1. Six Nations Arrows (1-0)
13-7 W vs Peterborough
The defending Champs finally kicked off their 2015 regular season on Monday with a 13-7 win over the Peterborough Lakers. The Arrows were led offensively by Joe Maracle, Josh Johnson, Austin Staats and Dallas John. Marcale, Johnson and Staats are expected to be offensive dynamo’s this season within the Ontario Junior A loop, while Dallas John is coming off of a 43 goal, 77 point season with the Six Nations Rebels Jr. B squad. In goal Doug Jamieson was strong, as expected, allowing just seven goals on 38 shots, while also racking up two assists in the victory. Travis Longboat was impressive racking up four points, while veteran Jordan Durston added two assists. While its just Game 1 of 20, the Arrows showed early on they will once again be able to find the back of the net with relative ease, while their combination of strong goaltending and physical defense should be able to limit opposing offenses to single digit outputs. The Arrows also hosted the Calgary Mountaineers in Game 1 of their 3 games Ontario exhibition series, defeating them 11-1. Up next for the Arrows are the K-W Braves and Burlington Chiefs.
2. Orangeville Northmen (2-0-1)
10-6 W vs Barrie, 9-9 T vs Whitby, 12-3 W vs Mimico
After an early exit from the 2014 Junior A playoffs, the Orangeville Northmen look poised to be championship threats this season after starting the season 2-0-1, picking up wins over Barrie and Mimico, while tying the very tough Whitby Warriors on the road. Orangeville had been lead early on by the likes of Ian Mackay and and Davis Neal. Mackay has already racked up an impressive 16 points in 3 games, which places him in a tie for 2nd place in overall scoring. While inexperience in net looked as though it may be an issue heading into the season, Nolan Clayton has proved his worth early on an silenced any critic of the Northmen’s goaltending situation, going 2-0-1 with an extraordinary 5.73 GAA. The Northmen’s strength of victory might not be high, but they’ve proved early on that they can put the ball in the net, and keep it out. Orangeville’s next two games see them take on the Burlington Chiefs an K-W Braves. Orangeville’s depth has been a big factor early on this season, as 10 players are averaging a point per game or better early on this season. Expect the Northmen to continue to cruise early on, with a June 12th match up at home against Six Nations as their next real test of the season.
3. Whitby Warriors (1-1-1)
9-9 T vs Orangeville, 11-7 W vs St.Catharines, 8-7 L vs Mimico
Yes the Whitby Warriors lost to a team expected to finish last in the regular season standings, a team some believed would not win a game all season. However with that being said you cannot discredit the talent and depth of this Whitby Warriors team. The Warriors gave up a lead to the Northmen in their 7-7, and blew a lead in their loss to Mimico which is a troubling early season trend, however with roster turnover and unsettled lineup’s early on with players coming back from American Colleges and Universities, early season mental lapses are bound to happen. Through three games the Warriors have been led by their expected offensive leaders in Ryan Keenan and Austin Shanks. Connor Kearnan and Luke Keenan, have also been strong offensively for Whitby, while rookie Tristan Rai has contributed seven points in his first three games. The Warriors are still without Bennett Drake, Garrett Eddy and Matt Hossack, so you can only expect them to get stronger as the season drags on. Up this week are matchup’s with the Barrie Lakeshores and Toronto Beaches.
4. Peterborough Lakers (2-2)
10-5 L vs St. Catharines, 12-8 W vs Burlington, 7-5 W vs K-W Braves, 13-7 L vs Six Nations
The Lakers have kicked off their 2015 campaign with a 2-2 record, and while the loss to the Arrows isn’t shocking, dropping a 10-5 decision on home floor to the St. Catharines Athletics, a team they should beat, is cause for concern. The Lakers boast a ton of talent and depth both offensively and defensively while Brett Lafonte looks to be quietly becoming one of the stronger goalies in the Junior A loop. However consistency has been an issue with Lakers teams in past years, and continually dropping games to teams they are expected to beat will undoubtedly hinder their positioning in the final standings, and with so much parity in the league this year every point will count; the Lakers need to find consistency. The Lakers have been led offensively early on by Cam Milligan, Zach Bryant and Dan Michel, which is no surprise, as the trio is expected to put up some big numbers this season. With Holden Cattoni still away at school the Lakers should only improve as the season moves on, and with a rematch with St. Catharines as well as a road game vs Mimico on the schedule this week Peterborough has then opportunity to string together consecutive wins and move to 4-2 on the season.
5. Toronto Beaches (2-0)
13-6 W vs Mimico, 8-5 W vs K-W Braves
The Beaches are expected to be much better this season, expected to make the playoffs for the first time in what seems like forever, and their 2-0 start to the season is an excellent indication that the playoffs are in reach. While the Beaches haven’t taken on any of the leagues perennial powerhouses just yet, they did take down the much improved K-W Braves 8-5 on their home floor early last week, in a game that despite being just the second game of the year had a large importance to it. The Beaches will need to continue to beat the Burlington’s, Mimico’s, K-W’s and Barrie’s to secure a playoff position, however expect Toronto to make some noise with a couple upsets that should slide them a little further up the standings. Still without Ryan Lee, Chad Levick, Jackson Hulbert, Alec Tulett and Joel Tinney the Beaches have been lead offensively by John St. John (nine points) and Justin Huggins (six points). Youngsters Bryce Keats and Cory Burr have been impressive early on and should they keep their current offensive pace the Beaches could prove to be a handful offensively. Michael Lalani has been solid in the Toronto goal, going 2-0 to start the season, proving just how much depth the Beaches have this season. Coming up this week are matchup’s vs Whitby and Barrie, a win over the Warriors could be a huge statement, while a let down against Barrie could be devastating.
