OHL Mid-Season Report

By Brad Coccimiglio

Well, the Christmas break is over for the Ontario
Hockey League and it’s back to business for most teams
in the league this weekend. Here’s a look at the first
half of the season for each of the 20 teams:

Barrie Colts

17-10-4-3, 41 points
Div=1st, Conf=2nd, OA=6th
Leading Scorer: Eric Himelfarb (34 GP, 19 G, 28 A, 47

A pre-season trade that saw the Colts ship out Joey
Tenute, Aaron Power and Tyler Hanchuk and bring in
Eric Himelfarb, Kenny Jung and Riley Moher has worked
out well for the team. Himelfarb leads the Colts in
scoring while Moher and Jung have played well for a
defence corps that has been solid all season long. The
addition of Himelfarb has helped the Colts offensively
as he leads the team with 47 points.
Himelfarb has also helped the Colts power play which
ranks 3rd in the OHL, clicking at just over 24%

Belleville Bulls

18-14-1-1, 38 points
Div=3rd, Conf-5th, OA=10th
Leading Scorer: Matt Stajan (28 GP, 25 G, 25 A, 50

Picked by many in the pre-season to finish near the
bottom of the Eastern Conference standings, the Bulls
hit the Christmas break with a record that was 4 games
above 500. The Bulls did hit the Christmas break in
somewhat of a slump having gone
3-6-1 in their last 10 games before the break.
Goaltender Mike Mole is coveted by many teams and
rumours persist that the Bulls may deal the overage
netminder before the Jan. 10th OHL trade deadline.

Brampton Battalion

15-14-3-1, 34 points
Div-3rd, Conf=6th, OA=11th
Leading Scorer: Kamil Kreps (32 GP, 10 G, 25 A, 35

The Battalion have hovered around the 500 mark for
most of the season. Left winger Adam Henrich has not
played as well as he did last season but he has been
consistent. On many nights he has not needed to be
Bramptons best players as the Battalion’s scoring has
been more spread around this season. Canadian National
Jr. Team member Jay McClement has played well, as has
rookie Wojtek Wolski and veteran
Kamil Kreps.

Erie Otters

18-13-1-2, 39 points
Div=2nd, Conf=5th, OA=9th
Leading Scorer: Rob Hisey (38 GP, 14 G, 29 A, 43 PTS),
Mike Rice (33 GP, 14 G, 29 A 43 PTS)

The Otters solved their goaltending controversy when
they dealt overage netminder Adam Munro, a Chicago
Blackhawks prospect, to the Soo Greyhounds along with
Jeff Doyle and Scott Dobben in exchange for forwards
Rob Hisey and Mike Melinko as well as goaltender
Dwight Labrosse, who never suited up for the Otters
before being dealt to Kingston. The trade has paid
dividend for the Otters as they have
played well despite a slow start to the season. The
Otters have won 7 straight games and 8 of 10 before
the Christmas break and started the second half well
with a win last night over London.

Guelph Storm

12-16-6-1, 31 points
Div=4th, Conf=8th, OA=15th
Leading Scorer: Dustin Brown (33 GP, 17 G, 24 A, 41

The 2002-03 season has not been kind to the Guelph
Storm. At the Christmas break the Storm find
themselves struggling to hold down a playoff spot. The
Storm lost 9 of 10 heading into Christmas and found
themselves holding down the 8th and final
playoff position in the western Conference. One bright
spot for the Storm has been the play of 2003 NHL draft
prospect Dustin Brown. Brown has posted 17 goals and
41 points in 33 games for the struggling Storm.

Kingston Frontenacs

11-19-0-4, 26 points
Div=5th, Conf=8th, OA=16th
Leading Scorer: Bryan Rodney (33 GP, 4G, 36 A, 40 PTS)

Not a lot has gone right for the Frontenacs this
season. It started with 1st round pick Wes O’Neill not
reporting to training camp in late August. Things
havent gotten better since then as the Frontenacs
have lost 7 of their last 10 games. Head coach Larry
Mavety stepped down as coach recently and has made
attempts to improve the hockey
club as the team’s General Manager. One move was
dealing Shane O’Brien to Toronto in exchange for Drew
Fata. The Frontenacs currently hold down the Eastern
Conference’s final playoff spot but Mississauga is not
far behind.

Kitchener Rangers

25-6-2-1, 54 points
Div=1st, Conf=1st, OA=2nd
Leading Scorer: Derek Roy (25 GP, 15 G, 35 A, 50 PTS)

The Rangers have been battling the Plymouth Whalers
all season long for top spot in the Western
Conference. The Rangers have received solid play from
the likes of Mike Richards, Derek Roy, and Greg
Campbell. Overage netminder Scott Dickie has played
well between the pipes for Kitchener and has one of
the OHL’s bets GAA’s. When Dickie received a night off
or can’t play rookie goaltender Carlo DiRienzo is more
than capable of coming in and giving the Rangers a
chance to win. DiRienzo has the OHL’s best GAA at the
Christmas break with a 2.22 GAA and .923 save
percentage in 12 games this season.

