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ITO Three Stars & Power Rankings: Week 4

It’s time for our weekly breakdown of the Ontario Hockey League, with a look back at the week that was with our ITO Three Stars, and a new update to the OHL Power Rankings. This week, we’ll look at how teams did last week, and who’s up next.

ITO 3 Stars

1. Reid Boucher (Sarnia Sting) – With all eyes on teammate Nail Yakupov, Reid stepped up this week to help lead his Sting to the top spot in the O.H.L. A three goal, five point night against Saginaw on Friday would propel Sarnia to the first of three straight wins, and he would follow up that performance with another goal on Saturday in Plymouth. As if that weren’t enough, he would score the game winning goal late in the 3rd on Sunday, to go along with two assists, as Sarnia defeated London. With five goals and nine points in three games, Reid Boucher is the ITO First Star for the week of October 11th-17th.

2. Dougie Hamilton (Niagara IceDogs) – While the IceDogs continue to struggle, the Hamilton brothers are flying high in St. Catherines. Following Freddie’s 2nd Star selection last week, this week was Dougie’s turn to shine, as the defenceman would strike for three goals and three assists in three games over the last week. Dougie would score once and add a helper on Thursday when the Dogs defeated the Belleville Bulls, and add another assist on Friday in Plymouth. But a two goal, three point performance on Saturday in Saginaw would be enough for another Hamilton to lay claim to the ITO Second Star.

3. Nail Yakupov (Sarnia Sting) – The tandem of Reid Boucher and Nail Yakupov was unstoppable this week, and both find their way into the ITO Three Stars. Nail also had a big night on Friday, picking up four assists, and had multi-point games in all three outings over the weekend. A goal and two assists on Saturday in Plymouth was followed by another goal and a helper against London. With two goals and nine points in three games this weekend, Nail Yakupov is the ITO Third Star.

ITO Power Rankings

1. Sarnia Sting – (Last Week: 3) Next year’s team may very well be here right now. The Sting continue to roll early on in this OHL Season, led by top NHL Prospect Nail Yakupov. Three more victories this week for Sarnia, as they defeat the Saginaw Spirit, Plymouth Whalers, and the previously top ranked London Knights. Sault Ste. Marie, Kitchener, and Belleville are on the schedule this week.

2. Mississauga St. Michaels Majors – (Last Week: 2) The Majors are able to hold onto number 2 on the Power Rankings by earning three points in just a pair of games. Mississauga went into Erie and got a win on Wednesday, but would lose on home ice two nights later, falling to Oshawa in a shootout. A big test ahead for the Majors, as London comes to town this week, as does Plymouth. Mississauga also has a trip to Sudbury this week.

3. London Knights – (Last Week: 1) Two out of three wins this week isn’t enough for the Knights to hold onto the top spot, as they fall to number three this week. Wins over Erie and Guelph were diminished by a tough loss in Sarnia. A tough week ahead, as London travels to Mississauga, before coming home to face Belleville, then finishing the week in Windsor.

4. Windsor Spitfires – (Last Week: 11) Wins over Plymouth, Erie, and Brampton catapults the Spitfires up seven spots this week, cracking the top five at number four. The Spits host Kitchener this week, before travelling to Guelph, then returning home to take on London.

5. Ottawa 67’s – (Last Week: 4) The 67’s would split their games this week, losing on home ice to Brampton a night before winning in a shootout in Oshawa. Ottawa will continue on the road this week, playing games in Niagara, Erie, and Kitchener.

6. Peterborough Petes – (Last Week: 6) The Petes were able to take two out of three games this week, defeating Owen Sound and Guelph before losing in Oshawa Sunday night. A rematch with the Generals highlights the upcoming week, which also features games against Saginaw and Brampton.

7. Kitchener Rangers – (Last Week: 13) The Rangers shake last week’s doldrums with a pair of 5-3 victories in a home and home series with the defending Champions from Owen Sound. This week won’t be an easy one, as it starts with a visit to Windsor, before returning home to face Ottawa and London.

8. Barrie Colts – (Last Week: 7) The Colts are down a spot this week after splitting games on their road trip. Barrie lost in Sudbury on Friday night, but were able to bounce back to defeat Sault Ste. Marie the next night. A chance to make strides this week, as the Colts play both games on home ice, against struggling teams from Owen Sound and Kingston.

