Top Performances: A look at the best of the first half

Ontario Hockey League

It’s been an exciting first half of the 2016-17 season, one with a number of exceptional performances. With the holiday break upon us, we take an opportunity to look back at some of the top individual showings we’ve seen thus far.


Tampa Bay Lightning prospect Taylor Raddysh leads the OHL scoring race midway through the season, collecting 23 goals, 38 assists and 61 points over 28 games. The 18-year-old earned Player of the Month honours for both October and November and recently earned a spot on Canada’s National Junior Team. Raddysh played a big part in Team OHL’s success at the 2016 CIBC Canada Russia Series, scoring twice and adding an assist in a 5-2 Game 4 win over Russia in Hamilton. Raddysh’s linemate Alex DeBrincat has been no slouch either. The Chicago Blackhawks prospect is the first OHL player to reach the 30-goal mark and is on pace to record his third straight 50-goal season, a feat accomplished just once in OHL history by St. Catharines Fincups forward Dale McCourt from 1974-77. DeBrincat has 60 points (30-30–60) through 28 contests and has recorded 10 multi-goal efforts this season. He has points in 12 straight games.

Toronto Maple Leafs prospect Jeremy Bracco of the Kitchener Rangers went on a tear through much of the first half, putting together a 26-game point streak from October 7th to December 9th. The crafty winger recorded 51 points (17-34–51) over his 26-game run, including a five point effort on October 10th against Guelph and four point outings on November 17th and 20th. He was twice named Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week and currently sits fifth in OHL scoring. The Freeport, NY native looks to suit up for the United States at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship in Montreal and Toronto.

Draft eligible Windsor Spitfires goaltender Michael DiPietro went on an incredible run as a 17-year-old, stretching out 209:23 of shutout hockey, a span that included three consecutive road shutouts in Barrie, Sudbury and North Bay. DiPietro’s accomplishment fell just short of recent OHL marks set by Mark Visentin (237:53, Niagara 2011-12), Adam Munro (224:36, Erie 2000-01) and Jordan Binnington (211:32, Owen Sound 2012-13). DiPietro currently leads the league with a 2.19 goals-against average and sits tied for second with a .920 save percentage. He’ll represent Team Orr in the 2017 Sherwin-Williams CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Quebec City on January 30th.

Four different OHL players have recorded four goal games this season. Flint’s Luke Kirwan was the first to do so on October 30th when the Firebirds defeated the Ottawa 67’s 8-6 on the road. Kirwan scored twice in the first and third periods while adding an assist for a five point effort. The first of three December four goal games came on December 2nd when Boston Bruins prospect Zach Senyshyn led the Soo Greyhounds to a 4-3 overtime win over the Barrie Colts. Senyshyn scored all four Greyhounds goals, accomplishing the feat exactly one year after he had scored four in a 10-3 win over Sudbury on December 2, 2015. Senyshyn has recorded three hat-tricks this season. Greyhounds forward Jack Kopacka and Saginaw Spirit overager Hayden Hodgson each scored four goals on the same night on December 11th. Kopacka’s four helped the Hounds take a 7-2 win in Hamilton while Hodgson’s quartet led the Spirit to a 6-3 win in Oshawa.

Petrus Palmu scored four seconds into the second period of Owen Sound’s 7-5 win over visiting Hamilton on September 28th. Palmu’s goal tied London’s Doug Synyshin’s 1989 OHL record for fastest goal to start a period. Palmu, who will represent Finland at the 2017 IIHF World Junior Hockey Championship, currently sits second in Attack scoring with 44 points (23-21–44) over 32 games. He leads the OHL, having been named first star of the game eight times this season.

Peterborough Petes netminder Dylan Wells has been kept busy this season, going 16-8-1-2 with a 2.97 goals-against average and a .920 save percentage despite facing the second most shots in the league. The Edmonton Oilers prospect has faced an average of just over 37 shots-per-game, but has pushed the Petes into second place in the East Division as they entered the break on an eight game winning streak. Wells has made 30 saves or more in 15 of his 16 victories this season.

Kitchener Rangers goaltender Dawson Carty and Sudbury Wolves netminder Jake McGrath have both recorded 44-save shutouts this season, stealing a valuable two points for their respective clubs with exceptional performances. Carty made his 44 saves on October 21st, earning first star honours in a 2-0 win over the visiting Hamilton Bulldogs. McGrath stonewalled the Barrie Colts in a 3-0 home ice win on December 3rd.

Sean Day saved his first OHL hat-trick for a special occasion, powering the Windsor Spitfires to a 3-2 overtime win over the Saginaw Spirit on December 4th. Day’s natural hat-trick included three goals in a span of 5:50 as the Spitfires won the final OHL game at Joe Louis Arena, the place where Day, a native of nearby Rochester, Michigan, grew up watching the Detroit Red Wings. Day is joined by Nicolas Hague (Mississauga Steelheads) and Mitchell Vande Sompel (Oshawa Generals) as one of three defencemen to record a hat-trick this season.

Since the start of the 2016-17 OHL campaign 115 different players have celebrated their first career goals, while an additional seven goaltenders have recorded their first career shutouts.  13 different Milestone Moment videos have been produced since #OHLOpeningWeek capturing these highlights. WATCH.






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