London Knights

14-18-2-1, 31 points
Div=3rd, Conf=7th, OA=14th
Leading Scorer: Ryan Hare (31 GP, 16 G, 25 A, 41 PTS)

Losing a player of Rick Nash’s magnitude would hurt
any hockey club. Nash was a big reason, though he
wasn’t the only reason, why the Knights upset the
Plymouth Whalers in last year’s playoffs and took the
eventual league champion-Erie Otters to a
7th game in the second round. Veteran Ryan Hare has
stepped up his play in the absence of Nash. Dennis
Wideman, who many say is one of the more under rated
defencemen in the OHL has put together a solid season
as well thus far for the Knights.

Mississauga IceDogs

10-18-6-0, 26 points
Div=4th, Conf=9th, OA=17th
Leading Scorer: Rob Schremp (34 GP, 10 G, 30 A, 40

The IceDogs are looking for their first playoff birth
in franchise history and are close to reaching that
goal. At the Christmas break the IceDogs fins
themselves tied with Kingston for 8th in the Eastern
Conference, although Kingston would be in right now as
they have one more win (11) than the IceDogs 10. 2002
1st overall draft pick Rob Schremp has played well for
Mississauga putting up solid offensive numbers for the
club. 2001 first overall pick Patrick O’Sullivan has
also put up solid offensive numbers. O’Sullivan was
sent home earlier in the season because of his
defensive play, or lack
thereof, but has since resolved the problem and is on
his way to helping the IceDogs secure the first
playoff birth in franchise history.

Oshawa Generals

19-12-1-1, 40 points
Div=2nd, Conf=4th, OA=8th
Leading Scorer: Jamie Johnson (34 GP, 12 G, 40 A, 52

The addition of Anthony Aquino, who spent last season
with Merrimack of the Eastern Collegiate Athletic
Conference before signing with the Generals, was a big
lift, but the lift was short lived as Aquino was ruled
ineligible to play for the Generals in early November.
Aquino left Merrimack in order to exploit a loophole
in the NHL’s Collective Bargaining Agreement which
allowed 20-year-old players to leave college to play
Major Jr. and, if they are still unsigned at seasons
end, become an unrestricted free agent. Aquino was
ruled ineligble by a U.S. court. Aquino was expected
to appeal the decision but there has been no word on
when the appeal was to be heard. On the ice the
Generals have received solid play from the likes of
Jamie Johnson and Nathan Horton and solid
goaltending from Chris Beckford-Tseu and Kevin Druce
to hold onto 2nd spot in the tight East Division race.

Ottawa 67’s

26-6-3-0, 55 points
Div=1st, Conf=1st, OA=1st
Leading Scorer: Corey Locke (33 GP, 36 G, 48 A, 84

It’s no surprise that the Ottawa 67’s are one of the
OHL’s top teams this season, what is surprising is the
players that are leading them. Corey Locke currently
sits atop the OHL scoring race with 81 points, an
average of nearly 2.5 points per game. 15 points
behind him is his linemate Matt Foy. Foy was a
teammate of Anthony Aquino at Merrimack of the ECAC
last season but made the jump to the OHL as a
19-year-old. Foy has put up solid numbers as Locke’s
right winger this season scoring 27 goals and 69
points in 35 games. Goaltender Lukas Mensator has been
great in the Ottawa goal this season winning 14 of 17
outings and posting a 2.69 GAA.

Owen Sound Attack

10-19-3-2, 25 points
Div=5th, Conf=9th, OA=18th
Leading Scorer: Miguel Delisle (31 GP, 20 G, 22 A, 42

With every passing day the Owen Sound Attack are
falling further and further out of the western
Conference playoff race. The Attack hit the break 6
points out of the final Western Conference playoff
spot, held by the Guelph Storm. The good news is that
the Storm have been sliding of late. The bad news is,
so have the Attack. The Attack hit the Christmas break
having lost 6 straight games and 8 of their last 10.
For a team that’s fighting to get into the playoffs
that’s not a good sign.

Peterborough Petes

12-13-7-2, 33 points
Div=4th, Conf=7th, OA=12th
Leading Scorer: Eric Staal (32 GP, 20 G, 32 A, 52 PTS)

Right now, the Peterborough Petes are sitting
somewhat comfortably in 7th spot in the Eastern
Conference. I say comfortably because they hold a 7
point lead over the 8th place Kingston Frontenacs. The
Petes are another team that has hovered around the
500 mark all season long. The team has received a
strong offensive contribution from 2003 NHL Draft
prospect Eric Staal who has 52 points in 32 games.
Staal was rated 2nd among OHL players on the
Preliminary NHL Central Scouting draft list. The Petes
have also received strong offensive contributions from
Greg Chambers and Jamie Tardiff.

