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GMHL

The Greater Metro Jr. A Hockey League

GMHL Russell Cup: First Round Preview

 February 18th, 2017 at 6:48AM

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The Russell Cup Playoffs are upon us and with them we have some very intriguing matchups from the top of the standings all the way down to the play in games. Each round we will be previewing the matchups and we are getting started by taking a look at the now determined matchups for the first round of the Russell Cup Playoffs.

NORTH DIVISION

#1 New Tecumseth Civics vs. #8 Meaford Knights 

Season Head to Head Record: Civics Lead 4-0-0

All Time Head to Head Record: Civics Lead 4-0-0

Each Teams Leading Scorers:

NTC F Carmine Vietri (32G, 36A, 68 Points)

NTC F Brendan Barron (21G, 47A, 68 Points)

MEA Connor Annett (33G, 46A, 79 Points)

MEA Alexander Naskov (30G, 26A, 56 Points)

Schedule (if known):

TBA

Matchup Preview: The North Division Champion will be starting the Road to the Russ off against an opponent they played 4 times this year the Knights of Meaford. Despite the difference in seeding, the Knights actually own the top scorer in the series in the form of the offensive dynamo Connor Annett who was a spark plug for a Meaford team that picked up wins over the Bulls twice, Rattlers twice and took the Civics to overtime after the Christmas break. The Civics will be looking to showcase a pair of talented forwards in Brendan Barron and Carmine Vietri who shared the scoring lead for the Civics. The true matchup of this series will come in between the pipes where the Civics will call upon TJ Sherwood, who was the league leader in most goalie categories, while the Knights will counter with the strong duo of Jack Edmands and newly acquired Emil Soderberg. The Civics facebook page announced that game 1 would take place Sunday night at 8PM at the New Tecumseth Recreation Centre.

#2 Parry Sound Islanders vs. #7 Bradford Bulls

Season Head to Head Record: Bulls Lead 2-0-0

All Time Head to Head Record: Bulls Lead 2-1-0

Each Teams Leading Scorers: 

PSI F Valtteri Makiviinikka (46G, 40A, 86 Points)

PSI F Benjamin Linna (36G, 39A, 75 Points)

BRA F Tyler Quintos (34G, 41A, 75 Points)

BRA F Don Carter Jr. (21G, 24A, 45 Points)

Schedule (if known): 

Feb 18th in Parry Sound (7:30PM)

Feb 22nd in Bradford (8PM)

Feb 23th in Seguin (3PM)

*Feb 24th in Bradford (2PM)

*Feb 26th in Seguin (2PM)

*If Necessary

Matchup Preview: One of the sleeper contenders for series of the round is this matchup between the Islanders and the Bulls. Despite the Islanders finishing with only 8 losses on the year, two of them game in the matchups they had with the Bulls as the Bulls won 5-2 and 6-4 in the regular season matchups. As has been the case all year the Islanders will look to rely heavily on the forward duo of Makiviinikka and Linna as the Finnish pair will be asked to carry the offensive load. The Bulls provide a much more balanced attack head manned by Captain Tyler Quintos but also featuring an array of players who can make a difference including deadline acquisition Matt Seeley. The Bulls also offer top tier defenseman Zakk Bekolay for the Islanders to deal with. Both teams offer a pair of quality net minders as the Islanders present Tanner Fausnaugh and Filip Grancarov to matchup with Garett Taylor and Luke Aulthouse of the Bulls. The Battle will begin in Parry Sound on Saturday night.


#3 South Muskoka Shield vs. #6 Almaguin Spartans

Season Head to Head Record: Spartans Lead 4-0-0

All Time Head to Head Record: Spartans Lead 9-7-0

Each Teams Leading Scorers:

SMS F Carl Lyden (55G, 74A, 129 Points)

SMS F Tomas Nemeth (39G, 44A, 83 Points)

ALM D Bryan Austin (9G, 53A, 62 Points)

ALM F Tommy Stanislavski (29G, 25A, 54 Points)

Schedule (if known):

Feb 17th in Gravenhurst (8PM)

Feb 18th in South River (7:30PM)

