2019 OHL Cup Ranking: November’s Top-10

Although it’s been a mere month since we published our inaugural OHL Cup Ranking of the 2018-19 season, there has been an overwhelming amount of change throughout the current standings owing to outstanding regular season and tournament play.

Truthfully, it’s incredibly difficult to believe that this year’s minor midget campaign is already nearing its half-way mark. Sure, there are a bevy of tournaments and crucial games yet to be played, however, the 2018-19 regular season is unfolding before our eyes and the campaign’s more notable teams have been quick to establish themselves as legitimate contenders.

Related: 2019 OHL Prospect Profiles

Since we last convened, the Don Mills Flyers have refused to lose a single game and continue to stand as the beast within this year’s field of competitors. And, while the Toronto Young Nationals and Toronto Marlboros have retained their standing within the top-10, the highly touted Mississauga Rebels have fallen off dramatically, going 2-5-0 over the past month.

Meanwhile, in the ETA, the York-Simcoe Express have hit a bit of a rough patch, sporting a 2-3-2 record since October’s ranking. At the same time, the North Central Predators have taken advantage, now tied with the Express for the West Division lead with two games in hand.

 

The SCTA remains highly competitive at the top of the standings. While the Niagara North Stars have maintained the league lead, the Halton Hurricanes and Guelph Gryphons are hot on their tail. The Gryphons, specifically, have found their stride of late, winning seven straight and nine of their last 10.

The Alliance has seen perhaps the most movement over the past month, specifically with the Waterloo Wolves falling from first to sixth in the league standings due to a 0-4-1 record since last month’s ranking. As a result, the London Jr. Knights have climbed up to second in the standings with the league’s most potent offence, averaging 4.7 goals per game.

Related: 2019 OHL Draft Rankings

Owing to the embattled performances of four particular teams, a new and highly competitive slew of clubs have cracked this month’s top-10. And, although their places are anything but secure, consistent and overwhelming play in the coming months could very well cement their respective places as legitimate contenders for the OHL Cup.

Now, if you’ve already met October’s top-10 teams, dive head-first into this month’s OHL Cup Ranking:

10. Niagara North Stars

  • League Record: 11-2-4; 58GF & 29GA
  • Tournament Record: 3-3-2
  • October Ranking: Not Ranked

The Niagara North Stars have surpassed Halton and maintained their lead among the SCTA standings for several weeks now. Despite lacklustre results at the Titans Early Bird and Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament, the North Stars boast a deep forward corps that allows them to roll three lines all game, led by the likes of Liam Shwedyk, Parker Hendsbee, Matteo Giampa, and Nathan Zadorozny.

But, the key to their success is owed to tremendous defensive play by all involved, displaying a culture that has bought into a team-first approach. The North Stars have developed a reputation for their dedicated work ethic in all three zones, especially in supporting each other and the puck in the defensive zone. Niagara has been consistent throughout the season, and their 66.7 GF% goes to show that, a rate which is 10% greater than any other SCTA team.

9. North Central Predators

  • League Record: 10-3-1; 53GF & 38GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-4-1; Sweet 16 at Titans Early Bird and Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: Not Ranked

The North Central Predators remain one of the hottest teams in the ETA, riding a 5-1-1 record over the past month. A hard-working and grinding squad, the Predators have a knack for finding a way to win tight games. Led by the dynamic trio of Ethan Larmand, Cole Patey, and Nicholas Dowling, the Predators feature a high-skill and blazing-fast top line. We also encourage scouts, OHL teams, parents, and fellow players to not forget about Brett Bressette. A tremendously talented forward, Bressette is currently recovering from an injury and hopes to return this season.

On the other side of the puck, North Central plays a responsible and intelligent style that limits opponent scoring chances and moves the puck back up ice with consistency. In particular, Chas Sharpe has shown an excellent ability to keep opponents to the outside while also joining the rush to create offensive opportunities for his team. In goal, Wade Monague has shown supreme talent to hold the Predators lead through impressive lateral movement and a calm demeanour between the pipes.

