Minor League Hockey

OHL Roundup: Rookies the story so far

By Mackenzie Liddell, Contributing Editor

Toronto, Canada (Sports Network) - A look at some storylines from around the OHL:


The second week of the OHL season was a coming out party for the Saginaw Spirit.

After dropping their season opener to the Kitchener Rangers, the Spirit have ripped through the Western Conference with seven straight wins and forced their way into the BMO MasterCard Top-10 as the CHL's seventh ranked team.

While most expected big things from the Kitchener Rangers and Mississauga St. Michael's Majors coming into this season, Saginaw flew in under the radar, although that has likely changed after this past week.

With a league-high 14 points and a compact roster flush with size, skill and grit, the Spirit have emerged as the biggest threat in the West.


Besides the Spirit's early-season success, the Owen Sound Attack and Kitchener Rangers add to the immense talent pool in the conference as each is 5-1-0 on the year.

Yes, the Rangers were expected to be this good, but they have done so without Jeremy Morin who will not return from Rockford of the American Hockey League and Jeff Skinner who has looked impressive in two games with the Carolina Hurricanes.

Highly-ranked draft prospect Ryan Murphy has been a huge part of the Rangers' winning ways, leading the league with 14 points, double that of the next closest defensemen.

While Owen Sound is named the Attack, they have forged an identity and found success as a result of stingy defensive play, not offensive flair.

They have allowed a league-best 11-goals against, led by the steadying presence of goalie Scott Stajcer.


Not much has changed in the Eastern Conference since the first week, as Mississauga remains near the top while the Oshawa Generals and Niagara Ice Dogs have yet to fall back down to Earth.

Unlike the top-heavy Western Conference, the East is highlighted by parity, as no one team has put an early stranglehold on a division let alone the conference.


With a highly skilled group of forwards, many were expecting the Petes to be a force in the East this year.

But after stumbling to an 0-3-0 start in Week 1, the Petes fell even further into oblivion in Week 2, going 1-3-0 and getting shut out in their last two games by a combined score of 10-0.

The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds went from best in show to off the track after dropping five straight despite an impressive 3-0-0 start to the campaign.


Upon review of the league's leading scorers list, the first thing you notice is the abundance of asterisks used to indicate a players rookie status.

Sarnia's rookie Russian Nail Yakupov is at the top of this list, sitting tied for second in scoring with five goals and 13 points through seven games.

Windsor's Alexander Khokhlachev, Kitchener's Tobias Rieder and Sarnia's Alex Galchenyuk are all tied with 11 points.

After a disappointing showing from first-year players a year ago - with all due respect to Peterborough's Matt Puempel - it looks as if a rookie resurgence is underway in the OHL.


Erie Otters forward Greg McKegg was named the OHL Player of the Week from Sept. 27 - Oct. 3. The Toronto Maple Leafs prospect notched seven points in three games, including two short-handed goals in a game against the London Knights.

The Attack's Stacjer also brought home some hardware as he was named the CHL Goaltender of the Week for the same time frame, going 2-0-0 with a 1.00 goals- against average, .972 save percentage and a shutout.

10/11 12:05:25 ET

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