There are some future Junior stars of the coming years in this fine group. I did not see as much of them in week two as I had hoped but here is my take.
1. Orangeville – I had touted them after week one and in week two they had two blemishes; the opening tie to Six Nations and the closing loss to Whitby. I will take nothing away from Whitby in that final game (a 7-2 win), but it was a meaningless game (the final games of the weekend for both). The question is, was it a message from Whitby, or was Orangeville content to go through the motions of one last game, knowing they already had first place locked up? But at the same time, the tie to Six Nations shows me that all teams will be gunning for these guys. I think it is widely speculated that they are the team to beat, and I do still agree; just not as strongly as I once thought. Lots of goals for, and the 2nd least against, is a sign of a solid team.
As an aside, while writing this, I was informed of the possibility that Ritchie and Thompson will not be playing in the Provincials due to Junior hockey camps. If true, this changes what you will read below.
2. Whitby – They are not overly big, but they play a solid game. From what I know, they hadn’t beat Orangeville all season until that last game in qualifier two. To totally contradict what I suggested above, that last game had to give them a load of confidence for the next time they play Orangeville. Their only loss was to Guelph, who did not qualify, and one of their two ties was to St. Catharines who are also out. The other tie was to Halton Hills so I believe there is nobody in this group that they cannot beat. But as tough as the qualies were, the grinding schedule of these other five over a few days, will be a bigger task. Can they do it? We’ll see…..
3. Six Nations – They had a pretty good week two, which they needed to qualify, but that loss to Peterborough really looks weird given their other efforts over the last qualifier. They will have to step up a little to finish top two in this lot. Their scores put them in the middle of the pack in 12 games, and it will take a bigger effort to better this position.
4. Halton Hills – Well the Bulldogs had to come out in week two with a near perfect performance in order to get in. And that they did. In what turned out to be maybe the game of the week two qualifiers, they scored a 6-5 win against St. Catharines, which ultimately cost St. Kitts a spot in this group. A very up and down team, similar to Six Nations, if they can get some consistency against the top teams, they can pull it off. They’ve only lost to two of the other five, and both were close.
5. Peterborough – Well the Lakers were also hit and miss week two. Things looked bleak after Fridays loss and tie, but they turned it around Saturday and Sunday to get spot five. All of their wins and losses with this group have been by no more than three goals. This is key for them, as it will be a motivation in each and every game. Don’t be fooled by spot number five, tt will not be a shocker to see them involved in the end.
6. Akwesasne – Reports are that Oakes was not at week two, which maybe explains why I did not see him in the brief spot I saw them. I’m not sure why, but they need him. They did what many expected they would do, but it was closer than it likely would have been if he was there. They had trouble with the top teams with him, but again, most were close games.
Fearless prediction – Orangeville over Whitby in the finals. If my side note is true and Ritchie / Thompson are out I change this to Whitby over Halton ( I shouldn’t be able to do that, but I am going to). Losing those two would be a major blow to Orangeville.
Long Shot Hopefuls – Peterborough- they are a good team and played almost every team close. Those bounces go the other way and they are in.
Of course, feel free to give me your predictions.
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