Feb 20th in Gravenhurst (6:30PM)

*Feb 24th in South River (7:30PM)

*Game 5 TBA

*If Necessary


Matchup Preview: A rematch of last year's North Division finals finds the Shield taking on the Spartans in an interesting matchup. This regular season series was one sided but not for the team you'd imagine, despite the Spartans finishing 7 points behind the Shield in the standings they managed to go 4-0-0 against them in the regular season, looking strong in each matchup. The Shield boast one of the most potent offensive duos in the game in the form of league leading scorer Carl Lyden and Tomas Nemeth who will be looking to matchup against the Spartans Captain, Leading Scorer, and shutdown defenseman Bryan Austin. Two of the regular season games went into overtime so don't be surprised to see these two teams head into a situation where goaltenders Patrik Asenbrenner of the shield and Kristaps Nazarovs of the Spartans are expected to come up big for their teams. The showdown begins Friday night in Gravenhurst.

#4 Temiscaming Titans vs. #5 Bradford Rattlers 

Season Head to Head Record: Tied 2-2-0

All Time Head to Head Record: Rattlers Lead 9-8-0

Each Teams Leading Scorers:

TEM F Ryder Murray (25G, 59A, 84 Points)

TEM F Guillaum Taupier (29G, 27A, 56 Points)

BRA F Khassan Al-Dzhilaui (28G, 83A, 111 Points)

BRA F Stepan Timofeyev (38G, 69A, 107 Points)

Schedule (if known): 

Feb 18th in Temiscaming (8PM)

Feb 19th in Bradford (7:30PM)

Feb 20th in Bradford (4:30PM)

*Feb 23rd in Temiscaming (8PM)

*Feb 26th in Bradford (7:30PM)

*If Necessary


Matchup Preview:  This matchup took until the last game of the season for the Rattlers to determine which team would be home and the Rattlers managed to make a statement win over the Knights to guarantee home ice in the first round, that is not to say that the Titans should be taken lightly. These two teams have met more times than any other first round opponents, a total of 17 times with the series almost tied as the Rattlers are up by one game 9-8-0. This season they split the series 2-2-0. The Rattlers are the only team to roster to 100 point scores this season in the form of Al-Dzhilaui and Timofeyev, and the Titans counter with the leagues all time assist leader and Captain Ryder Murray. The Titans made a splash mid season acquiring Veli Makinen from the Attack to take over the #1 Goalie spot, where the Rattlers have developed both Josh Lund and Bradley Hampton into capable starting options in net. This series has all the makings of a classic when the puck drops Saturday night at Le Centre.

SOUTH DIVISION

#1 Niagara Whalers vs. #8 Oshawa Riverkings 

Season Head to Head Record: Whalers Lead 3-0-0

All Time Head to Head Record: Whalers Lead 3-0-0

Each Teams Leading Scorers:

NIA F Manny Manns (40G, 60A, 100 Points)

NIA F Matt Hore (37G, 51A, 88 Points)

OSH D Zachary Wright (1G, 48A, 49 Points)

OSH F Sergey Erileev (31G, 18A, 49 Points)

Schedule (if known): 

Feb 19th in Port Colborne (7PM)

Feb 20th in Oshawa (8:30PM)

Feb 22nd in Port Colborne (8PM)

*Feb 24th in Oshawa (2PM)

*Feb 26th in Port Colborne (7PM)

*If Necessary


Matchup Preview: The President Trophy winner and Southern Division Champion Niagara Whalers come into the playoffs sporting just 4 losses on the year, none against the Riverkings. In a true David vs. Goliath matchup the Riverkings will be looking to shutdown the Whalers balanced attack featuring weapons like Manny Manns, Matt Hore, David Christopher and Tyler Jackson, by putting their top defenseman and captain Zachary Wright on the ice with them. Sergey Erileev has the potential to be a difference maker notching 31 goals on the season and could be trouble for any of the talented Whalers goalies such as Austin Dero or Joel Horodziejczyk. This series starts off on Sunday Night at the Vale Center in Port Colborne. 


