Earlier in the month, we highlighted some teams to keep an eye on in the final round of Playdowns. As the Road to #RedHats nears an end, there are still teams that deserve recognition for making it this far. With their championship dreams still alive, here are some finals that are shaping up to be classics.
Currently locked in a stalemate with the Barrie Jr. Colts, this situation isn’t new to the Flyers. The team has battled throughout Playdowns, erasing an early series deficit in the semifinals to get to where they are today. They don’t score a high amount of goals, which means Orangeville is well aware of how important it is to lock down on defence.
The Stars have consistently won the close games during Playdowns and it has given the team a bit of an edge. Now in a showdown with the Schomberg Red Wings, both teams appear ready for a shootout. If the Stars can hold on, they’ll bring the first Red Hats to Cayuga since the Novice group did in 2002. Sometimes you’re playing for a lot more than just your team.
Ancaster hasn’t had any issues lighting the lamp during Playdowns and are in a back-and-forth battle in the finals. This group is looking to win their second Red Hats in a row – they captured the Peewee championship last season. Will that championship experience be enough to lift them once again?
The two best teams in this bracket are showing why they’ve been a handful all of Playdowns. Essa has jumped ahead by a game but Creemore holds the latest victory and who will walk out with Red Hats is still very much up in the air. The Valley Hawks need a win to force a deciding, final game
The Rangers are off to another slow start – they’ve lost the opening game in each of their Playdowns rounds this year. However, it hasn’t stopped the team from turning on the jets and locking into gear for the rest of the series. They are in the middle of a similar test against the Huntsville Otters and will need to stop digging themselves out of early holes if they want a shot at Red Hats.
Additionally, the weekend of March 18-20 features six AAA Championships being hosted across the province.
Novice – The winningest club in the ETA, the Clarington Toros will be up against the Barrie Jr. Colts, Niagara North Stars, and Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs. Watch out for the Whitby Wildcats.
Minor Atom – The Markham Waxers and Halton Hurricanes topped the ETA and SCTA respectively at the end of the regular season. The Hurricanes will now host the Hamilton Jr. Bulldogs, Barrie Jr. Colts and Guelph Gryphons.
Atom – The York-Simcoe Express and Oakville Rangers rarely lost during the regular season and now find themselves one step closer to winning Red Hats. They'll be up against the Barrie Jr. Colts, Halton Hurricanes and Niagara North Stars.
Minor Peewee – The Quinte Red Devils finished the season atop the ETA standings. The defending champions will be in tough against the Whitby Wildcats, Burlington Eagles, Buffalo Regals and either the Ajax-Pickering Raiders or Richmond Hill Coyotes.
Peewee – The Buffalo Regals and Whitby Wildcats are the top two seeds in this group. The North Central Predators, Oakville Rangers and Niagara North Stars didn't have the strongest regular seasons but have earned their spots in the final tournament.
Minor Bantam – The Oakville Rangers are the defending champions of this birth year and enter with a strong finish to the regular season. They finished second behind the Niagara North Stars and will also need to beat the Burlington Eagles, Barrie Jr. Colts and York-Simcoe Express.