OHL Roundup: Ellis leads Canada into Worlds
By Mackenzie Liddell, Contributing Editor
Toronto, Canada (Sports Network) - A look at some of the storylines around the Ontario Hockey League:
In the season of ugly sweater parties and busy shopping malls, hockey fans across Canada and the United States are gearing up for the best part of the holidays.
And this year's World Junior Championship could be one of the most tightly fought tournaments in years.
With Canada making its final cuts last week, including OHL hopefuls Ryan Murphy and J.P. Anderson, Team Canada is entering the tournament as an underdog for the first time in a while and will have to dig deep to unseat the defending champion Americans.
But despite lacking the game-breaking presence of Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle or John Tavares, Canada will have a beastly backend and plenty of size upfront that will allow them to move the puck up quick and wear down opponents with size and speed.
The OHL delegation is led by captain Ryan Ellis, fellow defenseman Calvin de Haan and Erik Gudbranson along with goaltender Mark Visentin and forwards Marcus Foligno, Zack Kassian and Casey Cizikas.
Although Canada has the most OHLers at the world juniors, every country but Norway has a player on its roster or in camp.
High scoring games are nothing new to the OHL, but dear lord there were a couple beat downs last week.
On Thursday the Kitchener Rangers exposed a green Sting squad, smashing them 11-2 in the most lopsided win of the season.
It's really not all that surprising considering Sarnia surrendered 19 goals in its previous three games while Kitchener has a history of putting big numbers on the board, having scored at least seven goals in a game five times this season.
What makes this victory even more impressive for the Rangers is that 10 different players scored a goal and 13 chipped in at least one point.
Leading the charge as usual was Jason Akeson, who scored once and added five helpers.
Two nights later, the Niagara IceDogs one-upped the Rangers by humiliating the Barrie Colts, 10-0.
The IceDogs outshot the lowly Colts, 45-13, including 20-4 in the first period where Niagara buried eight goals on Barrie's goalie tandem.
All but one Niagara forward had a point and Dalton McGrath and Michael Gallardi split the easy shutout in Visentin's absence.
JUST ANOTHER DAY IN BARRIE
OHL action will be on hiatus for eight days starting Monday for the Christmas break.
The Ottawa 67's have now joined the Mississauga Majors, Saginaw Spirit and the Owen Sound Attack in the Canadian Hockey League Top-10 Rankings, coming in at ninth while Owen Sound slipped to 10th. Mississauga remains No. 2 and the Spirit held on to the seven spot.
Windsor's rookie defenseman Nick Ebert was named the OHL Player of the Week for the period ending Dec. 12. He had nine points (3-6) in three games, becoming the first blueliner and rookie this season to win the award.
Additional hardware was dished out in the OHL this week, as Belleville Bulls rookie netminder Malcolm Subban was named the CHL Goaltender of the Week for the same period. He finished 2-0-0 with a 0.960 goals against average and .972 save percentage.
In trade news, the Guelph Storm continued their weekly shuffle by sending 19- year-old defenseman Daniel Maggio to the Oshawa Generals for four draft picks.
Maggio, a New York Rangers draft pick, was acquired by the Storm from Sudbury in the off-season but hasn't lived up to expectations and was sent home last week after what Storm GM Mike Kelly referred to as 'team issues.'
12/20 15:04:11 ET