Plymouth Whalers

22-6-5-1, 50 points
Div=1st, Conf=2nd, OA=3rd
Leading Scorer: Chad Larose (33 GP, 34 G, 30 A, 64

The Whalers were not expected to be where they are
right now. Before the season started expectations were
that they would be a middle of the pack team, but they
have surprised a lot of people by challenging for the
Western Conference title. The Whalers top line of Chad
Larose, Karl Stewart and Ryan Ramsay have provided the
team with plenty of offence while goaltender Paul Drew
has made big stops when called upon. The Whalers also
have to OHL’s second best power play which has a 25.0%

Saginaw Spirit

5-21-3-4, 17 points
Div=5th, Conf=10th, OA=20th
Leading Scorer: Chris Thorburn (30 GP, 15 G, 14 A, 29

It’s been an extremely tough season for the Saginaw
Spirit. The team will have some tough decisions to
make when the trade deadline comes along on Jan. 10th.
The main questions is whether the team will deal
leading scorer Chris Thorburn to a contender. Thorburn
has spent his entire OHL career with the Spirit/North
Bay Centennials franchise, but hasn’t had a chance to
play for a contending team. The team is 14 points out
of a playoff spot and decisions will need to be made.

Sarnia Sting

21-11-2-1, 45 points
Div=3rd, Conf=4th, OA=5th
Leading Scorer: Joey Tenute (35 GP, 14 G, 33 A, 47

After starting the season on a roll and finding
themsleves near the top of the Western Conference
standings, the Sting have faltered of late. The Sting
lost 6 of their last 10 games heading into the
Christmas break. In all fairness the Sting have run
into injuries of laste which could be contributing to
their recent slide. The trade with Barrie that brought
in Joey Tenute, Tyler Hanchuck and Aaron Power has
worked out well for the Sting as well. All 3 have
provided the Sting with toughness and leadership.

Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds

14-21-3-1, 32 points
Div=4th, Conf=6th, OA=13th
Leading Scorer: Jeff Carter (36 GP, 21 G, 23 A, 44

The Greyhounds started the season slowly but since
picking up Jeff Doyle, Scott Dobben and goaltender
Adam Munro from Erie the Greyhounds seem to be turning
things around. They managed to get themsleves back
into a playoff spot and they are
slowly climbing in the standings. Munro has given the
team stability in goal which is something that they
didn’t have at the stat of the season. Despite making
a number of moves that saw many different players put
on a Greyhound uniform early this season it looks as
though the dealing may be done and the Greyhonds can
now worry about the task at hand, which is winning
hockey games.

Sudbury Wolves

9-26-1-1, 20 points
Div=5th, Conf=10th, OA=19th
Leading Scorer: Bobby Chaumont (37 GP, 10 G, 18 A, 28

The Wolves are a hockey club that has to work for
every point they get in the standings. The Wolves are
a hard working team but they don’t have many guys that
can break a game open. Also their goaltending hasn’t
been as good as it needs to be when your team lacks
scoring power. The Wolves will be in tough in the
second half to catch up and nail down a playoff spot
in the Eastern Conference.

Toronto St. Michael’s Majors

18-13-3-2, 41 points
Div=2nd, Conf=3rd, OA=7th
Leading Scorer: Frantisek Lukes (33 GP, 17 G, 26 A, 43

The Majors have received solid goaltending, strong
defensive play and timely offence whic are the key
ingredients to any teams success. Goaltender Andy
Chiodo has played well when the need arises postiong a
solid 2.98 GAA in 28 games. Rookie backup Justin
Peters has also been strong when called upon posting
an equally strong 2.81 GAA in 16 games. Offensively
the Majors have the guns to spread their offence
around. Frantisek Lukes, Tim Brent, newly acquired
Shane O’Brien, Darryl Boyce and defenceman Kevin Klein
have all put up solid offensive numbers for the

Windsor Spitfires

22-11-1-1, 46 points
Div=2nd, Conf=3rd, OA=4th
Leading Scorer: Kyle Wellwood (30 GP, 27 G, 35 A, 62

The Spitfires have been one of the OHL’s hottest
teams of late. Before the Christmas break they had won
5 straight games and 9 of their last 10. The loss of
Kyle Wellwood, who is playing for Canada in the World
Junior Tournament, as well as Tim Gleason, who is also
playing in the World Junior Tounament for the U.S.A
will hurt as well. Gleason broke his foot in the first
game of the tournament and early indications are that
he will be out of the Spitfires lineup for 6-8 weeks.


Overall the first half has had its share of ups and
downs and surprises, but if the second half of the
season is as interesting as the first half it should
be an interesting run to the playoffs.

Note: Last night’s action in the OHL was included. In
last night’s action Erie beat London 2-1, Kitchener
beat Windsor 6-3, Plymouth beat Saginaw 4-1 and Ottawa
beat Oshawa 5-2.