Peterborough enters as top seed following 8-0-0 playoff record
This weekend, the 2023 Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) Championship will take place in Oakville. No. 6 Peterborough Petes will enter the tournament as the top seed in their group, following a 8-0-0 stretch in prior playoff games.
Joining them in Group 1 will be the No. 9 Canadian-ranked Southern Tier Admirals, Central Ontario Wolves and Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs. Making up the second group of four teams will be No. 7 York Simcoe Express, No. 12 Halton Hurricanes, Ajax Pickering Raiders and Burlington Eagles. Teams will play three round robin games within their respective groups, before two semifinal games and the eventual championship matchup.
On a current 18-game winning streak, the Petes are one of Canada’s hottest teams at the moment. Fresh off a 3-2 overtime victory against York Simcoe, they are flying heading into the championship tournament and look poised to be the last club standing at the end. Wil McFadden is the current leading scorer with 11 goals and 18 points in those eight games. The team has four players behind him with 10 or more points.
The team most likely to have a chance at coming out of the group other than Peterborough is fellow WHH-ranked Admirals. Playing to a 6-2-0 playoff record, Noah Read (7G, 8A) and Joe Sinclair (7G, 5A) are two of their most consistent forwards. Both players will need to continue to find the back of the net in order to go up against Peterborough’s potent offense. They will hope that Halton does not come out of Group 2, as they dropped two 4-1 decisions to them in the playoffs already. Southern Tier has faced off with the Petes once this season, suffering a 3-1 defeat back on Jan. 22nd.
York Simcoe looks to repeat
Nabbing the title in last year’s tournament with a thrilling overtime victory against the Niagara North Stars, York Simcoe hopes to have similar luck this year. Despite two losses to Peterborough, York Simcoe finished its playoffs with a respectable 6-2-0 record. Backed by Owen Griffin’s explosive 17 goals and 28 points, if there is one team that can truly battle with the Petes for the OMHA title, it’s them.
In fact, its depth is even more impressive than that of the Petes, as nine players have garnered 10 or more points. In three regular-season contests, YSE managed to go 2-1-1 against Peterborough. The Express last earned the #RedHats in 2016, with a squad that was led by current NHLer Quinton Byfield.
But coming out of Group 2 will be a tough test, as the Eagles and Hurricanes both went 8-0-0 in their playoff runs. The Eagles relied on a dynamic power play that netted them several goals, and on the solid goaltending of Ivan Kastelan. Kastelan started all eight games, recording a 1.33 goals-against average and three shutouts. Tanner Lam (13G, 8A) and Brady Smith (12G, 8A) will be among the Hurricanes who will try to solve Kastelan as well as whoever York Simcoe places in net. Familiar foes, Halton defeated Burlington three times in the regular season, outscoring them 15-3. The two sides also tied once, 2-2.
Games will be live streamed HERE and you can stay tuned to WHH next week to see who’s crowned as 2023 OMHA Champions. Be sure to follow us on Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, TikTok, Discord and YouTube for the latest news, updates and more!