When I started this “Hot and Cold” column at the beginning of the playoffs, I had a feeling that it could get repetitive. Given that the Otters generally score twice as many goals as everyone else, they have four or five guys who will always be tearing up the stat sheet. That’s still true, but I’ve decided to leave them out of my hot list to acknowledge three players who have been absolute heroes over the past few weeks.
Here is my account of who’s hot and who’s not in the OHL playoffs.
Matthew Mancina, G, Mississauga Steelheads
Matthew Mancina is a goaltender I’ve overlooked throughout the year, generally because I failed to perceive the Steelheads as a contender. Thanks to Mancina’s stellar play over the last few weeks, that’s changed in a hurry. Although he was awfully human against Oshawa, he has helped the Steelheads to a 3-0 series lead, letting in just four goals through three games. If he can keep it up for one more win, the Steelheads will advance to the OHL final for the first time since the team was rebranded.
Spencer Watson, RW, Mississauga Steelheads
It’s no secret that the Steelheads are on fire, and Spencer Watson is another reason why. The nifty right winger was a reliable goal scorer all year, but nowhere near the level he is playing at right now. Watson leads the OHL with 14 goals, nine of which have been scored over the last six games. As a 21-year-old overager, Watson is making the most of his final playoff in the O.
Steven Lorentz, C, Peterborough Petes
Like Watson, Lorentz is another 21-year-old, late-round NHL draft pick in his last playoff. He’s also normally a point-per-game-or-less player. Not so in the playoffs, where he has nine goals and 16 points. Eight of those points were recorded over his last five games, and his two goals against Kingston on April 11th went a long way in locking down a berth in the third round of the playoffs.
Kyle Maksimovich, LW, Erie Otters
Kyle Maksimovich has always been a small player, but he is known as a feisty battler who never appears overmatched and never stops moving. Unfortunately, he has failed to provide much secondary scoring over the past few weeks. He got the job done in the first round against Sarnia, where he had three goals and three assists, but he has since gone ice cold—with just four assists in his last 10 games. Still, the rest of the team is filling the net with authority, so it hasn’t mattered much.
Jonah Gadjovich, LW, Owen Sound Attack
The Attack has a 2-1 lead on the Otters, and If Owen Sound wants to finish the series, they’re going to have to keep scoring a ton of goals. That’s not an impossible task against the run-and-gun Otters, but they need all their weapons operational—including Gadjovich. Although his 46 goals were third-most in the OHL this year, Gadjovich has been mostly quiet during the postseason. He currently has just three goals and six points, which isn’t good enough for this sniper.
Logan DeNoble, C, Peterborough Petes
The Petes made it through the first few rounds without losing a single game, but now it may be their turn to get swept (by the Steelheads). Down 3-0 in the series, they need DeNoble to start generating some offence if they’re going to get a few past the hot Mancina. Although he had 34 goals in the regular season, DeNoble has just one in the postseason.
1) Prospect Profiles: Alexander Alexeyev, Hunter Holmes & Xavier Bouchard
2) Ask a Coach: University of Vermont Associate Coach Kyle Wallach: Academics, Recruiting & Preparation
3) 2018 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Player of the Year: November Shortlists
4) Cornered Coach: The Peanut Gallery
5) The Search Begins for the 2018 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Players of the Year