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ITO Three Stars & Power Rankings: Week 10

Welcome back for another edition of the ITO Power Rankings, as well as our Three Stars for the week of November 21st-27th. As the end of November nears, we are starting to get a good idea of which teams are real contenders this season, which teams are pretenders, and which teams never were. The next six weeks is absolutely critical to teams around the league, as decisions need to be made between now and the January 10th Trade deadline.
ITO 3 Stars
1. Malcolm Subban (Belleville Bulls) – Often overlooked by his big brother’s success in the N.H.L., Malcolm is quickly becoming known on his own merits. Already the leading Goaltender in the Ontario Hockey League on GAA, Subban has been a large part in the success of the Belleville Bulls this season. Malcolm played in all three of his team’s games over the last week, allowing just two goals while posting a shutout over Guelph. Malcolm would stop 87 of 89 shots he faced, for save percentage of .978. Clearly the best player in the league this week, ‘The Subban Wall’ is this week’s ITO First Star.
2. Brendan Gaunce (Belleville Bulls) – While Subban was stopping nearly everything he saw, someone was still needed in Belleville to put pucks in the other net, and that’s where Brendan came in this week. Riding a super-hot stick, Gaunce would strike for five goals in his three games, as well as adding an assist. Starting with a two goal performance on Thursday night in Erie, Brendan would follow up the next night, scoring another pair of goals in a whitewashing of Guelph. To round out the weekend, Gaunce would score a goal and an assist in a win over Oshawa. By scoring five times, and registering six points, along with a +5 rating, Brendan Gaunce is the ITO Second Star for Week 10.
3. Tobias Rieder (Kitchener Rangers) – Not to be outdone, Tobias Rieder was equally as important to the Kitchener Rangers this week, scoring five times and adding an assist of his own. Tuesday night, Tobias would start the week right, scoring a hat trick in a big win over Guelph. Friday night, Rieder would add another marker, as the Rangers would send Erie to defeat. Tobias would wrap up his weekend by adding another goal, as well as an assist, in yet another big victory, this time over Sarnia. For this, as well as his +3 rating this week, Tobias earns his spot as the ITO Third Star for November 21st-27th.
ITO Power Rankings
1. London Knights – (Last Week: 1) By winning two of their three games this past week, the London Knights retain the top spot in the ITO Power Rankings, which they have held since the beginning of the season. The lead is beginning to diminish, however, as many teams have set their sights on the league leaders. After a loss on home ice to Barrie, the Knights would rebound with victories in Erie and Brampton. London hosts Saginaw on Friday night, then travel to Owen Sound for a contest the following evening.
2. Kitchener Rangers – (Last Week: 4) With wins in all three contests this week, the Rangers vault into the number 2 spot in the OHL Power Rankings. 9-1 in their last ten, and points in 13 of their last 14 games, Kitchener has become one of the most feared teams in the league. The Rangers would outscore their opposition 17-5 in three victories this week, knocking off Guelph, Erie, and Sarnia along the way. Kitchener plays three games in three nights this week, starting Thursday night in Brampton. After returning home to face Mississauga, the Rangers will finish their week in Erie on Saturday night.
3. Plymouth Whalers – (Last Week: 2) The Whalers find themselves down one spot this week, after losing two of three. A win over Saginaw on Wednesday kept the Whalers’ streak intact, but losses to Peterborough and Guelph over the weekend caused the team to slide. Plymouth has a pair of home games this week to try and steady things, hosting Sault Ste. Marie on Friday and Guelph on Saturday.
4. Belleville Bulls – (Last Week: 8) A big jump into the top five for the Belleville Bulls this week, as they win three straight games, improving to 9-2 in their last 11 games. The Bulls started the week with a strong 3-1 victory in Erie, then blanked Guelph the next night. Belleville would return home for a Sunday afternoon matinee, defeating Oshawa handily. Looking ahead, the Bulls host Kingston on Wednesday night, beginning a home and home series that wraps up on Friday night. Belleville returns home the next night to take on Windsor to end the week.
