OHL Season Recap – Western Conference
Here at League It To Us, we began as a blog that covered the NHL exclusively. We have since expanded our coverage as our viewership has increased. Being from Ontario, I follow the OHL, not very deeply mind you, but enough to know what’s going on, especially with my hometown London Knights. Without further ado, here’s the recap of the 2011-12 OHL season, in the Western Conference.
|6||Owen Sound Attack||68||32||29||3||4||71||0.522||234||220||0-4-0-0||3-7-0-0||1377|
|9||Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds||68||29||33||2||4||64||0.471||227||272||2-0-0-0||6-4-0-0||1190|
|Seth Griffith, the point and goalleader of the West leaders, the
1. London Knights- A team that was atop the CHL power rankings for much of the season, finished the season 3rd on the CHL’s power rankings list. Led by goalie Michael House who gained the franchise’s record for all-time wins this season, and right winger Seth Griffith who recorded 45 goals and 85 points this season. The team also had to deal with a coaching change mid-season when bench boss Dale Hunter was hired by the Washington Capitals and his brother, Mark, who was the General Manager also took over the coaching duties.
2. Plymouth Whalers- The Whalers made a push for top spot in the OHL late in the season, finishing off their last 10 games 9-1 but coming up 2 points short of the Knights. Led by Team Canada’s goalie Scott Wedgewood who split duties fairly evenly with goalie partner Matt Mahalk in net, and left winger Stefan Noesen who led the team in goals with 38 and points with 82.
3. Kitchener Rangers- A quality year this year for the always competitive Rangers, they are the third of just three western conference teams to finish with more than 40 wins. Second-year right winger Tobias Reider led the team with 84 points and 42 goals, and those 42 were good enough for 5th in the OHL.
|Nail Yakupov, likely will be firstoverall in this year’s NHL draft|
4. Sarnia Sting- Home of the top NHL prospect Nail Yakupov, the Sting had a pretty good year, especially after falling short of the playoffs last year. Yakupov was in just 42 games this year due to injuries but he put up 69 points in those games, and from seeing him first-hand, he’s very crafty and worthy of the number one overall he’s suspected to be. The player that actually led the Sting in points was Charles Sarault with 87 points.
5. Saginaw Spirit- The Spirit slipped a bit from last year where they finished second in the conference and had 40 wins, to 33 wins and 5th, but it is a solid year. Vincent Trocheck led the team in points with 85 and linemate Josh Shalla led with 40 goals. Goaltending was shared fairly evenly with Brandon Maxwell started the year with the team, but departed as Jake Paterson was brought in.
6. Owen Sound Attack- After winning the western conference last year, and representing in the Memorial Cup, Owen Sound managed only 32 wins this year, 14 less than the 46 last year. Mike Halmo led with 85 points (which seems to be a popular number of points for players to be putting up) and he also led with 40 goals. He really led the team this year in his 4th OHL season, after just 43 points last season. Jordan Binnington and Scott Stajcer shared fairly evenly, with Binnington getting more of the starts, though, played fairly solid and aided the team to the 6th spot.
7. Guelph Storm- A Guelph team that ended up 7th last year, 2 points ahead of 8th, this year is again 7th but 2 points 3 points ahead of 8th. So there’s an improvement! Zack Mitchell had an offensive explosive from 19 points last year to 75 this year in pretty much the same amount of games, to lead the team, as well as lead them in goals with 37. Garret Sparks’ first year as the starter went well, going 27-25-1-3 with a 3.11 GAA and .907 SV%.
|Really awkward Kerby Rychelpicture.|
8. Windsor Spitfires- Kerby Rychel had a breakout year given the playing time, and recorded 41 goals and 74 points, while playing in all of Windsor’s 68 games. They managed to just squeak into the playoffs by a single point, despite losing their final two games. Gee, talk about a close one. Jack Campbell started the season in Windsor before being traded to Sault Ste. Marie, who is the team Windsor beat out by one point. Jaroslav Pavelka took over from there and went 13-17-3-2, but it was enough to get the Spits in the playoffs.
9. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds- The Greyhounds made a late push for the playoffs finishing their last 10 at a 6-4 clip, but they came up just one point short. Despite that, they had the 6th highest scorer in the league, and highest from the Western Conference, Nick Cousins. Cousins had 35 goals and 53 assists for 88 points. He finished with 32 more points that the second place player on his team, Brett Findley, with 56 points. They traded for Jack Campbell who went 15-12-2-3 for the Greyhounds, but it was just one point shy of good enough.
10. Erie Otters- When something like this is the only time your team got any publicity, you didn’t have a good season. The Otters finished with just 10 wins, and 26 points this season. Dane Fox led the team in points with 54, 22 of those with the Otters, after coming over in a trade with the Knights and Connor Brown led the team with 25 goals. They can only hope to be better next year, can’t get much worse.
It was a great year in the OHL (maybe a little London bias in that one!), and I look forward to the exciting run to the Memorial Cup. Stay tuned to League It To Us for updates on the OHL, and the other CHL leagues throughout the playoffs.
Who do you think will make the Memorial Cup from the OHL?