99ers and the Burlington Cougars. The start was delayed by Zamboni issues but there was no delay in scoring when the game began with three goals coming inside the first four minutes from the Cougars' Jack Richard and Keegan Decaluwe and the 99ers’ Jaden Lee. Lucas Thompson, 38 seconds into the second period, tied things up before Easton Wainwright scored twice to make it 4-2 Brantford after forty minutes. Burlington’s Josh Belgrave made things interesting with a little over five minutes left, but the home side would hold on for the 4-3 victory. With the win, the 99ers hoisted themselves out of fifth position in the closely-fought West Division.

Christian Cicigoi posted his second shutout of the season as his Haliburton Huskies won 6-0 in Caledon. Ethan Gonsalves and Jonah Cochrane scored their first OJHL goals in the win. Oliver Tarr's two assists put him at the 29-point mark. Sam Solarino opened and closed the scoring, his second goal coming shorthanded. The Admirals' Jack Guerra could not connect on a late-game penalty shot. 

FRIDAY - A quick turnaround for the Burlington Cougars and the 99ers this time at the Central and this one would belong to the home side as they built up a 4-1 lead after 20 minutes and cruised to a 7-1 victory in a physical battle. Matthew Zebedee had the hat trick and an assist. Matt has now recorded at least one point in his last 10 games. A big night for Jack Richard who had two goals and five points. Thomas Lenart had a shorthanded goal. Kyle Metson made 26 saves for the win. Cougars Head Coach Mark Jooris on the bounceback win: "We definitely wanted to send a message, we were not happy with our performance in Brantford. I'm really proud of the way the guys responded." The Cougars will have to do without a leading scorer in Josh Belgrave (25 points) for two games after he instigated a late fight with the 99ers Matvey Shalnev.

The Blades hosted Collingwood with former Oakville coach Rob Bentivegna, GM Mike Tarantino and director of hockey ops Jordan Selinger back in familiar territory at Sixteen Mile for the first time since joining the Blues. The home team could not find a way past Noah Pak who stopped all 35 shots.There was no score for the first two periods and early in the third Will Redick scored shorthanded and the Blues would follow that up with markers from Mark McIntosh and Ayden Dooley into the empty Blades' net for the 3-0 final. Jake Laville made his Blues debut after being acquired from Trenton. Tarantino on his Blues so far: "It was all new to begin with – new players, new coaches, a new way to play. It took a while for everyone to get acclimatized but we are getting better as a team and moving in the right direction. I would be lying if I said this was just another game for our coaching and management staff and it was a good win for us. Our goal is to be playing our best hockey at the end of the regular season but the pieces are falling into place for us now despite some key injuries."

The Markham Royals were looking to build on their last-second win against the Stouffville Spirit as they welcomed the division-leading Pickering Panthers and they would come close but just short as the visitors took the 4-3 win. Dustin Hutton opened the scoring for the Panthers just 27 seconds into the game and also netted the game winner in the third and Ian Martin had a goal and two assists. Blueliner Callum Haslam scored two for the Royals as the Panthers continued their winning march of five in a row.

The Aurora Tigers started a big three-game weekend at home in tough against the Georgetown Raiders. Eric Russell scored two goals in just over a minute in the first frame and Brandon Kakei extended that to three in the second. Defenceman William Smith spoiled Mikael Kingo's shutout bid with a power-play score with a little over five minutes left in the game. Final: 3-1 Raiders.

The Muskies needed to get back in the win column but at the other end of home ice a tough foe, the North York Rangers. This one would go into overtime tied at threes where NHL prospect George Fegaras got his fourth goal and 16th point of the season. Max Donohoe had two assists for the visitors lifting his season total to 20. Nate Burrelle had two for Lindsay, including the tying goal in the third. A 4-3 North York OT victory.

The 'Battle of Toronto' with the St. Michael's Buzzers at home versus the Junior Canadiens and the home team would leap into second spot in the crazy top three in the South with a 5-1 win. The game winner came off the stick of Bryce Sutherland, his club-leading 16th, with the game's only power-play goal in Period 2. Cole Moore picked up his 11th win, making 35 saves. Matthew Wilde had his 12th for the Canadiens and that tied the contest at 1-1 early in the second period.

