Midway Point Of GOJHL Season – by C. Scott Holland
As almost every GOJHL team has reached the midway point of the current 2015/16 season, it’s time to see how things are shaping up for the stretch runs in each conference.
It appears that the Caledonia Pro-Fit Corvairs are on their way to winning another regular season title. Presently, they sit atop the GHS with a 10-point lead over their nearest oppnents. Their strength has been with their firepower (148 gf and two of the top three GOJHL scorers) although that number may be somewhat skewed because of the drubbings they’ve handed the cellar-dwelling Pelham Panthers. But they also have an exceptional ga figure of only 48 goals. Come playoff time, both the Anacster Avalanche and the St. Catharines Falcons will be teams to watch. Both can play the same calibre of hockey as the Corvairs and the Falcons, although not quite at the halfway mark yet, have the best gaa. They’ve allowed just 38 ga. These two will certainly battle it out for second-place and home-ice advantage. Welland, Niagara Falls, and Thorold are further behind and are separated by a few points. Unfortunately, the sad-sack Pelham Panthers, who have yet to win a contest, will make the playoffs no matter what happens.
The Kitchener Dutchmen have played the most games with 27 under their belt. Holding a 24-1-0-1 record along with 139 gf and 67 ga they continue to be in firm command of their conference. The Dutchmen boast two of the GOJHL’s top scorers plus have a reasonable 67 ga. This conference is the one that appears to have the most division and Stratford sits alone in second with a seven-point margin over the improved Guelph Hurricanes. Listowel is not far behind though and conceivably could catch or pass Guelph. Brampton and Elmira are knotted with 21 points for fifth with Brantford sitting just two back. Could be lots of movement in these spots before the season winds up. Cambridge isn’t that far out either but needs a hot-steak to make some headway. Likewise if Waterloo pieces together some victories they could climb out of the basement. For several of the bottom teams it is a rebuilding year so their positions are not quite unexpected.
Always one of the hardest-fought conferences and while there are some surprises, it is shaping up to be another classic year-end showdown. Leamington sits in first-place with 39 points and one of the GOJHL’s best gaa averages. The Flyers have allowed only 48 goals so far and have scored 99. The Flyers have made a couple of adjustments and look to hold onto the lead they have already built. But it will not be an easy task. Hot on the Flyers’ heels are the upstart St. Thomas Stars who seem to have gotten more firepower than what was initially expected. With 112 goals scored they lead all West teams and are playing well but have several teams not far behind them. The Chatham Maroons and London Nationals both sit two points back and lately have shown why they are considered strong contenders . Chatham is getting a good all-around effort while London’s strength is their low goals-against. The race for spots two to six are hotly contested and the LaSalle Vipers are one of those teams in the hunt. They sit fifth only four points out of second and have shown they have a strong offense with 104 goals scored . They need to be a bit better defensively in order to have a good playoff position and run. The Sarnia Legionnaires aren’t too far back but need to be more consistent. The only good news for the Legionnaires is that Strathroy, St. Marys and Lambton Shores all need to have exceptional second halfs to gain points and close the gap. While Strathroy appears set to hold down seventh place, if either the struggling Lincolns or Predators suddenly get hot the Rockets could find themselves slipping. None of the three particularly want to be in the basement when the final buzzer sounds, but resent moves by the bottom three have indicated they are up to the challenge of making the playoffs.
C. Scott Holland is an accomplished author, a former Western Jr. B Hockey League statistician and is recognized as the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s historian. A lifelong resident of Leamington Scott was a journalist for the now defunct Leamington Post for 26 years and currently writes for the Southpoint Sun. Among the books he has authored are: 75 Years: A History of the Leamington and Erie Shores Golf Course; A Century In The Making – History of Heinz Canada 1909-2009; Leamington Flyers 1992/93-2011/12 Platinum Anniversary Special Program; the Western Jr. B Record Book 2003/04 and 2005/05 editions; as well as updates of both the West Conference and GOJHL Record Books. He was been a member of he Leamington Jr. Flyers hockey club for the last 27 years and served many years as a board member, statistician, press box announcer, and scorekeeper among other duties. He has been named the West Conference Volunteer of Year and a Windsor-Essex Sportsperson of Year award. He resides in Leamington with his wife Susan. He can be contacted at: firstname.lastname@example.org