Mississauga program makes a statement with historic ’21-22 season
When it mattered most, the Sens got it done.
After a rocky end to the season, the Mississauga Senators U16 AAA team rallied in time to win one of the most prestigious tournaments in all of youth hockey.
Despite being regarded as one of the best teams in the world in their birth year, the Senators needed to win a qualifying game just to get into the OHL Cup. Once they were in, however, they won the whole thing.
When you have seven players selected in the first three rounds of the OHL Draft — two of which battled for the No. 1 overall spot all year — you know the roster was pretty dang special. In all, 15 of the Sens were selected in the OHL Priority Selection, the most of any AAA team this season.
After falling to their rivals in the Toronto Jr. Canadiens at both the Sylvia Jacobs Memorial Fall Classic and the Whitby Silver Stick Championship, the Sens got some sweet revenge in the final of the OHL Cup on April 4, beating the Jr. Habs 6-2. The win solidified Michael Misa’s spot at the top of the OHL Draft board, as he posted the first-ever championship game hat trick and five-point performance for a final resume-filler on his case to be given exceptional status (which he was, and the Saginaw Spirit claimed him at No. 1 shortly thereafter).
“This is the biggest tournament of minor hockey and I’ll remember this game forever,” Misa told the OHL website at the time. “It’s been a great ride with the boys and I couldn’t have dreamed of a better ending.”
It also sends the Sens’ roster into the sunset with the greatest victory available after years of success together. They won provincial under-11 and under-13 championships before COVID kept them from being able to compete for the under-15 title. This group of players may have been on one of the best youth teams Canada has seen this decade when all is said and done.
“We took the long road,” said Sens head coach Chris Stevenson, via the OHL. “Obviously we didn’t have the GTHL Playoffs that we hoped for but we learned from it, got to that wild card game and got better every game.
“I couldn’t be prouder of these guys. I’ve seen them grow and tonight means so much.”
They really had two OHL No. 1 overall picks on the roster, as linemate Malcolm Spence would have surely slid into the top spot if Misa wasn’t granted exceptional status. Misa, an ’07 skating up with the U16s, finished with 93 points and a plus-79 rating on the season, while Spence had 100 points and a +77.
Two other underagers joined Misa on the roster, as William Moore had himself quite a season, as did Marcus Lagana. Moore even led the Sens in scoring at the Whitby Silver Stick in November. Expect both of them to be high on draft lists next year.
As far as this year’s OHL Draft class goes, 13 other Sens were selected in the OHL Priority Selection. Forwards Gabriel Frasca, Bode Stewart, Caden Kelly, Riley Patterson, William Eggleton and Quinten Lisle were sprinkled in throughout the draft process. Brayden Turley, Lucas Rodriguez, Brady Wassink, Justin Huynh, Owen Van De Ven and Philip Roberto all represented the defensive group. Goaltender Evan Maillet was also selected in the 13th round.
In the USHL Draft, one Sens player was selected in the Phase 1 Draft – exclusively for the 2006 birth-year – and then one was selected in the Phase 2 Draft – the following day selection process for all junior-eligible players.
And while they are in different birth-years, Misa and Spence will both be competing for the highest draft spot possible in two years, as Spence’s late birthday makes him eligible for the 2025 NHL Draft with Misa. More drama and memories alike for the longtime teammates, and we can’t wait to see what happens to both moving forward.
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