9. Brampton Battalion – (Last Week: 10) Despite only winning once in three tries this week, the Battalion climb one spot to sit and number nine this week on the OHL Power Rankings. A win in Ottawa on Friday was tempered with a pair of losses over the weekend, losing in a shootout in Belleville, then losing in Overtime against Windsor. Games this week against Saginaw, Kingston, and Peterborough are important for the Battalion to keep pace in the Eastern Conference.

10. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – (Last Week: 8) The Hounds continue to slowly slide after a great start to the season. A win over Kingston was erased by a loss to Barrie on home ice. The Greyhounds head on the road this week, playing games in Sarnia, Owen Sound, and Guelph.

11. Belleville Bulls – (Last Week: 9) The Bulls would fall two spots this week, after splitting a pair of games. Belleville would be blanked in Niagara on Thursday, but bounced back to beat Brampton in a shootout on Saturday. Games on the road this week against London and Sarnia are sure to test this young squad.

12. Guelph Storm – (Last Week: 5) A rough week for the Storm sends them falling seven spots. Guelph would be outscored 9-1 in a pair of games this week, losses to Peterborough and London. The Storm need to be good on home ice this week, as games against Windsor and Sault Ste. Marie are on the schedule.

13. Oshawa Generals – (Last Week: 15) Five points in three games against the three top teams in the East puts Oshawa back into the mix. A shootout win in Mississauga would set the tone for the rest of the weekend, but the Generals would lose in the shootout the following night to Ottawa. Oshawa was able to bounce back on Sunday with a win over the rival Peterborough Petes. The Generals have another game versus Peterborough before games against Sudbury and Saginaw over the weekend.

14. Plymouth Whalers – (Last Week: 14) A win and a pair of overtime losses is not enough to change the Whalers position on the OHL Power Rankings this week, as they hold at 14. Plymouth was able to get the extra point from a pair of good teams in Windsor and Sarnia, and were able to pick up the win over Niagara. The Whalers have three games in three nights on the road this weekend, playing in Erie, Niagara, and Mississauga.

15. Sudbury Wolves – (Last Week: 17) By picking up a couple of wins over Barrie and Kingston, the Wolves find themselves up two spots this week. A tougher week lies ahead as Mississauga comes into town before the Wolves head out on the road to take on Oshawa and Owen Sound.

16. Owen Sound Attack – (Last Week: 12) Three straight losses see the defending OHL Champions fall four more spots this week. The Attack were beaten in Peterborough, before losing both ends of a home and home series with Kitchener. Owen Sound starts this week in Barrie, then comes back home for games against Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury.

17. Niagara IceDogs – (Last Week: 16) The returns of Ryan Strome and Mark Visentin boosted the IceDogs to a victory over Belleville, but back to back losses in Plymouth and Saginaw continue Niagara’s woes. The IceDogs get a chance at revenge against Plymouth on home ice Saturday, but not before Ottawa comes to town this week.

18. Saginaw Spirit – (Last Week: 20) Up from the bottom of the Power Rankings, the Spirit would lose in Sarnia on Friday night, but rally to defeat Niagara the next night. Saginaw heads out on a three game road trip this week, with stops in Brampton, Peterborough, and Oshawa.

19. Kingston Frontenacs – (Last Week: 18) Another pair of losses sees the Frontenacs slip further down the OHL Power Rankings. Kingston would lose both games on the road in Sault Ste. Marie and Sudbury. Only two games this week ahead, first against Brampton before the Fronts travel to Barrie.

20. Erie Otters – (Last Week: 19) A tough week for the Otters, who were beaten three times by three of the top teams in the OHL. Mississauga, London, and Windsor were all able to beat Erie, who fall to 1-8 on the year. Plymouth and Ottawa both pay visits to Erie this week, and the Otters will have to be at their best to escape the bottom of the Power Rankings again next week.

Well, there you have it, a look around the league at who’s hot, and who’s not. Be sure to check back next week to see where your favourite team ranks. If you can’t wait for your OHL fix, find me on Twitter, @N24Nicholson.

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