8. London Jr. Knights

  • League Record: 10-4-3; 80GF & 49GA
  • Tournament Record: 4-4-1; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: Not Ranked

The London Jr. Knights crack the top-10 for the first time this season on the back of a 4-1-3 record in the past four weeks. Led by an explosive offensive attack, the Knights utilize three lines that can all find the back of the net. Led specifically by the trio of Brett Harrison, Riley Wood, and Jordan D’Intino, London unsurprisingly leads the Alliance in goals for.

Unable to put together a notable showing at either of this year’s major tournaments thus far, the Jr. Knights will be a motivated and dangerous squad to watch in the coming months, as they continue to gel as a team and grow in the potency. Further, London’s defensive corps plays a hard-checking and in-your-face style that makes them a nuisance to go up against. With an efficient transition game, the Jr. Knights can make opposing teams pay for their mistakes in a matter of seconds.

7. Toronto Red Wings

  • League Record: 8-5-3; 58GF & 30GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-2-2; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: Not Ranked

An up-and-coming team that is just starting to scratch the surface of their potential, the Toronto Red Wings have established themselves as a true threat in the GTHL. Winners of seven of their past nine games, the Red Wings feature a potent offence that is led by Francesco Pinelli, Ryan Gillespie, and ’04-born Adam Fantilli. Playing a high-paced game with impressive puck movement, the Wings can turn momentum on its head in a matter of moments.

On the back end, goaltender Joshua Rozenweig has slowly but surely grown stronger as the year has worn on, a testament to the play of the team’s defensive corps as well. Despite the slow start, the Red Wings goal output now rivals the likes of the Flyers, Nationals, and Marlboros. Their growth was put on display at the Wendy Dufton Memorial Tournament, where they cruised to a 4-0-0 round robin record.

6. Chicago Mission

  • League Record: 9-0-0; 54GF & 15GA
  • Tournament Record: 10-2-1; Final at Titans Early Bird; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: 8th

It’s been a perfect past month of play for the Chicago Mission, who have ascended to sixth-overall within this month’s OHL Cup Ranking. Alongside a 6-0 record since we last met, the Mission put forth 34 goals for against a mere 14 against in dominating their opponents with both consistency and force. Owing to their stellar play, the Mission now boast a perfect 9-0 record this season and stand high atop the HPHL standings.

Leading the charge for the Mission has continued to be highly touted prospect Jack Devine, who blasted home five goals and 11 points in his past six games played. Further supplementing the team’s attack has been the likes of Davis Burnside, Alexander Babich, and Jonah Copre — who alongside goaltender Nick Larrabee have been essential in fuelling the Mission’s impressive play to date.

5. Brantford 99ers

  • League Record: 12-3-2; 78GF & 42GA
  • Tournament Record: 9-2-1; Quarterfinals at Wendy Dufton; Champions at Dale Parker
  • October Ranking: 7th

Expected to be the team-to-beat in the Alliance, the Brantofrd 99ers are living up to their reputation through their first two months of action. After riding an 11-0-1 run, the 99ers finally proved to be human in a 6-1 defeat to the Jr. Knights, their second loss to the team this season. Regardless, Brantford remains the favourite in their league and has begun to earn some separation at the top of the standings.

Led by top 2019 OHL Draft prospect Maddox Callens, the 99ers boast three of the top five scorers in the league, along with Landom McCallum and Steven LaForme. On the blue line, Cole Hipkin is another name to know and a regular contributor towards Brantford’s success. Overall, the 99ers display a mixture of prominent stars along with effective role players to combine as an all-around force and one of the toughest teams to face in Ontario.

4. Whitby Wildcats

  • League Record: 13-1-3; 85GF & 29GA
  • Tournament Record: 8-2-0; Sweet 16 at Titans Early Bird; Sweet 16 at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: 6th

The Whitby Wildcats continue to pose a real threat for opponents, continuing to roll along with a 6-0-1 record since their sole loss on the season, a 3-2 defeat at the hands of the Peterborough Petes. The Wildcats pace the ETA in both goals for, with 85, and goals against, with 29, roughly halfway through the regular season. Their 74.6 GF% ranks second among Ontario’s four Minor Midget leagues to only the Don Mills Flyers, who boast a 82.4 GF%.

