The Minor Midget AAA regular season kicks off in just a few days and features the next generation of OMHA hockey talent stepping up into the spotlight. Many players have put in time during the off-season to continue developing their skills and it all leads up to this critical season. This year of hockey is the stepping stone to the Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection Draft, where players will look to hit the ice on the next stage.
What’s in store for each team this season? Below is a preview of all 23 Minor Midget AAA teams based on how each team fared last year in Bantam.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 25-5-4
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Ty MacDonald (Windsor), Justyn Ross (Sudbury)
Outlook: The Raiders are definitely in the discussion as one of the top teams in the OMHA this year. They are knocking on the door, earning a bronze medal last season. Ajax-Pickering really turned it on in the second half and will look to carry all of that momentum when the puck drops again.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 9-21-4
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Justin Brown (Windsor), Ethan Lindsay (Owen Sound)
Outlook: The Jr. Colts dug themselves an early hole last season which put them behind the pack for the rest of the year. A more consistent offensive attack will help the Jr. Colts take some of the pressure off of their defence. Barrie ended on the season a winning streak and can build on that.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 2-27-3
2019 OHL Draft Picks: N/A
Outlook: Staying consistent offensively over the season will help lead to more success for the 45’s. They don’t always score a lot of goals but have shown the ability to hang with many other teams. Not letting games get away from them could notch a few more wins.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 21-9-2
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Jared Mangan (Peterborough), Joseph Blackley (Kitchener)
Outlook: The Regals jumped out of the gate early which set a positive tone for how the rest of their season would play out. They always seemed to stay a step or two ahead on the scoresheet and in the standings. That bodes well for them as they head into the Minor Midget season.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 7-21-4
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Joshua Ziliotto (North Bay), Chase Costantino (Kingston), Ben Felicetti (Windsor)
Outlook: The Eagles have a knack for keeping games close but will need to find that extra offensive step to notch a few more wins. They won’t go down without a fight. Burlington can sometimes find themselves in a dry spell and have to snap out of them quicker.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 12-22-2
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Cameron Kosurko (Sudbury), Jack Staniland (Ottawa), Wade Bolton (Mississauga)
Outlook: The Wolves battle in every game and the results show on the scoreboard. With a few extra bounces those tight contests can earn them some extra points in the standings.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 10-23-3
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Owen Richer (Guelph), Ethan Schoonderbeek (Erie), Jacob Dupuis (Owen Sound)
Outlook: Clarington has shown its ability to keep pace in high-scoring games but could use that offensive consistency across the season. No matter the result the Toros show up every night ready to play. A bit of puck luck and the results could notch a few more victories.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 10-17-5
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Aidan Yarde (Owen Sound), Eddie Maclean (Saginaw), Carter Garvie (Saginaw)
Outlook: The Highlanders seemed to find their stride as the season progressed and give themselves a shot to win any game. Keeping games within reach is a valuable trait for any team to have and Grey-Bruce certainly finds themselves in this category.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 20-8-4
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Ty Anselmini (London), Dixon Grimes (Guelph), Dylan Richardson (Hamilton), Ryan Cook (Barrie), Mark McIntosh (Kitchener), Dylan Hudon (Owen Sound)
Outlook: The Gryphons had a great final third of the season and narrowly missed the podium to cap off the year. No doubt they are going to build on those results and once again be a team that shouldn’t be overlooked. They put in a strong effort on the defensive end every game and that pays off by the final whistle.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 12-14-6
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Ethan Burroughs (Owen Sound), Lawson Sherk (Hamilton), Matteo Drobac (Hamilton), Brennan Kennedy (Peterborough), Joshua Vagenas (Flint)
Outlook: Halton’s ability to compete in every game keeps their final results close. They should not be overlooked on the schedule. If the Hurricanes can break through on a few of those tossup battles it should result in a few more wins.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 11-14-7
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Jacob Maillet (Guelph), Cameron Gauvreau (North Bay)
Outlook: Tight games often go in their favour so keeping the score close gives the Jr. Bulldogs a shot at a win each time. The last 10 games of the season were not kind to Hamilton, who showed earlier in the year that they can make noise in this group. Translating their game over a full season could result in a different ending.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 21-10-5
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Wil Murphy (Erie), Beckett Palmer-Stephen (Sarnia), Barret Joynt (Kingston)
Outlook: The Jr. Gaels started out with a strong offensive first half of the season but lost some of the goal-scoring magic as the year came to a close. Still, this is a hard team to beat and their record is not a mirage. Kingston definitely has the pieces to repeat their success.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 8-20-6
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Cameron Smith (London), Sean Mateer (Mississauga)
Outlook: Finding the edge to breakthrough on ties could be the key to unlock the season for the Waxers. Keeping teams in check defensively helps the Waxers play in lower scoring games which is why they drew even in so many contests.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 13-15-4
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Connor Federkow (London), Matteo Giampa (London), Parker Hendsbee (Ottawa), Jacob Cielen-Gough (Flint)
Outlook: One of the more balanced teams, the North Stars keep themselves in every game. They have shown the potential to put together a win streak or two which can help their case in the standings. Finding that consistency will be a factor on how far they go this season.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 2-29-3
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Connor Punnett (Saginaw), Ethan Larmand (Sudbury), Chas Sharpe (Mississauga), Brett Bressette (Erie), Cole Patey (Peterborough), Riley Pitt (Oshawa), Coulter Taylor (Sault Ste. Marie),
Outlook: A spark on offence could ignite the Predators. Starting the year on the right note will be important for North Central, who need to establish a regularity to their attack. Keeping games close and not letting them get away is key.
