Now that we’re through three weeks, it is becoming clearer who is for real, and who just got off to a hot/cold start. For example, you have Guelph, who got off to a hot start, but did so by beating Saginaw twice. Now that they’ve had to face the likes of Hamilton and Kitchener, they slide back down in the standings to a more reasonable spot. Vice versa, you have Windsor, who after losing to Oshawa and Sault Ste. Marie, have been a buzzsaw in taking three straight decisions. With that in mind, don’t expect as many drastic shifts in the rankings as the league should now begin to sort itself out.
1. Hamilton Bulldogs (LW: 2) – Still scoring in bunches, and this week’s wins against Guelph and Niagara show that they can win the tight games too.
2. Windsor Spitfires (LW: 5) – Not getting Nattinen or Sergachev back for now, but top line of Logan Brown, Jeremiah Addison and Gabe Vilardi has been lethal.
3 Sarnia Sting (LW: 6) – Passed their test against Kitchener, though they won’t be getting Konecny, Chychrun or Zacha back. Nikita Korostelev has been playing out of his mind since returning.
4. London Knights (LW: 7) – Haven’t lost in regulation since opening night, and getting Juolevi back is a boon. Their game in Windsor last Sunday could be a playoff preview.
5. Kitchener Rangers (LW: 3) – Lost to Barrie in a trap game, but bounced back strong against Guelph. Still needs a win against one of the big boys.
6. Flint Firebirds (LW:1) – Hard to knock them too much for losses to an Erie team that found their groove and a Mississauga team that’s loaded with pro prospects.
7. Erie Otters (LW: 16) – The return of DeBrincat launches these guys into the top 10. That’s how much he means to this team. He was an instant fix to their scoring woes.
8. Sudbury Wolves (LW: 12) – Still not sold on them, but at the end of the day they’ve got four wins. Almost pulled off an impressive comeback in Niagara.
9. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (LW: 4) – A big letdown after playing some impressive hockey last week. The North Bay loss wasn’t bad, but 6-1 to Owen Sound is inexcusable.
10. North Bay Battalion (LW: 14) – Beat what had been a hot Sault Ste. Marie team, and notched a win over Niagara. Quietly taking care of business.
11. Kingston Frontenacs (LW: 19) – The goal differential still isn’t pretty, but they notched two wins before taking Ottawa to OT, so the jump up is earned.
12. Niagara IceDogs (LW: 18) – Beat Erie and Sudbury (although they shouldn’t have let Sudbury back in that one). Have only had one game decided by more than two goals.
13. Barrie Colts (LW: 10) – Big win over Kitchener kind of gets negated when it’s sandwiched by losses in games they should have won.
14. Ottawa 67’s (LW: 9) – Back-to-back 2-1 losses at home hurts, but they came back nicely by beating Kingston on the road in OT. Saginaw loss looks bad though.
15. Guelph Storm (LW: 8) – Played three tough teams and got walloped. Things won’t be any easier against Mississauga and Erie this week.
16. Owen Sound Attack (LW: 17) – Here by virtue of their 6-1 win over the Greyhounds alone. Desperately need to find some sort of consistency on offence.
17. Oshawa Generals (LW: 11) – Nice win in Barrie takes a bit of the sting out of losing 6-0 to Erie. Three games this week against Eastern conference foes could give them a boost.
18. Peterborough Petes (LW: 13) – Rough schedule, and a win against Saginaw isn’t going to warrant much of a change.
19. Mississauga Steelheads (LW: 15) – Tough opening schedule be damned, this team has too much talent to still be hanging around at the bottom of the standings.
20. Saginaw Spirit (LW: 20) – On the bright-side, they notched their first win over Ottawa. On the down-side, they face Kitchener this week.