2 Minutes! (no login) Posted Jan 10, 2005 12:57 PM
Happy New Year! I am sure everyone is well rested from their quiet Christmas holiday with peace and quiet at home - away from the rink. Divisional battles are heating up as the season is on its way to wrapping up. Some teams are busy looking at the team ahead of them rather than the team chasing them (Clearview, Aurora, Whitby, Hamilton, Kitchener, Brampton - all with losses to teams below them in the standings) which may haunt in the long run. It will be interesting to see who is able to remain focused as teams jockey for either positioning or to actually qualify for NMGHL playoffs (top 4 in each division). Stay focused!
1. Toronto - Only team left with an undefeated record in league play. First game back after a 12 day layoff results in a tie with Clearview when they could have really distanced themselves. They host Clearview 2x over the next 3-4 weeks with those games likely to decide 1st place in the Central - providing you don't take other opponents lightly along the way.
2. Sudbury - Not much to report on since the last top 10. Now that you have shown you belong, teams will be gunning for you rather than looking past you to other opponents. Strong goaltending will help you down the stretch. Stay on track.
3. Markham/Stoufville 85 - Strong 3 win performance this week has them moving up a couple of spots. Weather did not allow you to visit Clearview for an interesting exhibition game however, looks like the long layoff did not slow you down too much. Great start to the 2nd half and keep your eye on Whitby as I suspect they will be the ones to challenge you for your division.
4. Clearview - Long layoff with exhibition game with M/S 85 cancelled. Looks like you were looking ahead to Aeros game last evening and ignored your important match vs Aurora Saturday night (a 3-1 loss). You then followed up your loss with a tie vs the Aeros (2nd time this season). Learn from your mistakes - any team will beat you if you don't prepare for them. This team is scary when they want to play.
5. Brampton - Slow week following Conneticut. I am not sure of the whole story however, 5-0 loss to Mississauga is a huge defeat. They don't score enough goals to beat you that bad. I would like to think there is an underlying story to give some explanation - if not, nice job Missy and wake up Brampton. Chance for redemption this weekend in Scarborough with Aurora providing you with stiff competition. Good luck!
6. NCCP - I have them holding at the #6 spot with nothing to report this week. I hope to see/read more results from them in the upcoming weeks. Stay sharp and keep tuning up as the season winds down.
7. Whitby - Followed up there strong showing in Conneticut with 3 games resulting in a 1-0 score. They won 2 of them and came up on the losing end vs Bellville. Tight checking and little offence from both sides is on the agenda when facing this team. Don't lose track of the teams chasing you while you are trying to reel in M/S 85. Tight 3 team race brewing in your division - 6 pts back of the leader.
8. Hamilton - Moving up a spot this week with a tournament win in Guelph. Little competition over the weekend however, you need to be consistent to win any tournament and Niagara pushed you to OT in the finals. Congrats. As mentioned last top 10, keep an eye on the Creek as you work on catching Brampton with your games in hand.
9. Kitchener - Another 2 wins in league play before a loss to Sarnia (who had 3 wins this week). Looks like they gained confidence when their tie knocked you out of Missy. You have 10 games left to start put some distance between you and the rest of your division. You want to finish near the top of your division to aviod a playoff match-up vs Brampton or Hamilton in the first round.
10. Stoney Creek - Welcome to the top 10 this week. Strong league record places you here at this time and you have games in hand that can move you up the standings (providing you win them of course). Don't get too caught up in your battle with Hamilton for 2nd place. A loss or 2 against the teams chasing could be costly. Consistency is needed to keep you here.
Everyone is back from holiday tournies and have played at least one game with most teams having played 2 or 3 games. The 2nd half of the season is underway and some of the teams that are lower in the standings will be heard from (Sarnia had 3 wins this week and Niagara lost in a tournament final). Make sure you are going to finish in the top 4 in your division - anything can happen once you are in a short series. Looking for more information on Sudbury, Kingston and NCCP as it becomes available.
Honourable mention this week:
Aurora: beat Clearview following loss to Willowdale
Willowdale: beat Aurora and finished with 2 wins this week (7-3-1 in past 11 following 5 losses to start season)
Durham: 2-1-1 in 4 games with only loss being 1-0 vs Whitby
Sarnia: 3 wins had them go from last to tied for 3rd in tight western race
Games to watch:
Hamilton vs North York
Stoney Creek vs Niagara Falls
Hamilton vs Mississauga
Whitby vs Cobourg
Aurora vs Willowdale
Willowdale vs Clearview
Whitby vs Durham West
Look for Aurora/Brampton to make some noise in the Scarborough tournament as well.