On top of the East world, Trenton started a run of 11 of their next 12 games at the 'Hangar' in a determined mood, doubling Cobourg 4-2. Jake Campbell led the way with two goals, one on the powerplay and one shorthanded. The Mauro brothers, Devin and Justin, each had one. Blueliners Brannon Butler and Julien Jacob chipped in with two assists each. The Golden Hawks moved seven points ahead of the Huskies with the win. Zach Smith had both Cougar goals, the first and last of the game.

The Dukes registered win 10 by doubling the Toronto Patriots 4-2. Emmet Pierce's seventh goal of the season was the late game winner. Will Mitchell's marker gave the Dukes a 1-0 advantage after forty minutes. Jacob Vreugdenhil's two assists gave him six points in his last four games. Harrison Ballard joined teammate Barret Joynt on ten goals. The Patriots' Crossley Stewart's power-play goal briefly tied the game at twos.

SATURDAY - In Stouffville, the Panthers eked out a 3-2 victory with ex-Port Dover Sailor and Hamilton Kilty Bee Peyton Adams-Matthews tabbing his first OJHL goal and it would turn out to be the winner. The club became the first to reach the 15-win mark this season. Lucas Rowe had No. 11 as the visitors built up a 3-0 lead in the first frame. The Spirit came back with goals from Hayden Simpson and Carson Whitson in the second period. Andrew Ballantyne had the win, making 25 saves. Ayden Bulmer, in the tough loss, stopped 29 Panthers' shots. Simpson played his game in the OHL the next day, for the Spirit’s affiliates in Sudbury.

Nine goals in Aurora with the Blades gaining the upper hand with the 5-4 decision. Parker Murray had Oakvlle's first two goals and three points on the night. He now leads the team with 12 goals scored. For the Tigers, Lucas Stanojevic and Tomasz Szczerba had their first OJHL goals and Lee Chiang found the net for the 10th time this season. Captain Brendan Bowie had a goal and two assists for the Blades who outscored the Tigers 2-1 in both the first and second periods.

The Huskies posted an away win at the Westwood by a 3-2 count, the third game of the night decided by a single goal. Ajax's Lucas Stevenson scored the winner early into the second period. In making 28 saves Christian Cicigoi posted his 10th win of the campaign. The Patriots' Nolan Lowe made it a one-goal game in the last minute of the third and their 'keeper, Kyle Curtin made 39 saves. Once again close but no point reward for the Patriots.

The third win of the season for the Mississauga Chargers and it came against the South Division-leading Rangers 4-2. It was the only home win on the night's  four-game schedule. After a 0-0 first, Nick Cordeiro had his eighth of the season only to see super-rookie George Fegeras tie it up. Torin Hession picked a good time to score his first OJHL goal, it gave the Chargers a 2-1 advantage after forty minutes. Jck Tos increased their lead to 3-1 before Max Donohoe cut the deficit to one. Daniel Baldassara, who is featured in this week’s The OJ Today TV show, had the empty-netter.  

SUNDAY - Three matinees and, unusually, five evening games on the card with the home teams winning in all but one.

The Dukes were looking to build on their modest two-game winning streak, and three in their last four and they had the recently struggling Muskies in town. Three goals in the first period gave them the edge and with the 5-2 final they moved to within one point of second-place Haliburton in the East. Captain Emmet Pierce had the hat trick, getting his third goal with nine seconds remaining in the third period and the Muskies' net vacated. Third year Duke Jacob Vreugdenhil's 11th of the season was the match winner and Brodie McDougall had three helpers – he now has 14 points in as many games. William Everson had both Lindsay tallies. Captain Emmet on the Dukes to date: "Lately, we have been playing a full 60-minute game and we have improved a lot defensively and we have managed to keep scoring goals. It feels like we are really finding our stride now, but we certainly did not have the start we wanted. It's very competitive in the East, you can't take any night off."

