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'The Colts Are Who I Thought They Were'

It’s just over a month into the Ontario Hockey League regular season. To be honest, it feels like longer than that, but nonetheless, we’ve seen some great hockey. And even though there’s still plenty of puck to be played, the potential future matchups are already building anticipation, with MISS vs. LDN as the current hot pick for the OHL Championship final next Spring.

What about the other surprises?

There’s the Saginaw Spirit, ranked one of the top teams coming into this season, and are now sitting ninth in the Western Conference. However, the return of Brandon Saad from the Chicago Blackhawks has proven to be just what the doctor ordered for this team. His 14 points in six games, plus OHL player of the week honours, speaks for itself. This team has work to do, but so far it’s on the right track.

Then there’s my shocker pick: the Barrie Colts. I picked them to finish fourth in the Eastern Conference this season. Some people laughed, a lot of people questioned it, no one agreed. When it comes to prediction rankings, I like to take chances. And now here’s my opportunity to explain why.

Colin Behenna who earned 33 goals and 88 points in 67 games played last season, has returned this year and was honoured with the “C.” So far, he has made an impression with 7 goals and 26 points in 12 games.

Tanner Pearson is a player that surprised me. He earned 42 points in 66 games last season, but has stormed out of the gates, putting up great numbers so far (11 goals, 29 points in 12 games). A pleasant surprise, nonetheless, he’s consistently producing and his efforts have paid off.

Look no further than to his right and you'll find centreman Zach Hall. He and Pearson were tied for scoring not too long ago. However, Pearson pulled ahead just slightly recently earning one extra point. Hall’s record isn’t too shabby either; 11 goals and 28 points in 12 games.

Currently, Pearson, Hall, and Behenna are filling the second, third, and fourth positions, respectively, in league-leading scoring (Pearson is two points behind Nail Yakupov, however, the Russian has played two more games).

This trio has tallied 83 points, while the rest of the team has 53 combined. Just a fun fact.

With the long awaited return of Scheifele now over, the 18-year-old still has to figure out where he belongs. Lines were shuffled in his first game back Wednesday night in Belleville, where he banked two assists, but I can’t see it being long before this team finds its stride.

A couple of weeks ago, Barrie was ranked fourth in the Eastern Conference. A few tough losses, including the now fourth-placed Bulls yesterday, and the Colts have fallen to seventh. However, they’ve proven they can compete with the top guns.

Even with a 6-5-0-1 record this season, the one thing the team can rely on is its top three forwards consistently putting up points every game.

It should be an interesting tilt between Barrie and the Brampton Battalion Friday night. As of writing this, the Troops are ranked number one in OHL defence. With a 2.08 goals against per game, Matej Machovsky and Keegan Wilson are one and two in goals against average, respectively (I’d like to take this moment to thank Wilson for proving me wrong).

With, arguably, the strongest line in the OHL, it will be fascinating to see whether or not the Colts can break through the Battalion barrier.

I think there’s one thing we can agree on: although there are five months of hockey ahead, the preseason prediction rankings are basically turned upside down… at least for now.

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