Sting Enjoy Successful Season, But Not Successful Enough

by Brad Coccimiglio
on

The Sarnia Sting had modestly high hopes for the 1999-2000 OHL season. They had lost quite a bit after the 1998-99 season as they lost 2-time league scoring champion Peter Sarno as well as 40-goal scorer Ivan Novoseltsev.

Things were looking good for the Sting early in the year as they sat 3rd in the 5-team West Division behind the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds and the Windsor Spitfires. The Sting remained consistent throughout the season and finished the season 3rd in the West Division and 4th in the Western Conference.

Going into the playoffs the Sting felt that they had a shot at going a fairly long way in the playoffs. Sting overager Mike Van Ryn told me before the playoffs, “I think we have the makings of going a fairly long way in the playoffs.” With the team that they had I can’t say that I disagree with him considering what they had lost coming into the season.

In goal the Sting boasted two strong goaltenders in overager Greg Hewitt and rookie Andrew Sim. Both were consistently good throughout the season. Sim posted the best Goals against average of any rookie goaltender with a 2.93 GAA.

On defense the Sting boasted the likes of overagers Dan Watson, a former league All-Star, former Canadian World Junior Team captain Mike Van Ryn and veteran Ryan VanBuskirk. All three of them provided the Sting with veteran experience on a fairly young team.

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OHL Finals Preview

by Brad Coccimiglio
on

The OHL finals are slated to open up Thursday night in Barrie at the Molson Centre as the Plymouth Whalers and the Barrie Colts fight for the right to be called OHL champs and a Memorial Cup berth.

Firstly, here is a look at the schedule for the series:


Game 1 Thurs., May 4 at Barrie 7:30 pm
Game 2 Sun., May 7 at Plymouth 7:00 pm
Game 3 Mon., May 8 at Plymouth 7:30 pm
Game 4 Wed., May 10 at Barrie 7:30 pm
*Game 5 Fri., May 12 at Plymouth 7:30 pm
*Game 6 Sun., May 14 at Barrie 6:00 pm
*Game 7 Tues., May 16 at Plymouth 7:30 pm
*-if necessary

Now here is a look at the series breakdown:

Offense: The offense of both teams has been hot and cold at best throughout the playoffs. Just when you think they’re going to break out they hit a slump. With the likes of Sheldon Keefe and Michael Henrich the colts averaged just under 3 goals a game in 18 playoff games. The Whalers meanwhile, boast the likes of rookies Stephen Weiss and Tomas Kurka as well as Justin Williams. The Whalers boast a very potent offense that has looked pretty good throughout the playoffs averaging nearly 4 goals a game. Plymouth has faced some tough goaltending throughout the playoffs as well.

Advantage: Plymouth

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Plymouth Whalers drop Soo Greyhounds in five games

by Derek Berry
on
PLYMOUTH, MI-They did not want to make another bus trip to Sault Ste. Marie. The Plymouth Whalers avoided the agonizing ride by sideswiping the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, with a thrilling Game Four overtime victory on Friday night, and wrapping up the series in Game Five on Saturday night, 3-1, before a crowd of nearly 3,000 at Compuware Sports Arena in Plymouth, Michigan. The Whalers are the Western Conference Champions of the Ontario Hockey League.

The big game Friday night in Plymouth featured a Justin Williams goal for the Whalers 13:20 into overtime, propelling Plymouth into a 3-1 series lead, setting the stage for Saturday’s showdown.

Just like Game One of the series, the Greyhounds took a 1-0 lead in the first period on a goal by Cory Pecker. Not long after, the Greyhounds would lose defenseman Derek Fox on a crushing blow along the boards in the Sault Ste. Marie zone. Fox’s season ended with a separated shoulder, according to Sault Ste. Marie head coach Paul Theriault.

“It was a good, solid hit, nothing dirty about it,” said Theriault. “He’s got a pretty sore chest too.”

That wasn’t the only pain the Whalers would inflict upon the Greyhounds.

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2000 NHL Draft Outlook – Top 21 OHL Prospects

by Bob Chery
on
Unlike last year when I offered up my thoughts on the 1999 NHL
Draft for this web-site, I
decided this year to focus strictly on the OHL crop.

As I meandered my way through the OHL rinks for approximately 40
games this year and watched about the same number of games on
television, the greatest impression I was left with was how stellar the crop
for the 2001 NHL Draft appears to be. The likes of Jason Spezza, Stephen
Weiss, and Mark Popovic will headline the high end. Derek Roy promises to
fuel the size versus skill debate even further. And a host of others
players too long to list here will provide the depth. Next season promises to be
very interesting and exciting.

For now of course, the task at hand is to evaluate the
draft-eligibles for the upcoming 2000 NHL Draft. Beyond the Top Six that appear to be
sure-fire 1st rounders, I have no doubts that the opinions will vary
considerably with the remaining players. With this crop of players, the old adage
of trying to project what type of player they will become five years from now
rings especially true.

What follows is my rankings for the Top 21 OHL Skaters. I have
provided their position, team, height and weight. I have also broken down
their stats into two halves, up to the New Year, and after the New Year,
plus the season’s final totals. I have also provided their playoff Read more»

Q&A with Chris Thorburn

by Brad Coccimiglio
on
Rookie centre Chris Thorburn of the North Bay Centennials just completed his first season in the OHL. I had the opportunity to sit down with him and ask him a few questions.

Hockey’s Future: What are your thoughts on your rookie season?

Chris Thorburn: “It was a pretty good experience. The guys that I was with showed me the ropes. They took care of me. As a rookie going in I thought there would be a lot of hazing, a lot of peer pressure but I was proven wrong. On the ice I wasn’t too happy with my points overall but I thought I did have a good season progressively. At the beginning of the season I didn’t get too much ice time but throughout the season when the injuries came around I started to get a little more so, overall, I enjoyed my first year.”

HF: What are your thoughts on how the Centennials season finished up?

Thorburn: “Team wise, I think we did better than we expected, especially in the playoffs. We took Barrie to 6 (games). I was very pleased with the outcome and I’m hoping next year we can make a run with 15 returnees, possibly 18.”

HF: What do you think about the Centennials future in the next couple of seasons?

Thorburn: “Like I said, next year we’ve got 15 returnees for sure, possibly 18 depending on what our o/a’s (overagers) decide to do, but next year we’re supposed to make a run in the playoffs, so hopefully we can achieve that and maybe even go to a Memorial Cup in the next few years.”

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