With Halloween around the corner, it seems appropriate to take a look at the scariest things in the OHL. This isn’t just about one way of scaring people though. Whether it’s a player who nobody likes to play against, or a team that could be even better, here’s a look at the Top 5 scariest “things” in the OHL.
Nothing is scarier for a defender than seeing the puck go into the corner with Yakimowicz hot in pursuit. The defender knows he’s going to get hit, and it likely will hurt. A big, physical player, Yakimowicz was a critical piece to the Knights Memorial Cup run last season, providing energy with his big hits and “grind-it-out” style of play. This season he’s even added an offensive side to his game, leading the surprising Sudbury Wolves in scoring after a trade.
The Sarnia Sting have the third best record in the OHL, but that isn’t what makes them scary. What makes the Sting so frightening is how much better they could be if they got Pavel Zacha and Travis Konecny back from the NHL. Who in their right mind would want to take on their centre depth with two massive players like Zacha and Nikita Korostelev down the middle? While it is unlikely at this point that they get both players back, there is still the off chance that one of them returns to the Sting this season.
When DeBrincat is open in the slot, there’s almost the same feeling of dread and inevitability that one gets when watching the bad guy in a horror film stalk his prey. It starts with the feeling that something’s off, as you’ve lost track of where DeBrincat is on the ice. And then it happens. In a split second, one that feels like an eternity, you see a pass headed straight for the slot, where DeBrincat, with his stick cocked back, ready to shoot, is waiting. In that split second, you’re praying for a stick to block the pass. It never comes. DeBrincat just sunk your team. That’s some pretty scary stuff.
There isn’t really anything clever, or some comparison to a horror film, that I have to make here. Schmalz is simply a massive human being. At 6’6, the Owen Sound winger is not fun to play against, as he often is too big for defenders. Good luck clearing him from the front of the net. And while he’s in front of the net, how on earth is a goalie supposed to see anything? There are few players who immediately can scare someone quite like Matt Schmalz.
The Bulldogs have been one of the hot starters of the year so far, even if this past week hasn’t been stellar, but that’s not why this team is scary. What’s scary is that this isn’t even supposed to be their year yet. Already one of the top teams in the OHL, the Bulldogs big run looks like it was made with next season in mind, when players like Strome, Entwistle and Studenic will be freshly drafted NHLers. However, those players have played excellently to start the year, and Hamilton could still be scary good this year.