5. Sarnia Sting – (Last Week: 3) Playing without star forward Nail Yakupov for much of the week, the Sting suffered, losing all three contests. After losing in a shootout to Barrie on Thursday, Sarnia would be dropped in back to back contests over the weekend, first to Niagara, and then in Kitchener. The Sting hit the road for a pair of games, starting in Peterborough on Thursday, and playing the following night in Oshawa. Sarnia comes home for a Sunday afternoon contest against Sault Ste. Marie to finish the weekend.
6. Ottawa 67’s – (Last Week: 7) Ottawa continues to impress, sitting atop the East Division, and climb one spot this week, despite earning a split from their two games. The 67’s opened the weekend on Friday, losing on home ice to Oshawa, but would come back in the third period on Sunday to defeat Kingston in a shootout. Ottawa has a three game weekend in front of them, starting at home to Windsor on Friday night, and playing games in Peterborough on Saturday, and in Mississauga Sunday.
7. Niagara IceDogs – (Last Week: 13) With three straight wins this week, the IceDogs leap back into the top ten in the OHL Power Rankings. Once considered a contender, Niagara is fighting to erase a slow start. Big wins over Brampton, Windsor, and Sarnia this week vault the IceDogs up the ranks, and Niagara will look to continue the rise with three games this weekend. The IceDogs host Erie on Thursday and Barrie on Saturday, before playing Sunday afternoon in Brampton.
8. Brampton Battalion – (Last Week: 6) Right in the thick of things in the Eastern Conference, the Battalion continue to keep pace with the top teams in the OHL. Brampton could only muster one win in three games this past week, causing a small drop in the Power Rankings. After a win Wednesday in Mississauga, the Battalion would lose back to back games to Niagara and London. If Brampton is to get back on pace, they start Thursday, when they host Kitchener. A game in Sudbury on Friday is followed by a Sunday afternoon contest at home to Niagara, finishing three games in four days.
9. Peterborough Petes – (Last Week: 5) After a good start to the week, Peterborough would struggle, and find themselves down four spots this week in the OHL Power Rankings. The Petes would earn two points in Plymouth on Friday night, but would be on the wrong end of scores in Saginaw and Windsor, stalling the teams’ momentum. A big week lies ahead for Peterborough, as they play host to Sarnia on Thursday and Ottawa on Saturday, before traveling to Oshawa to wrap up the weekend Sunday evening.
10. Barrie Colts – (Last Week: 10) No change for Barrie, though the Colts did win two out of three games this week, both against top opposition. After winning in Sarnia on Thursday, the Colts went into London on Friday and earned two points again. A tough loss on home ice to Sudbury on Saturday prevents Barrie from gaining ground this week. The Colts hit the road for three games this week, starting in Owen Sound Wednesday. Barrie also takes on Erie on Friday, and plays in Niagara Saturday.
11. Sudbury Wolves – (Last Week: 15) After falling four spots last week, the Wolves make that ground back this week, after winning both games they played. The victories over Owen Sound and Barrie help Sudbury move up the Rankings, but for the Wolves to continue upwards, they will need a good week coming up. Sudbury hosts Sault Ste. Marie on Tuesday evening, and will have Brampton in town for a contest on Friday.
12. Owen Sound Attack – (Last Week: 12) Still at number 12 this week, the Owen Sound Attack were able to earn three points from a pair of games over the last seven days. After the Attack lost a shootout contest in Sudbury Friday night, Owen Sound retaliated by winning a night later, knocking off Sault Ste. Marie. This week, the Attack hosts Barrie on Wednesday night, then plays in Guelph on Friday. Owen Sound finishes the weekend back at home on Saturday night, when London comes to visit.
13. Guelph Storm – (Last Week: 9) The Guelph Storm are one of many teams that have seemed to settle into the middle of the pack in their conference. They would win two and lose two over a four game week, but slide four spots landing at number 13. Guelph would start the week with a lopsided loss in Kitchener on Tuesday, and would be whitewashed by Belleville on Friday night. The Storm replied over the weekend, picking up victories over Plymouth and Mississauga to salvage an even record for the week. No rest for Guelph this week, as they play three games in three days over the weekend, starting with a visit from Owen Sound on Friday. The Storm then take to the road for weekend stops in Plymouth and Saginaw.
14. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds – (Last Week: 11) After an impressive start, the Greyhounds have begun to falter as of late, and dropped both decisions this past week in the process. While the Hounds would pick up a point from a shootout loss to Saginaw on Friday, a loss the next night to Owen Sound would continue the Soo’s downward trend. The Greyhounds hit the road for four games in the next seven days, starting Tuesday when they play in Sudbury. With three more games over the weekend, starting Friday in Plymouth, and making stops in Saginaw and Sarnia, this could be a make-it or break-it week for Sault Ste. Marie.
15. Windsor Spitfires – (Last Week: 16) The Spits continue their slow trend upwards, climbing another spot this week, after earning a split in a pair of contests. A loss to Niagara on Friday night would start Windsor’s week on the wrong foot, but the Spitfires rebounded to take down Peterborough on Sunday afternoon. Windsor is another team that plays three times from Friday to Sunday this week ahead, playing contests on the road in Ottawa, Belleville, and Kingston.
16. Mississauga St. Michaels Majors – (Last Week: 14) It has been a long steady fall for a team that was one game away from winning the Memorial Cup on home ice this past May. The Majors got off to a terrific start to the season, but have since won just five times in their last twenty contests. Mississauga would fail to earn a point over the last week, dropping all three of their games. A midweek loss to Brampton was followed with defeats at the hands of Kingston and Guelph, and the Majors are in full free-fall. If that weren’t enough, the Majors will have their hands full this week, with two contests, both against top teams in the OHL. Mississauga plays in Kitchener on Friday night, before returning home to tangle with Ottawa on Sunday.
17. Oshawa Generals – (Last Week: 17) Contenders no more, the Generals are now vying in hopes of simply making the playoffs this season. A sluggish start would cost Chris DiPiero his job behind the bench, and Gary Agnew has fared little better, as Oshawa continues to sputter. They would split their games this week, starting Friday with a big road win in Ottawa. The Generals would fail to string together consecutive wins, dropping a game in Belleville Sunday afternoon. Oshawa has a pair of home games this week to try and right the ship, starting Friday night when Sarnia comes to town. The Generals also host Peterborough on Sunday evening.
18. Saginaw Spirit – (Last Week: 18) Saginaw remains planted at number 18 this week, as they continue to play inconsistent hockey. The Spirit would win two of three games this week, improving on a record that needs work. After a loss in Plymouth, Saginaw would get a shootout win over Sault Ste. Marie on Friday, and picked up another win a night later against Peterborough. The Spirit will look to keep winning this week, starting with a game in London on Friday night. After that, Saginaw returns home for the weekend, with games against Sault Ste. Marie and Guelph.
19. Kingston Frontenacs – (Last Week: 19) While playing better as of late, the Frontenacs have dug themselves quite a hole, a hole that may be too much to get out of in Kingston. The Fronts would earn three out of four possible points last week, defeating Mississauga on Friday, but losing in a shootout to Ottawa on Sunday. Three games await Kingston this week, starting Wednesday in Belleville. Belleville returns the visit to Kingston on Friday night, and the Frontenacs wrap up the week hosting Windsor on Sunday afternoon.
20. Erie Otters – (Last Week: 20) There is an OHL team that plays in Pennsylvania, but they haven’t given us much to talk about this season, and have become a league afterthought by November. Now with just three wins in their first 25 games, the Otters are already relegated to playing for pride, and maybe some of them who might be dealt off to contenders before the January trade deadline. The losing streak would hit ten games after three more losses this past week, as Belleville, Kitchener, and London would all take turns earning victories over Erie. The Otters play three games in three nights from Thursday through Saturday of the week ahead. After playing in Niagara, Erie comes back home for games with Barrie and Kitchener.
The ITO Three Stars and Power Rankings can be found every Tuesday here at In The O… The Radio Show. Be sure to check back next week to see where your favourite team ranks, but if you can’t wait for your OHL fix, find me on Twitter, @N24Nicholson.

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