Jaker's Dozen

Jaker’s Dozen: Struggles in Sarnia, Knights knock of the 67’s, and the Scoring Beasts in the East

The London Knights celebrate a goal. Photo by Luke Durda/OHL Images

London over Ottawa – In a Family Day match up of conference leaders, the visiting London Knights doubled up Ottawa 4-2 in the nation’s capital. London won their only other meeting earlier in the season by a score of 3-0. The Knights have only lost twice since the start of 2020, winning 18 of their last 20 contests.

A look at the nine regulation losses – Ottawa has only lost nine games in regulation this season, two of those have been to London, four of them have been to their toughest competition in the east, the Peterborough Petes. Ottawa has also lost to Saginaw, Oshawa, and Kitchener this season. They don’t lose often, but when they do it’s against a tough opponents.

Loser of the Midwest could get Guelph – The battle for the midwest will be a fun one to watch, not just because of the long history between the London Knights and Kitchener Rangers, but the team that fails will be faced with a much tougher first round foe. The team that doesn’t take the division will finish third, meaning they could get the defending OHL champions in the opening round. The Storm still have a handful of players from last year’s teams, not to mention one of the OHL’s top goalies. Guelph is a team I’d want to avoid in the first round if I could.

Kitchener – It was a tough weekend for the Kitchener Rangers, likely their toughest since their lengthy losing streak earlier in the season which prompted a coaching change. In three weekend games the Rangers allowed 20 goals against, they did manage to come back and win against Hamilton to wrap up the weekend, but that followed a pair of lopsided losses to London and Saginaw. It’s in start contrast the the team’s three previous games, where Kitchener allowed just two goals. 

Tyler Tucker’s seven points – Seven point games are pretty uncommon, especially when it’s a defenceman putting up the eye catching numbers. Tucker had matched his career high four points before the first period was even over, picking up a goal and three assists in the opening frame of their 12-7 win over Sarnia. He finished the game with two goals and five points.

Struggles in Sarnia – The Sting have really been struggling, with just three wins in their last 25 games, and two of those wins have been over the Windsor Spitfires. The other was an OT win over North Bay. The Sting beat Mississauga back on December 14th for their third straight win, giving them a 15-16-0-0 record at the time. Their current record sits at 19-31-5-1

Shane Wright – It’s hard to compare any player to Connor McDavid or John Tavares. Both were granted exceptional status, and both did more than their fare share to live up to that status. Add Shane Wright to the mix, he’s actually scoring at a pace slightly higher than those two. McDavid had 25 goals and 66 points in his first season, while Tavares had 45 goals 77 points. Wright has 34 goals and 60 points in 50 games with Kingston this season.

Joe Vrbetic of the North Bay Battalion. Photo by Terry Wilson / OHL Images.

Joe Vrbetic – What a weekend for the young North Bay netminder, Picking up a pair of wins, including his first OHL hat trick. He turned aside all 41 shots he faced to blank Barrie Saturday night, and stopped 38 of 40 the next night in a win over Mississauga.

McGregor’s hat trick well worth the wait – It took Ryan McGregor 280 regular season games but he finally completed the trick. McGregor slid home an insurance goal into an empty net Tueasday’s win over Sarnia to give the Sting their win, and his first hat trick in the OHL.

Merkley – Anyone who has followed the league the last few seasons knows that Ryan Merkley can pass the puck with the best of ’em. That has certainly been the case over the last stretch, as the San Jose Sharks prospect has 17 assists in his last nine games.

Scoring beasts in the east division – The Ottawa 67’s are running away with the East Division, but the OHL’s scoring title could be a much tighter race, and as the league’s top four goal scorers all play in the division. Nick Robertson (Peterborough) leads the way with 46 goals, Jack Quinn (Ottawa) is right behind with 45, while Arthur Kaliyev (Hamilton) and Brett Neumann (Oshawa) both have 41.

Jan Mysak – What a nice pickup Mysak has been for the Bulldogs, and he’s been he;ping his draft stock as a result. The prospect for the 2020 NHL draft has 12 goals in 15 games since joining Hamilton, including a pair of hat tricks.

Mickey Renaud – I remember where I was when I heard about the death of Mickey Renaud. I was the same age as Mickey, although I never knew him personally, I felt like I did. At the time, I thought hockey players were invincible. I was wrong. I can’t believe it has been ten years since his death on Feb. 18, 2008.

 

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