London Nationals gear up for a fifth straight Sutherland Cup run

London Nationals gear up for a fifth straight Sutherland Cup run

You would possibly be capable to beat them a few occasions in the course of the common season.

You might even be capable to end forward of them within the standings.

However everybody within the Better Ontario Junior Hockey League’s Western Convention is aware of the Sutherland Cup street has run via London the previous 4 years and there’s little cause to consider that’s going to vary now.

“We anticipate to have a staff that can compete the best way we often do,” Nationals GM and coach Pat Powers stated. “There are some good groups, some improved groups and we nonetheless have an excellent convention. We plan on being a kind of groups within the hunt once more.”

The Nats have been part of 19 playoff collection since 2016, falling 3 times within the Cup finals and as soon as within the semifinal spherical to eventual champ Listowel. Veteran ahead Max Vinogradov, now embarking on his fifth full season with the staff, already has appeared in 97 post-season video games in his junior profession.

There have been some depraved highs and a few disappointing lows throughout that journey, the newest (and memorable) being the Recreation 7 Cup last time beyond regulation loss to Waterloo within the spring. The Nats thought they’d a Riley MacRae profitable objective late in regulation, however it was waved off resulting from an early whistle.

Longtime Nationals participant Max Vinogradov ties up Strathroy Rocket’s Riley Wooden throughout a preseason recreation Wednesday at Western Honest. Vinogradov is enjoying his last season with the Junior B Nats this yr. (Mike Hensen/The London Free Press)

A few of the hungry crew is again for an additional crack at it – like prime scorer Cal Davis – however numerous the acquainted veteran expertise has shuffled off to high school or different pursuits. Tremendous rookie George Diaco, who excelled in his first yr of junior hockey, is in Hamilton Bulldogs camp.

It’s going to take a particular group to go the gap once more, particularly with mega-bucks Caledonia again within the fold after a one-year hiatus. The Corvairs made it to 5 straight Cup semifinals (and gained three in a row) earlier than taking their little break.

The Nats will attempt to match that half-decade of sustained excellence in 2019-20. They’ve the means so as to add older stars down the stretch if crucial.

They kick of the 50-game schedule with the reinstated GOJHL Showcase occasion Friday evening towards host Pelham. Their first dwelling recreation shall be towards St. Marys Wednesday, Sept. 18.

“The beginning of the yr is at all times an thrilling time,” Powers stated. “I like what we have now and we’ll see how they do towards good competitors early within the season.”

By the tip of it, they anticipate to be in championship kind.

In spite of everything this, why change?

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Final yr: 33-12-1-2, 69 factors. Second place. Misplaced Sutherland Cup last in Recreation 7 OT to Waterloo.

Look ahead to: Cal Davis is the Western convention’s reigning participant of the yr and main scorer (23-59-82). He’s again for his last junior season.

Huge stat: The Nationals scored 57 power-play objectives final yr, second solely to Listowel within the GOJHL.

Showcase: vs. Pelham, Friday, 7:30 p.m.; vs. Cambridge, Sunday, 5 p.m.

• • •


Final yr: 33-10-2-3, 71 factors. First place. Misplaced 4-Zero to London in convention last.

Look ahead to: Zach Borgiel and Oshawa draftee Ryan Polidori teamed as much as kind the stingiest tandem within the convention (122 objectives towards). So it’s Polidori’s time to shine now that Borgiel is within the BCHL with Cowichan.

Huge stat: The Flyers are laborious to beat at dwelling. They misplaced solely as soon as in regulation of their constructing final season.

Showcase: vs. St. Catharines, Saturday, eight p.m.; vs. Waterloo, Sunday, eight p.m.

• • •


Final yr: 22-20-2-4, 50 factors. Fifth place. Misplaced 4-1 to London in second spherical.

Look ahead to: Fourth-year Vipers ahead Jack Bowler’s output has improved each season. He has 50-plus level potential.

Huge stat: AJ Ryan’s 29 objectives had been second within the West. He has moved to Cobourg, in order that scoring must be changed.

Showcase: vs. Stratford, Saturday, 5 p.m.; vs. Thorold, Sunday, eight a.m.

• • •


Final yr: 28-12-4-4, 64 factors. Third place. Misplaced 4-1 to Komoka in first spherical.

Look ahead to: Former Leamington ahead Griffin Robinson has 60 objectives in his previous two Junior B seasons.

Huge stat: The Maroons’ 11 shorthanded objectives final yr was greatest in convention.

Showcase: vs. Niagara Falls, Saturday, 1:30 p.m.; vs. Listowel, Sunday, 10:30 a.m.

• • •

St. Thomas

Final yr: 17-24-3-4, 41 factors. Seventh place. Misplaced 4-1 to London in first spherical.

Look ahead to: Lambeth Junior C standout Brock Trichilo had 4 preseason objectives.

Huge stat: The Stars had been the least penalized staff within the convention final yr (716 minutes).

Showcase: vs. Welland, Friday, 2 p.m.; vs. Elmira, Sunday, 11 a.m.

• • •


Final yr: 20-23-2-3, 45 factors. Sixth place. Misplaced 4-Three to Leamington in second spherical.

Look ahead to: The Kings want to exchange the annual 30-plus objectives of Joel Mazzilli, who landed in re-born Caledonia. Blake McConnell-Barker (42 factors) and Knights prospect Dario Beljo (36 factors) may ease the ache.

Huge stat: Received a playoff collection for the primary time since 2006 (the franchise’s second-last yr because the Petrolia Jets).

Showcase: vs. Hamilton, Friday, 1:30 p.m.; vs. Kitchener, Saturday, 10:30 a.m.

• • •


Final yr: 19-28-1-0, 39 factors. Eighth place. Misplaced 4-1 to Leamington in first spherical.

Look ahead to: Knights decide Brendan Mairs had 5 objectives in two preseason video games towards his hometown Nationals.

Huge stat: Graduated Rockets d-man Liam Israels was not too long ago awarded the celebrated Schulich Chief Scholarship, which granted him $100,000 in the direction of his Western College research in engineering.

Showcase: vs. Buffalo, Friday, 4:30 p.m.; vs. Brantford, Sunday, 4:30 p.m.

• • •


Final yr: 23-18-2-5, 53 factors. Fourth place. Misplaced 4-Zero to LaSalle in first spherical.

Look ahead to: Chatham-Kent minor midget grads Jett Morningstar and Daniel Fraleigh had productive preseasons.

Huge stat: The Legionnaires had the worst energy play within the convention final yr (12.1 per cent). In the event that they repair it, they’re in enterprise.

Showcase: vs. Buffalo, Saturday, 2 p.m.; vs. Caledonia, Sunday, 7:30 p.m.

• • •

St. Marys

Final yr: 11-30-3-4, 29 factors. Ninth place. Missed playoffs.

Look ahead to: A pleasing uptick. The Lincolns return loads of firepower up entrance, together with main man Blair Butchart. They are going to miss Mason Goldie, who signed in Navan, and his 20-plus objective potential, although.

Huge stat: They had been the one one of many 25 GOJHL groups to overlook the post-season regardless of ending with extra factors than 4 golf equipment in different conferences. That unfair format must be mounted.

Showcase: vs. Brampton, Friday, 5 p.m.; vs. Fort Erie, Saturday, eight a.m.

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