Jaker's Dozen

Jaker’s Dozen: 27 Club, Steelhead Surge, and the Powerful Rangers

Nico Daws is enjoying a breakout season for the Guelph Storm. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Storm starting to slide – After surpassing expectations for the first half of the season, even leading the Western Conference at times. The team has now lost seven straight and now have only a seven point cushion over 9th place Sault Ste. Marie. To make matters worse, star goalie Nico Daws was injured at the CHL/NHL Top Prospects game in Hamilton.

Steelheads surge – A different story in Mississauga, after battling at the bottom of the conference through the first half of the season the Steelheads have surged the last little bit, and are even threatening the Sudbury Wolves for first place in the Central Division.

27 club – Top four teams in Western Conference, Windsor Spitfires, Kitchener Rangers, Saginaw Spirit and London Knights, all have 27 wins.

Young guns – Marco Rossi (27-51–78) and Cole Perfetti (24-51–75) are one-two in OHL scoring, no player player in his NHL draft year has won the scoring title since 2009-10 when Tyler Segiun and Taylor Hall finished first and second respectively.

Feeding the Firebirds – There’s nothing like a home cooked meal, just as the Flint Firebirds. The family of goalie Anthony Popovich made the team feel at home during the eastern road trip last weekend. It was something the Popovich family did while Anthony was a member of the Guelph Storm.

67’s PP – lots of positive stat lines coming out of the nation’s capital again this year, one of which is the team’s powerplay, which leads the league with 48 goals and an efficiency of 32.7%. They’ve also allowed an OHL-low three shorthanded goals.

Rookies likely to reach 30 – It’s looking like their will be a 16-year-old will score 30 goals in the OHL for the third straight year. Following Arthur Kalieyev in 2017-18, Cole Perfetti and Quinton Byfield last season, Mason McTavish is just four goals away from 30. Shane Wright could also reach 30 goals as a 15-year-old, with 22 through his first 37 games in Kingston.

Brett Brochu – The Tilbury netminder has not slowed down after making the jump from junior ‘C’ to the OHL. He has quietly been making his case for OHL rookie of the year, his .912 save percentage and 2.52 GAA are among the league’s best. Brochu will carry the work load while Dylan Myskiw serves his suspension, and he’s making a case to stick as starter once the 20-year-old returns.

Sting stung – It’s been a year of polar opposites for the Sarnia Sting, that’s seen a lengthy winning streak overshadowed by several stretches of losing. They are in one of those right now with just one win in their last 10 games, they now sit dead last in the Western Conference, 10 points back of a playoff spot.

Riley Damiani of the Kitchener Rangers Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

Powerful Rangers – A lot of focus of the Kitchener Rangers success have been focused on Jacob Ingham, but lets show some love for their offence. In the 12 games since Christmas, Riley Damiani has 20 points, while Jonathan Yantsis and Greg Meireles have both scored 12 goals and 19 points.

Slow start for Serron Noel – Kitchener hasn’t gotten much offence from their big tradeline acquisition as the Florida Panthers prospect has just a pair of assists through his first six games as a Kitchener Ranger

Another coaching swap for the Colts – The team announced that it has parted ways with Head Coach Warren Rychel, who took the job just prior to the season as a temporary replacement for Dale Hawerchuk, who took a medical leave of absence. He has since had successful surgery to treat his stomach cancer. Longtime assistant coach Todd Miller will take over on an interim basis as the team expects Hawerchuk to be back with the team later this season.

Reunited and it feels so good – Minor Hockey teammates Ryan Suzuki and Mason Millman have been reunited in Saginaw, and Suzuki has four goals and 11 points in five games since the trade. You can hear the pair talk about it on this week’s Around The OHL Podcast.

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