The Rangers, playing their third game in as many days, wanted to rebound after last night's loss as they welcomed the Patriots and they put their stamp on this one with a 5-1 win. Fifteen-year old call-up Lucas Ellinas, with his first OJHL goal, got them rolling. Lucas Trimarchi denied James Gray his second shutout of the season by scoring with a little over five minutes left on the clock but the goalie was able to post his 11th win. 22 games, 15 wins and 31 points now for the first-place Rangers.

The 99ers were at home at the Gretzky to play the Raiders, winners of their last four, including a 3-2 home win over the 99'ers. Georgetown made the most of their man-advantage situations in the first with goals from Andrew Della Rovere and Eric Russell. Following the Raiders' Chris Ishmael's unsuccessful penalty shot, Brantford pulled even with goals from Jake Partridge and Lucas Thompson. Brendan Anderson potted a shorthanded goal in the third to extend his point scoring run to eight games for the 3-2 99ers’ win. In his first OJHL appearance, call-up goalie Slava Gordeichuk stopped 34. Born in St. Petersburg, Russia, he has made 16 appearances for the GOJHL's Brantford Bandits. Captain Jake Partridge on the year so far: "Our goalie was 'lights out' today and that really helped us. You have to remember we have a young team. We did not want to sit in last place but we are figuring things out. We are not totally satisfied. We have to be more consistent but the younger players, like Anthony Rebelo, are gaining valuable experience and getting better all the time." 

The Blues faced a much-improved Royals squad at the Eddie Bush arena and this one would go into overtime with the home side taking a 3-2 win. Blueliner Cole Hipkin put Collingwood up 1-0 in the first frame. Shane Hyman tied it up in the second before Adam O'Marra scored his club-leading eighth goal to put the home team back up by one. Adam on that goal: "It  started with a great point shot from Cole Williamson, which found its way to the front of the net, Mark McIntosh poked it out to me which made my job easy to put it in."  In the third, Luca Fasciano forced the extra time with a power-play goal and the hero there would be blueliner Williamson, recently obtained from Trenton, who scored his first OJHL goal.

Fresh off an upset victory over the Rangers, the Chargers made the small trek to Scotiabank Pond, falling victims to a 4-0 shutout shared by the Junior Canadiens’ Selby Warren and Christian Trianni. Zev Podolski, Christian Catalano, Ben Loreto (his first) and Cooper Betrand had the goals. A three-point night for Catalano. Matthew Wilde and Tyler Fukakusa chipped in with a pair of assists each. 

At the Central on Drury Lane, host Burlington and the Spirit locked horns with the No. 1 team in the West getting the two points to move three ahead of the Raiders with a 4-2 win. Goal 15 for Jack Richard was the game winner, unassisted in the second period. It was the first game in a Cougar uniform for Michigan-born forward Connor MacDonell, just obtained from the Renfrew Wolves of the CCHL. Ryan Russell had a shorthanded goal for the Spirit.

The recently roaring Panthers, leading in the North and on a six-game winning run, hosted the Tigers. Twenty-year old Kieran Flynn, up from the PJHL's Jr. C North Kawartha Knights, had his first OJHL goal to put them ahead. But that was followed by two quick goals from Tigers Connor Van Weelie and Tomasz Szczerba in the third. Pickering forward Lucas Rowe could not connect on a penalty shot with just over a minute left and Aurora was able to hold on for the 2-1 win. Nolan Boyd got the win stopping 31 shots while Zach Roy saved 37 in the loss.

A battle of the giants in Trenton with the Buzzers, second in the bottleneck that is the top of the South, landing at the 'Hangar'. The 'Hawks would extend their winning streak to four games by a 4-2 margin. St. Mike's Maine commit, Jared Coccimiglio, with his sixth goal and 18th point of the season got his club on the scoresheet first before Justin Mauro and Jake Campbell found the net in the second to put Trenton ahead. Within the first minute of the third Jordan Fuller made it 3-1. Ben Stewart's marker got the Buzzers to within one but Devin Mauro connected for his seventh of the season to end the scoring. Dalton Bancroft's two assists for the 'Hawks put him at an OJHL-leading 28 assists and 37 points.

Follow Ron Valentine on Twitter @ronandlynda See Ron talking OJHL hockey in the latest episode of The OJ Today

The OJ Today #4 November 19, 2021