By The Numbers: A look at the first half
Wednesday December 31, 2014
By Josh Sweetland/OHL
The first half of the 2014-15 OHL season is in the books, with teams turning their attention to the push for the playoffs that will heat up in the weeks to come. With the Erie Otters and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds battling for supremacy atop the Western Conference and Barrie, North Bay, Belleville and Ottawa separated by just eight points in the thick of the Eastern Conference, much remains unsettled as the calendar rolls over into 2015.
Among the prominent trends of the first half include eight game winning streaks enjoyed by Sault Ste Marie (Sept. 26 – Oct. 16), London (Oct. 24 – Nov. 7) and Oshawa (Nov. 1 – Nov. 23) as well as six game goal scoring streaks from Erie Otters centreman Connor McDavid (Oct. 18 – Nov. 1) and London Knights forward Mitchell Marner (Oct. 25 – Nov. 6).
With the second half of the 2014-15 OHL season now underway, let’s take a quick look back at how we got here. Here’s a look at the first half by the numbers.
1 – A number that applies to the Oshawa Generals across several fields, including special teams, the current OHL standings and the BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings. The Generals have found ways to handle the challenges that have come their way this season, playing to a league best 27-5-1-0 while remaining atop the BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings for the past five weeks straight dating back to November 26. Boasting the OHL’s best powerplay and penalty kill, a home record of 15-2-0-0, a 12-0 record against Western Conference opponents and having outshot opponents by a league best differential of 279 shots this season, the roots of Oshawa’s success as a team are numerous.
71 – Points scored by OHL leading scorer and draft eligible prospect Mitchell Marner (London Knights) through December 31. The 17 year-old sophomore and former first round selection in the 2013 OHL Priority Selection has scored 28 goals and 38 assists. Marner has had points in 25 of his last 26 games, 20 of which have been multi-point efforts.
2.11 – Oshawa Generals goaltender Ken Appleby’s league leading goals-against-average. The 19 year-old third year OHL veteran has turned heads this season, going 24-3-0-0 with a league leading four shutouts and the second highest save percentage at .923. With 27 games played, Appleby has already surpassed his career high and is a key contributor to Oshawa’s winning ways this season.
2.83 – Points-per-game by 17 year-old Erie Otters standout Connor McDavid. McDavid’s eye popping 2.83 points-per-game lead the league by a significant margin as the draft eligible centreman has 51 points (16-35–51) in just 18 games. Though an injury has sidelined him since November 11, the dynamic forward hasn’t skipped a beat, returning to action with the Canadian National Junior Team as a key contributor up front. For some added context, McDavid’s 2.83 points-per-game closely mirror Wayne Gretzky’s 1977-78 total of 2.84 and surpass Eric Lindros’ memorable 1990-91 campaign where he recorded 2.61 points-per-game.
47 – The number of hat-tricks scored in the OHL so far this season. On pace to potentially match last season’s total of 91 on the year, 47 hat-tricks have marked up scoresheets across the league, four of which have come off the stick of London Knights forward Mitchell Marner. An additional ten players have registered two hat-tricks including Dante Salituro (Ottawa 67’s), Joseph Blandisi (Barrie Colts), Nick Paul (North Bay Battalion), Max Domi (London Knights), Michael McCarron (London Knights), Christian Dvorak (London Knights), Pius Suter (Guelph Storm), Nathan Pancel (Sudbury Wolves), Justin Bailey (Kitchener Rangers) and Robby Fabbri (Guelph Storm).
21 – Barrie Colts forward Kevin Labanc‘s active OHL season high point streak. The San Jose Sharks prospect has recorded points in 21 straight contests dating back to November 1, a span in which Barrie has played to a record of 14-6-0-1. The Colts, who lead the Central Division by four points, are 21-12-1-1 on the season as Labanc has scored 16 goals and 43 assists for 59 points in 35 games. Ten of Labanc’s goals have come on the powerplay as he and teammates Joseph Blandisi, Andrew Mangiapane and Brendan Lemieux have all recorded over a point-per-game.
6 – Shorthanded goals by Barrie Colts captain Joseph Blandisi. The Barrie Colts feature the OHL’s seventh ranked penalty killing corps, one with some offensive bite thanks to Blandisi, a fleet-footed overage forward. The Markham, ON, native leads the department by a wide margin of three and has also added two shorthanded assists this season. The former draft selection of the Colorado Avalanche leads the Colts in scoring this season with 23 goals and 35 assists in 35 games. The Colts as a team lead the OHL with 11 shorthanded goals scored.
6 – Point-per-game scorers on the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, a league high. The second installment of the number six features the Hounds, who on paper, boast the most scoring depth in the league right now. Current 2015 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship performers Sergey Tolchinsky (Russia) and captain Darnell Nurse (Canada), along with Blake Speers, Gabe Guertler, Vancouver Canucks prospect Jared McCann and Arizona Coyotes draftee Michael Bunting have all registered at least a point-per-game this season. Sault Ste. Marie’s 159 goals this season are the second highest in the league after Erie as they boast a 26-8-0-2 record and are the sixth ranked team on the latest edition of the BMO CHL Top 10 Rankings.
4 – Shootout victories by the Mississauga Steelheads, who have gone 4-0 in shootouts this season. Goaltender Spencer Martin, who was voted the second best shootout goaltender in the 2014 OHL Eastern Conference Coaches Poll, has turned aside eight of the nine shooters he has faced this season. On the offensive side, forward Sam Babintsev has formed a knack for coming up big in the clutch as the 20 year-old has scored in all three of his attempts, two of which have been game winners. The four shootout victories have tacked an additional four points onto Mississauga’s 16-17-1-0 record this season as they sit sixth in the Eastern Conference.
10 – One goal victories by the Guelph Storm, a league high. When the game has been tight, the Storm have played their best hockey. With 10 of their 20 victories this season coming as a result of one goal victories, the Storm have received some timely scoring, goaltending and have dug deep when it’s mattered. Their 10-4-1-1 record in one goal contests is the best in the OHL so far this season, contributing to their 20-14-1-1 record despite the team being slightly outscored 124-113.
The second half of the OHL season got underway this past week. Check out the highlights from all of the recent action on the OHL highlight reel.