Last Thursday, the Mississauga Steelheads acquired Spencer Watson from the Kingston Frontenacs, and the response seemed to be a resounding “meh”. People, including myself, openly questioned if Watson was the fix to what had been ailing the Trout. After diving into the standings though, it became clear why this trade happened; and that is because the Central Division is a tire fire. All five teams in the division have a negative goal differential, and all five teams have failed to accumulate a winning percentage higher than 0.600. So if you’re Mississauga, why not try to load up at every position, and take that vulnerable division title?
We’ll call it the Niagara template, after last year’s run to the OHL Final. After having a middling season despite a wealth of talent, the IceDogs star players turned it on in the playoffs, before running into the bulldozer that was last season’s London Knights. Mississauga, based on the early season returns, could be on their way to a similar type of season, hoping that their talent shines through in the playoffs.
1. Erie Otters (LW: 1) – It’s been 14 games since they’ve lost in regulation. Enough said.
2. London Knights (LW: 3) – Yes, I know they lost to Hamilton, but they have been scoring a LOT of goals, and should be getting Tyler Parsons and Max Jones back soon.
3. Oshawa Generals (LW: 4) – On a great hot streak, wing won eight of their last ten. Three games in three days this week will make it hard to keep the streak alive.
4. Windsor Spitfires (LW: 5) – Playing more like the team we expected them to be with four straight wins. Offence has come around while the defence is still stifling.
5. Hamilton Bulldogs (LW: 10) – Faced a difficult week, playing three times in four days, and passed the test. Their game against London was hugely entertaining.
6.Sarnia Sting (LW: 7) – Two straight tough weeks, but fared better this time. Won a key divisional game against Sault Ste. Marie.
7. Kitchener Rangers (LW: 2) – Losers of three straight, including a 7-3 whooping against Erie. Two key divisional games this week against Owen Sound and London.
8. Peterborough Petes (LW: 13) – Winners of three straight, they played a heck of a game to beat Hamilton in OT, although the rest of the week wasn’t too challenging.
9. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (LW: 6) – Really could have used a win against Sarnia, but bounced back with a win against Flint. Not a bad week, but simply got passed.
10. Sudbury Wolves (LW: 9) – Tough loss to a good team against London, but pulled out an important game against division rival Mississauga.
11. North Bay Battalion (LW: 8) – Managed to get three out of six points this week, but boy did that 7-0 loss to London look bad. Leading the division by a hair.
12. Owen Sound Attack (LW: 11) – Can’t knock them too much for losses to Oshawa and Erie. Notched a nice OT win against Sarnia.
13. Flint Firebirds (LW:12) – Beating Kitchener would have looked better last week, and losing 5-2 to Sault Ste. Marie hurts.
14. Mississauga Steelheads (LW: 16) – Three out of a possible six points is better than they had been doing, but at some point they need to address their defence/goaltending.
15. Kingston Frontenacs (LW: 14) – Notched a win against Guelph after close games against Ottawa and Peterborough. Amazingly, they have the second fewest goals against in the O.
16. Guelph Storm (LW: 19) – Took Erie to OT and beat Ottawa before running out of steam against Kingston.
17. Niagara IceDogs (LW: 17) – Continued their run of playing in tight games, losing their three games by a combined four goals.
18. Ottawa 67’s (LW: 18) – On a two game losing streak, including a 7-0 loss against Oshawa.
19. Barrie Colts (LW: 15) – They’re reeling, with four straight losses. Have a good upcoming schedule for a team looking to bounce back.
20. Saginaw Spirit (LW: 20) – Yes, they beat Barrie and are still ranked below them. Need to see more overall before they can move up from the basement.