Knights chase winning-streak record

With an eye towards the World Junior Championship in Ufa, Russia at the end of the month, and the Top Prospects Game in Halifax on Jan. 16, we run down the top teams in the Canadian League this week.

The Halifax Mooseheads are continuing to dominate the Quebec League, but it appears the London Knights have found a groove – and no one is knocking them out of it.

Initially ranked at No. 3, the Knights quickly fell out of these rankings after winning only eight of their first 15 games. Now that they’ve tied a franchise record winning streak, the Knights are ready to see how far they can take this. The OHL record of 25, held by the 1983-84 Kitchener Rangers, is now in sight. If they keep winning, the potential record-setting night would be Jan. 4 at home to Saginaw. The question is: can they get there while two of their best defenders are away at the WJC?


Halifax Mooseheads (QMJHL)

OVERALL: 25-3-1-1 LW: 1

Goalie Zach Fucale’s worst outing of the season came in Saturday’s 7-6 loss to Acadie-Bathurst, when he was pulled after allowing five goals on 12 shots. Forwards Jonathan Drouin and Nathan MacKinnon are still in Canada’s WJC camp and Martin Frk is expected to suit up for the Czechs, so the Mooseheads might be without their top three scorers over the holidays.


London Knights (OHL)
OVERALL: 26-5-0-2 LW: 4

The Knights have won 18 straight games, with their last loss coming Oct. 27. Max Domi and Bo Horvat will be part of January’s Top Prospects Game, while defensemen Scott Harrington and Olli Maatta appear set to respresent Canada and Finland at the WJC.

Portland Winterhawks (WHL)  OVERALL: 25-5-1-0 LW: 3

Friday’s 3-2 loss to Tri-City was their first since Nov. 16, but the Winterhawks have been making it a habit to score at least four goals per game. Derrick Pouliot, the WHL’s second-highest scoring defender, was part of Canada’s first set of WJC cuts, but Tyler Wotherspoon and Ty Rattie remain, while Seth Jones will likely be part of Team USA.

Kamloops Blazers (WHL) OVERALL: 25-8-1-2 LW: 2

Not coming anywhere near their early-season goal totals, the Blazers have scored four goals in a game just once since Nov. 17. JC Lipon surrendered the WHL scoring lead to teammate Colin Smith and is being approached by Portland’s Nicolas Petan – but Lipon remains at Canada’s selection camp.


Blainville-Boisbriand Armada (QMJHL)  OVERALL: 22-6-1-3
LW: 5

Xavier Ouellet, seventh among all ‘Q’ defensemen scorers with 25 points in 26 games, had a high-ankle sprain heading into Canada’s WJC selection camp, but he was able to skate and is getting closer to landing a spot in the team.


Owen Sound Attack (OHL)
OVERALL: 22-7-1-2 LW: 6

Jordan Binnington and Daniel Catennaci remain at Canada’s selection camp, while Zach Nastasiuk and Chris Bigras were added to the Top Prospects Game. Bigras was named the Midwest Division’s academic player of the month for November, which continues a trend of outstanding school work for the draft eligible defenseman. Last year, Bigras was the Attack’s Scholastic Player of the Year. 

Quebec Remparts (QMJHL)
OVERALL: 22-8-0-1
LW: 8

Have won three of their first four games on their current six-game road trip. Anthony Duclair, Adam Erne and Nick Sorensen were included on Team Orr’s Top Prospects Game roster.


Barrie Colts (OHL)
OVERALL: 21-8-0-1 LW: 7

After letting a two-goal lead on London slip through their fingers, the Colts scored 11 goals to win their next two games. Mark Scheifele is all but a lock to be on Canada’s junior roster, while Anthony Camara tries to also stick.

Spokane Chiefs (WHL) OVERALL: 22-8-1-0 LW: NR

The Chiefs’ six-game winning streak ended on the stick of Morgan Rielly in Moose Jaw. Brenden Kichton, a 2011 fifth round pick of the Islanders’, leads all WHL defenders in scoring with 36 points in 31 games. However, Spokane will be without representation at the WJC and Top Prospects Game.


Prince Albert Raiders (WHL)
OVERALL: 21-10-0-2 LW: NR

Buried the Tigers 7-0 after dropping consecutive games to Spokane and Kootenay. Team point leader Mark McNeill (38 points in 33 games) remains at Canada’s WJC camp and Leon Draisaitl, second among WHL rookies with 28 points in 33 games, is expected to suit up for Germany. Defenseman Josh Morrissey will partake in the Top Prospects Game.