#2 St. George Ravens vs. #7 Toronto Predators 

Season Head to Head Record: Ravens Lead 2-0-0

All Time Head to Head Record: Ravens Lead 2-0-0

Each Teams Leading Scorers:

STG F Scott Dorion (45G, 42A, 87 Points)

STG F Chris Haigh (25G, 59A, 84 Points)

TOR D Miles Levtov (9G, 34A, 43 Points)

TOR F Lukas Samuelsson (24G, 12A, 36 Points)

Schedule (if known): 

Feb 19th in St. George (3PM)

Feb 21st in Toronto (4:30PM)

Feb 23rd in St. George (8:30PM)

*Game 4 TBA

*Game 5 TBA

*If Necessary


Matchup Preview: The St. George Ravens are a team that many have pegged as a dark horse contender due in part to their handing of Niagara 2 of their 4 losses on the year. When it comes to the Predators they dropped both of the regular season matchups to the Predators but look like a dangerous team built from the back end out. Arguably two of the Predators best offensive weapons are also two of their best defensemen in  Miles Levtov and  Derek Atwood. The Ravens had two 80 point scorers and have been able to ride the offensive attack with spectacular play from both Ryan Purcell and Tyler Lewis who post nearly identical elite level numbers in net. An x factor for this series could be rookie Lukas Samuelsson who was able to bury 24 times in his first season of junior hockey. The Series starts in St George Sunday afternoon. 


#3 Kingsville Kings vs. #6 Toronto Attack 

Season Head to Head Record: Tied 1-1-0

All Time Head to Head Record: Kings Lead 3-1-0

Each Teams Leading Scorers:

KIN F Dan Leach (35G, 28A, 63 Points)

KIN F Tyler Garcia (34G, 26A, 60 Points)

TOR F Liam Morris (19G, 36A, 55 Points)

TOR F Connor Ventura (19G, 31A, 50 Points)

Schedule (if known): 

Feb 19th in Kingsville (3PM)

Feb 20th in North York (7:45PM)

Feb 24th in Kingsville (7:30PM)

*Feb 25rd in North York (8:45PM)

*Feb 26th in Kingsville (3PM)

*If Necessary


Matchup Preview: Last year's Russell Cup runner up Kingsville Kings enter the playoffs as the third seed coming out of the South and draw a matchup with the  Toronto Attack. The two teams split the season series 1 game apiece and will be looking to play hard to the whistle for the chance to advance to the next round. The Kings were very deep in terms of production from every level have consistent producers offensively (Dan Leach, Tyler Garcia), defensively (David Vostarek, Jakub Mecir) and in net (Chase Stanford and Wes Werner). The Attack will be looking to match that with a pair of talented forwards Liam Morris and  Connor Ventura and a great depth at goalie from Henrik Wennberg to Sam Procopio. The battle starts on Sunday afternoon at the Castle.


#4 North York Renegades vs. #5 London Lakers 

Season Head to Head Record: Tied 1-1-0

All Time Head to Head Record: Lakers Lead 4-1-0

Each Teams Leading Scorers:

NYR F Patrik Zilak (25G, 37A, 62 Points)

NYR F Marco Luciani (20G, 33A, 53 Points)

LON F Regan Yew (60G, 57A, 117 Points)

LON F Matthew Cameron (27G, 46A, 73 Points

Schedule (if known): 

Feb 19th in North York (5:15PM)

Feb 20th in London (3:15PM)

Feb 22nd in North York (3:15PM)

*Feb 25th in London (8PM)

*Game 5 TBA

*If Necessary


Matchup Preview: The League leader in goals will be on full display in this series as Regan Yew and his Lakers squad will be taking on the Renegades who split the season series 1-1-0. The Lakers made a big splash near the deadline and continued making waves with their play heading into playoffs behind Yew and Matthew Cameron. The Renegades have been riding incredible goaltending from Evan Purdy and Simone Pilon into a 4th place southern division finish and will look to Patrik Zilak and Marco Luciani to take advantage of a very talented goaltending trio for London (Nusbaum, Smith, Onodera). This series starts at Canlan ice in North York on Sunday Evening.


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