The Wildcats are led by their top line of Brenden Sirizzotti, Ryan Winterton, and Thomas Johnston, who make up the ETA’s top three point producers and have combined for a whopping 54.1% of Whitby goals scored this year. Along the blue line, all three Wildcat pairings can chip in offensively as well, all while remaining diligent and efficient in their own end. This team is a well-oiled machine that will force opponents to play their style of game and pick them apart in all three zones.

3. Toronto Marlboros

  • League Record: 12-2-2; 65GF & 28GA
  • Tournament Record: 9-2-2; Quarterfinals at Titans Early Bird; Final at Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: 3rd

Despite a loss to Don Mills and a tie against the pesky Vaughan Kings to close out their month of October, the Toronto Marlboros have rebounded of late with six consecutive and convincing wins. And, although Don Mills may be out of reach, the perennial powerhouse once again finds itself battling for position atop this season’s standings.

As has been the case in many previous campaigns, the Marlboros are a team defined by their exceptional depth. Although lacking a ‘star player’ per se, Toronto has come to dominate its opposition of late through committed team play and a dedication to consistency.

Since we last convened, the trio of Danil Zhilkin, Wyatt Johnston, and Artem Guryev have been superb. However, the contributions put forth by Tucker Robertson, Marc Boudreau, Justin O’Donnell, and Ethan Del Mastro have been equally crucial and have propelled the team to sustained success. Fuelled by the strong goaltending provided by both Domenic Rollo and Ben West, the Marlboros have become increasingly dominant and could very well leapfrog the Nationals come December’s ranking.

2. Toronto Young Nationals

  • League Record: 13-3-0; 71GF & 35GA
  • Tournament Record: 5-1-0; Quarterfinals at Titans Early Bird
  • October Ranking: 2nd

Although the Toronto Young Nationals stand as a team capable of legitimately competing against Ontario’s best this season, they have proven to be human of late. After a scorching hot start to their past month of play owing to a 4-0 record, the Nationals have dropped two consecutive contests to teams competing within the GTHL. While the first of which came against the upstart Red Wings, the Nationals’ loss to the Markham Majors made a serious dent to the team’s momentum.

However, these two recent losses should not take way from the Nationals’ success to date, as the team has been one of the GTHL’s most consistent and lethal thus far this season.

Led by a growing star in Zachary Dean, the Nationals have received excellent scoring owing to the presences of Ryan Del Monte and Josh Bloom, as well as superb defending in the forms of Deven Nagra and Landon Cato. Backstopped by a Jonathan Quick-like goaltender in Samuel Moncada, the breakout performances of Ikky Kogawa, Owen Forester, and Declan Ride have come to afford the Nationals with depth rivalled only by the high-flying Flyers.

1. Don Mills Flyers

  • League Record: 17-0-0; 112GF & 24GA
  • Tournament Record: 16-0-0; Champions of Titans Early Bird and Wendy Dufton
  • October Ranking: 1st

Don Mills is a runaway train which can’t be stopped.

Not only have the Flyers played to a perfect regular season record thus far this season, but the team also remains flawless in tournament play — affording the powerhouse team a combined 33-0 record to date. For Don Mills, their success has come as the direct result of exemplary team play — each and every player has contributed to the Flyers’ dominance on consistent basis.

Since our October ranking, Shane Wright has continued to lead the charge for Don Mills. However, Wright has been aided increasingly by outstanding performances from his fellow teammates, as the Flyers’ forwards, defence, and goaltenders have all competed with a remarkable level of consistency and determination. In particular, the games of Francesco Arcuri, Cole Eichler, Brennan Othmann, and Edward Moskowitz — to name a few — have continued to grow and afford Don Mills with unparalleled depth.

As we move later into November and the beginning of December, the most significant question facing the Flyers is whether or not they will lose a game this season. Although they have certainly had their close calls, Don Mills stands as the most complete minor midget team in contention this campaign and have shown no signs of slowing down.

* All team records are as of November 13th, 2018*

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