6. K-W Braves (1-2)
10-5 W vs Burlington, 8-5 L vs Toronto, 7-5 L vs Peterborough
The Braves are expected to be in the contenders conversation this season after returning a large part of their roster from last season, while also adding potent offensive threat Connor Brown to the lineup. And while the season got off to a good start with a 10-5 win over the Burlington Chiefs the Braves have since lost back to back games against Toronto and Peterborough. Braves 2014 leading scorer Chris Cloutier has yet to join the K-W lineup this season, and when he does, look for the Braves to become increasingly difficult to defend as the likes of Drake Smith, Davis Prince, Connor Brown, Shawn Lantz and Cody Hamley have already proven this season and in past seasons to be quite capable offensively. The Braves have the talent to separate themselves from the Toronto, Barrie, Burlington grouping, however dropping games to those three aforementioned teams will seriously hinder the Braves chances at taking a run at home floor advantage through the first round of the Junior A playoffs. Drake Smith’s 11 points in three games leads the Braves offensively, while Kevin Orleman has been solid in the Braves goal to start the season. With Six Nations and Orangeville on the schedule this week the Braves could find themselves sitting a 1-4 early on.
7. St. Catharines Athletics (1-1)
10-5 W vs Peterborough, 11-7 L vs Whitby
The Athletics slipped into the 2014 playoffs last season and look to make some noise in 2015. An early 10-5 upset of the Peterborough Lakers was an excellent way to start the season for the Athletics, as Eric Fannell led the team with 5 points in the win. Fannell’s 11 points in two games points him on pace for over 100 points this season, and while that may be wishful thinking an 80-plus point season is not out of the question. Ryan Dakin, Charlie Sheehan and Latrell Harris are yet to make their season debuts for St. Catharines, but will undoubtedly make an immediate impact when they do join the Athletics. St. Catharines will battle for points all season, and with an early win over a prennial power house like Peterborough, they may have the leg up on some of the teams they’re consistently grouped in with. Up this week for the Athletics are the Peterborough Lakers and Brampton Excelsiors, a split in the two games would undoubtedly be yet another confidence booster for the young squad.
8. Burlington Chiefs (1-2)
10-5 L vs K-W, 12-8 L vs Peterborough, 17-9 W vs Mimico
The Burlington Chiefs look to be in tough this season to continue their streak of playoff appearances, that was never more evident early on, as the Chiefs dropped back to back games to K-W and Peterborough. A 17-9 victory over the Mimico Mountaineers has got the Chiefs in the win column, however a victory over Mimico was expected, if the Chiefs want to challenge for the eighth seed in 2015 they’ll need to beat teams like K-W, Toronto, Barrie and St. Catharines, they have the ability to compete with the four aforementioned teams, heck they have enough their to be in games with the top teams, however with such important players gone from last years squad, this looks to be a transition year for the Chiefs. Andrew Kew and Ryan Marchand have impressed early for the Chiefs offensively after break out 2014 years in the Ontario Junior B loop. The Chiefs look to be in tough this week with match up’s against the Six Nations Arrows and Orangeville Northmen on the schedule. With the distinct possibility that the Chiefs will be 1-4 at the conclusion of this week, Burlington will need to find points in following games against Mimico and Barrie.
9. Barrie Lakeshores (0-1)
10-6 L vs Orangeville
Barrie has only taken to the floor once this 2015 season, dropping a 10-6 affair to the Orangeville Northmen. Barrie was without top offensive guns Daniel Craig and Austin Murphy in the game, and while their offensive may have made the game closer, Barrie was outplayed by the Northmen. Spencer Pyke scored four goals in his opening game this season, if he’s able to keep that pace up the Lakeshores offensive output may be enough to keep them in games, however there are many question marks in goal and on the back end. Barrie has Whitby, Brampton and Toronto on the Schedule this week, all on the road. With Whitby and Brampton being tough match ups Barrie will need a victory against Toronto to avoid a disastrous start to the 2015 season.
10. Mimico Mountaineers (1-3)
13-6 L vs Toronto, 17-9 L vs Burlington, 8-7 W vs Whitby, 12-3 L vs Orangeville
The Mimico Mountaineers picked up win number one of the 2015 season in a shocking upset of the Whitby Warriors. The Mountaineers upset was the talk of the league in week one, as back to back blow outs had many assuming a complete thrashing at the hands of the Warriors was to be expected. Ryan Callaghan and Jonathon Donnville have proved they will be offensive threats in the Junior A loop this season, two scorers not to be taken lightly. While the win was great for the organization, we can assume it was some what of a fluke, based on their three losses to Toronto, Burlington and Orangeville. Mimico will be in tough for wins all season, but an early win against Whitby could be great for the teams confidence moving forward and something to draw from in tough times. Up this week for Mimico is a game against the Peterborough Lakers.
11. Brampton Excelsiors (0-0)
Brampton only finds themselves in the 11th position because they have yet to play a regular season game. The Excelsiors should find themselves in the top four of these power rankings consistently as the season moves forward. The depth of the Excelsiors offensively with the combination of a strong d-core and excellent goaltending make Brampton on of the toughest squads moving forward this season. A 17-7 victory over the Calgary Mountaineers in an exhibition game showed everyone the type of offense we can expect from Brampton this season. Brampton finally opens up their 2015 regular season on Wednesday night versus Barrie, following that up with a Friday night affair with the St. Catharines Athletics.