Around the G: Jan. 12-14
The playoff pressure is mounting as teams tick off their remaining regular season games. These teams are gearing up to grind their way through the post-season.
The North York Knights (22-3-3) have kept control over the East for the majority of the season. Finishing first in the division last season, the Knights currently sit two points ahead of the second place West Hill Golden Hawks (20-5-5) with two games in hand. Although it’s likely the Knights will repeat as division champions, the playoffs are always a whole new story. Teams should keep an eye on the Scarborough Ice Raiders (16-9-4) who have now won four of their last five.
After a third-round playoff exit last season, the Streetsville Tigers (22-3-5) are determined to take the title of regular season division champions away from the Toros (21-2-6). The Toros, who won the city championship last season, are one-point back of first place with a game in hand over the Tigers. After weekend games, there’s only four points separating third and first place in the West.
Despite the current standings, the playoffs in the West could get interesting with the new tiered format. The top four teams in tier one will automatically qualify for the playoffs, while the remaining four are to be determined in a one game elimination play-in format. The format will be as follows:
Tier 1-5th place vs. Tier 2-4th place.
Tier 1-6th place vs. Tier 2-3rd place.
Tier 1-7th place vs. Tier 2-2nd place.
Tier 1-8th place vs. Tier 2-1st place.
Other finals from Minor Atom AA weekend action:
West – West Mall Lightning 4, Duffield Devils 6
West – Mississauga North Stars 2, Mississauga Blackhawks 2
East – Goulding Park Rangers 2, Don Mills Mustangs 1
East – West Hill Golden Hawks 1, Markham Islanders 1
Minor Bantam A
Sitting second in the West, the Duffield Devils (18-4-3) are making a case for championship contention after winning their fifth straight on Saturday. The Devils will need to keep up the pace if they want to catch up to the first place Toronto Wolverines (22-3-1). The reigning division champions are looking ready to repeat after defeating the third place Toronto Royals (14-10-4) on Saturday.
While the West may see a possible repeat, there will be a new regular season champion crowned in the East this season. The Toronto Aeros (27-0-0) have yet to lose a game, and currently sit nine points ahead of the second place West Hill Golden Hawks (22-5-1). The Golden Hawks will look to defend their city championship title in the playoffs.
Other finals from Minor Bantam A weekend action:
West – Toronto Royals 3, Vaughan Panthers 3
West – Avalanche 2, West Mall Lightning 3
East – Goulding Park Rangers 3, Hillcrest Canadiens 0
East – North York Knights 3, East Enders Ticats 5
Although many players from the 2016-17 regular season winning Minor Midget Young Nationals have moved onto play at the OHL level, a few remaining Nats have taken their talents to carry their Midget team to the top of the standings. Back-to-back victories over the weekend have the Nats (21-3-2) sitting two points ahead of the second place Mississauga Rebels (19-5-4) with two games in hand. Will the Nats success lead them on a Telus Cup run?
Other finals from Midget AAA weekend action:
Don Mills Flyers 2, North York Rangers 4
Markham Majors 0, Mississauga Reps 3