The regular season crown might already be out of reach, but the battle for second place in the Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League – Golden Horseshoe Conference – could come down to the wire.
It’s clear the Caledonia Corvairs, after taking a one-year hiatus from league play, are the class of the Golden Horseshoe but after that – just three points separate the second place Niagara Falls Canucks and third place St. Catharines Falcons.
The Falcons do have a game in hand on the Canucks entering play this week.
“You may see some movement between Niagara Falls and us, flip flopping second and third,” said former St. Catharines head coach, and now general manager, Frank Girhiny.
The Falcons (19-7-2) are the only Golden Horseshoe team to beat Caledonia in regulation this season, and are led by former Sarnia Sting (Ontario Hockey League) forward Curtis Egert and his 40 points.
Niagara Falls (20-6-3) features the GOJHL’s leading scorer in Andrew Bruno and is 56 points.
Two other local players top the statistics board as Welland Jr. Canadians goaltender Nicholas Kidd has faced more than 70 shots (707) compared to any other goaltender in the league, while the Canucks Ryan Donaldson leads in penalty minutes with 112.
As for the other Niagara based teams, the Thorold Blackhawks currently hold down fifth place with a record of (15-2-4)
The Pelham Panthers (10-16-2) fresh off a victory over the Falcons last week are in sixth, while the aforementioned Jr. Canadians and Fort Erie Meteors are tied for last with 12 points apiece.
“Thorold has played some really close games lately, they’re a well coached team ,” Girhiny said.
“Don’t discount, and you’ll see the progression with the Pelham Panthers with Chris Johnstone and son Carson coaching that team now – you could see some movement there.”
The Hamilton Kilty B’s (16-11-3) currently in fourth place are the other club in the nine-team Golden Horseshoe Conference.
As for the rest of the three division, 25 team, Greater Ontario Junior Hockey League:
The Elmira Sugar Kings sit alone on top of the Midwestern Conference standings with 48 points, while the London Nationals are in first of the Western Conference with 51 points.
Former Niagara IceDogs second round pick, and forward, Cal Davis leads the Nationals with 53 points including a league best 36 assists.
Caledonia is first overall with 26 wins and 53 points, and ice six former OHL players on a regular basis.
For more information on the league and its schedule visit gojhl.ca
Rod Mawhod is a lifelong Niagara native who has had the pleasure of working in all three mediums – Radio, Print and TV – for over 20 years. His first announcing gig was with the then St. Catharines Stompers. Since then he’s worked in radio and TV in Toronto, and currently is the announcer for the Niagara IceDogs and Niagara River Lions.
Rod also covers the Buffalo Bills for FOX Sports and the Buffalo Sabres for NBC Sports.