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2018-19 Bantam Record: 13-15-4
2019 OHL Draft Picks: James Jodoin (Windsor), Adam O’Marra (Mississauga), Owen Wilson (Hamilton)
Outlook: The Rangers are guided by their blueline and boast one of the strongest defensive teams in this age group. That gives them a shot to win every night. They ran into a tough opponent in the playoffs but a pair of one-goal games going the other way and the story could’ve ended differently for Oakville.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 24-10-2
2019 OHL Draft Picks: N/A
Outlook: The Generals do a great job of protecting home ice and are not fun to play against with the crowd behind them. Oshawa has no problem lighting the lamp and can hang with any team in that regard. A tough playoff matchup ended their season early but it couldn’t have been any tighter.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 8-24-4
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Jon-Randall Avon (Peterborough), Nathan Oickle (Kingston), Tyler Savard (Sault Ste. Marie), Jacob Verner (Peterborough)
Outlook: Once the Petes started to gel they had more consistency finding the back of the net. Getting off to a good start could be an important factor in how Peterborough’s season ends up. Teams can’t expect to take them lightly.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 29-2-5
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Daniel Michaud (Ottawa), Ben White (Erie), Erik MacNeil (North Bay)
Outlook: The Red Devils were a dominant force throughout the season and faced little adversity on their way to claiming the 2019 Bantam AAA Championship. They are solid on both ends of the ice and don’t often find themselves on the losing end of a game. This is a stingy defensive group and will have a target on its back as the defending champions of this age group.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 21-7-6
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Callum Chisholm (Mississauga)
Outlook: The Coyotes enter the year as one of the stronger offensive teams and riding a wave of momentum following a solid win to last season. They don’t often find themselves on the losing end of a game and have lots of positives to build on.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 28-1-3
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Blake Hall (Barrie), Nicholas Paone (Peterborough), Joshua Reilly (Erie)
Outlook: The Admirals finished last season with a sour taste in their mouth after settling for a silver medal. They are no doubt coming back hungry and wanting to prove again that they are one of the top teams in this age group. Teams were lucky to score against them which was a major key to their success.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 16-15-5
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Ryan Winterton (Hamilton), Brendan Sirizzotti (Ottawa), Thomas Johnston (Ottawa), Owen Brady (Oshawa), Justin DiLauro (Mississauga), Joshua Simpson (Sudbury), Douglas Carr (Owen Sound)
Outlook: The Wildcats were one of the top teams within the first handful of games so it is in their pedigree. Their tendency to play in close-scoring games means the margin for error is slim but also shows that they are comfortable playing in high pressure contests. Whitby’s goal differential indicates they may just be scratching the surface if they can tighten up a loose end or two.
2018-19 Bantam Record: 13-10-11
2019 OHL Draft Picks: Jacob Holmes (Sault Ste. Marie), Matthew Roy (Flint), Braden Hache (Kingston), Kaleb Nelson (Hamilton), Cole Turcotte (Niagara), Ryan Cutler (Peterborough),
Outlook: Turning some of their league-high ties into wins will help the Express earn a few more points in the standings. It shows that they can hang in with any team and that a game can easily go in their favor. Finding that extra step to break through could make everything click for York-Simcoe.