Belleville’s Bull in net

Competition is stiff for this year’s job as Canada’s No. 1 goalie at the WJC.

The inside track has to go to Boston Bruins pick Malcolm Subban, who also holds the benefit of playing on larger ice in Belleville, since this year’s tournament is in Russia, but Owen Sound’s Jordan Binnington, Edmonton’s Laurent Brossoit and even Blainville-Boisbriand’s Etienne Marcoux are making strong cases.

But what makes Subban so intriguing, and may ultimately give him an edge, is that he’s clearly carrying his team. Despite scoring the fewest goals in the Ontario League and third-fewest across the entire Canadian League, Belleville sits perched atop its division, having allowed the second-fewest goals in the OHL) and third-fewest in the CHL. Though the OHL’s East division isn’t the strongest, that’s impressive nonetheless.

With a 2.16 goals-against average and .933 save percentage, Subban is second in the OHL in both categories, settling in behind Kitchener’s John Gibson in both. Gibson is an American, by the way, so if the two take the No. 1 jobs for their countries, any Canada-USA tilt will have a little extra interest for OHL fans.

Here are this week’s top 10, with honorable mentions to the Calgary Hitmen, Kitchener Rangers and Rouyn-Noranda Huskies.


Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

OVERALL: 17-2-0-1 LW: 1

The Mooseheads won two games in their just-concluded four-game road trip and head home for four, where they’ll face stiff tests against Rouyn-Noranda and Baie-Comeau. But playing in Halifax is no easy task for visitors these days. On top of the flurry of talent the Mooseheads possess, the fans are flocking at what’s believed to be a record pace for the franchise.

Portland Winterhawks (WHL)
OVERALL: 16-3-1-0 LW: 6

Amazingly, Portland now has the best offense in the league, surpassing the Kamloops Blazers last week. The Winterhawks posted nine-spots against Vancouver and Spokane and defeated Kamloops 3-1 at home. Draft eligible Nicolas Petan is tied for fourth in league scoring with 33 points, only two off his total from all of last season. Portland plays in Kamloops on Friday.

Owen Sound Attack (OHL) OVERALL: 14-3-1-2 LW: 4

The Attack may be playing over their heads – and will need to make a roster-bolstering deal at some point to sustain the momentum – but they’re tops in the Ontario League at the moment. Their division is regarded as one of the toughest, except for Erie, and they’ve dropped their past three games against Kitchener (2) and Guelph (1). This weekend will be a huge test for the attack, as they play three games in three nights against surging division rivals Kitchener and London, plus Windsor.

Kamloops Blazers (WHL) OVERALL: 17-5-0-1 LW: 2

Remember how unstoppable the Blazers were just a few weeks ago? Well, they’ve only won one of six November games and the much talked-about Lipon-Bozon-Smith line combined for seven points and a minus-6 rating in that span. But Kamloops plays its next seven games at home, which will help get them back in line.

Quebec Remparts (QMJHL) OVERALL: 15-5-0-0 LW: 3

Sabres pick Mikhail Grigorenko lit up Cape Breton with four goals in a 5-4 win, after which coach Patrick Roy challenged his team to give more. The Remparts play Shawinigan, Victoriaville and Acadie-Bathurst this week, three middling teams they’ve combined to go 5-1 against so far.

Barrie Colts
Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)
OVERALL: 15-5-0-2 LW: 5

Last week we said the Armada needed to bounce back from a two-game losing skid. Well, they outscored Moncton and Saint John 17-5 at home, so let’s call it a job well done. Christopher Clapperton, passed over at the draft but invited to Philadelphia’s prospect camp in July, didn’t have the most productive week. However, the 5-foot-10, 180-pounder won’t be ignored again if he keeps leading this deep team in scoring.

Belleville Bulls
Barrie Colts (OHL)
OVERALL: 14-5-0-1 LW: 7

Defensive depth remains an issue for the Colts, who have allowed at least three goals in each of their November games. A night after beating Oshawa, the Colts dropped a tough one at home to Brampton 4-3, despite taking an early 2-0 lead. Aaron Ekblad was not included on Team OHL for the Super Series.

Barrie Colts
Baie-Comeau Drakkar (QMJHL)
OVERALL: 15-4-0-2 LW: NR

The Drakkar are heating up. Their last loss came on Oct. 26 against the Quebec League’s worst team, but since then they haven’t allowed more than two goals in a game. Rookies Valentin Zykov and Gabryel Paquin-Boudreau are among the league’s top freshmen and draft-eligible goalie Philippe Cadorette is among the league’s best. But overager (and Columbus draft pick) Petr Straka is the star, scoring 20 goals in 17 games.

Mississauga Steelheads (OHL) OVERALL: 14-5-0-1 LW: NR

Draft-eligible Spencer Martin was ranked as the fifth-best goalie available by International Scouting heading into the season and he’s been making a case for himself to move up. Martin has been stellar, posting a 2.23 GAA and .930 SP, both third in the league, behind only John Gibson and Malcolm Subban. Impressive. Three road games in three nights this weekend will be a test for Mississauga as it tries to overtake the Colts for the division lead.

Barrie Colts

Edmonton Oil Kings (WHL)

OVERALL: 13-5-1-2
LW: 9

Goalie Laurent Brossoit, a Calgary sixth-rounder from 2011, earned some WJC talk after his 30-save shutout win over the Russians in Wednesday’s Super Series. After a slow start, last season’s WHL playoff standout has picked up his play lately, posting a . 943 SP in four road games this month, winning three.