Home > 2014 OHL Cup, OHL, OHL Priority Selection Draft, Uncategorized > Cyclones peak at perfect time

Cyclones peak at perfect time

By definition, a cyclone is a rapidly rotating storm system characterized by strong winds moving across the earth with a damaging effect. On the Buckingham Arena ice this past weekend, the Chatham-Kent Minor Midget Cyclones came together as a team at the perfect time and their collective force was felt.

Photo Courtesy of Brendan Ross (TSB)

Photo Courtesy of Brendan Ross (TSB)

The team, which fell one win short of reaching the Alliance Final weeks before after a devastating triple overtime loss in the deciding game to the Kitchener Jr. Ranger, picked up their heads and gained the program’s first ever trip to the  OHL Cup tournament.  Days prior to the start of the annual OHL Cup, the Cyclones won a play-in series versus the Brantford 99ers earning a birth into the prestigious tournament.

Partnered with the Ontario Hockey League and Greater Toronto Hockey League (GTHL), the OHL Cup is Minor Midget ‘AAA’ showcase tournament featuring the 20 best teams in Ontario and the Chatham-Kent Cyclones arrived, competed and proved that this small-market team was not out of place. Taking place at Buckingham Arena in Toronto’s Downsview area, OHL scouts littered the rinks hoping to identify future pieces for their clubs and many from the CK region left a positive lasting impression.

Photo Courtesy of Brendan Ross (TSB)

Photo Courtesy of Brendan Ross (TSB)

Led by the athletic Joseph Raaymakers in net, Coach Ken Gagner had his team playing textbook hockey throughout the tournament. The experience of competing among top teams and players in the province would have been enough for most teenagers but Chatham-Kent was determined to compete for the illustrious title advancing to the semi-final Saturday evening, ultimately losing to the Toronto Marlboros, a powerhouse team who took home the eventual OHL Cup Championship.

The unforgettable journey began Tuesday evening with a 3-1 win over the GTHL’s Mississauga Senators on goals from Ben Nicholls, Jarret Marks and Ryan Greenaway. Joseph Raaymakers was in the zone stopping all but one shot and the game one MVP honours were awarded to Blair Derynck.

Photo Courtesy of Brendan Ross (TSB)

Kyle Fife blasts a shot onto Coyotes’ netminder  Ryan Franz [Photo Courtesy of Brendan Ross (TSB)]

Day two featured a game versus the OEMHL Champions in Ottawa Valley Titans and the action was back-and-forth with Anthony Hurtubise starting between the pipes. Falling behind two goals early in the opening frame, the Cyclones battled back on goals from Kyle Fife and Jarret Marks. Ottawa Valley responded quickly scoring a pair of goals within seconds of one another cuing a goaltending change with Raaymakers jumping into action. End to end action continued for the final two periods but despite two valiant comeback attempts, Chatham-Kent fell to Ottawa Valley 6-5 with goals coming from Jarret Marks (x2), Kyle Fife, Ross Krieger and Blair Derynck. Marks picked up game MVP for the Cyclones and potential top OHL Draft pick Tye Felhaber received the honours for the Titans.

Suiting up on day three to face the South Central Coyotes would bring both good and bad news at the end of the game. Chatham-Kent came out and played some strong defensive hockey in front of Raaymakers skating to a hard-fought 2-1 victory but unfortunately lost Nolan Gardiner to a serious leg injury midway through the opening period when the gritty forward was stretchered off with what would become known later as a broken femur. After giving fans and teammates two thumbs up as emergency medical staff wheeled Gardiner off the ice, the Cyclones rallied together and won a thrilling match for their injured teammate on goals from Ben Nicholls and Jarret Marks, who scored his fourth of the tournament and eventual game winner. Game three MVP honours went to Dawson Vantour.

Brady Pataki rings a shot off the cross bar (Photo: Brendan Ross, TSB)

Levi Tetrault is a stabilizing presence on the blue line (Photo: Brendan Ross, TSB)

Friday’s most thrilling game of the day featured Chatham-Kent pitted against a similar hard-working Peterborough Petes team and the contest did not disappoint. In a physical affair, bodies collided and emotions ran high against two teams who desperately needed points. Trailing 3-2 in the final seconds of the game, it was forward Jarret Marks who crashed the Petes’ net hard, on a centering shot from Nick Delyzer,  swatting him the game-tying goal with only 15.6 seconds remaining on the clock. Forcing overtime was crucial for the Cyclones as the team only needed a tie to clinch first place in their division. Chatham-Kent’s Raaymakers shut the door in overtime with a shot-blocking unit sacrificing themselves in front of him and the team celebrated as their 2-1-1 record launched them into Saturday’s playoff round. Goals were scored from Brady Pataki, Jarret Marks and Nick Delyzer, who rightfully earned game MVP honours playing the game of his life.

In a quarter final must-win contest on Saturday morning, Chatham-Kent took the ice against a similar underdog team in the Guelph Gryphons. The Cyclones responded well early in the game securing a 3-0 lead with goals from Brady Pataki, Phil Clarke and Nick Delyzer. Raaymakers and his teammates came together to fend off a surging Gryphons team that came close to tying the game but it was the Cyclones who skated off with a 3-2 victory advancing to the OHL Cup semifinals to meet the powerful Toronto Marlboros.

Undefeated in round robin play, the Toronto Marlboros were the favourites to win the OHL Cup right from the start. The Cyclones were one of the Cinderella stories of the tournament enjoying the ride of their lifetime as heavy underdogs. Playing against potential first round picks in Mikey McLeod (2014 OHL Cup MVP), Taylor Raddysh, Joseph Mizzi, Jake Harris and Cliff Pu is certainly a memory the Cyclones won’t forget. Former NHL Oiler Paul Coffey standing tall on the Marlboros bench can be an intimidating presence but the Cyclones handled the pressure well. After all, Chatham-Kent was proud to be representing their local fans. The Cyclones were the last standing Alliance Hockey entry competing in the tournament after Kitchener and Waterloo were knocked out early.

The Marlboros are a deadly puck possession team that smothers teams with their ability to attack in waves. On Saturday evening, it was the line of Mikey McLeod, Taylor Raddysh and Kyle Maksimovich that took over the game. All three players have brothers on OHL lineups and their talent was too much to handle for most teams last week. Toronto goals from Maksimovich, Raddysh (x2), Blake Coffey, Nicolas Sicoly and Michael Kelaiditis lifted the Marlboros over the Cyclones with a score of 6-2 ending Chatham-Kent’s remarkable OHL Cup journey. Blair Derynck and Brad Maxim scored the lone goals for the Cyclones with Brady Pataki picking up game MVP honours after leading his team in OHL Cup scoring with two goals and eight points in six tournament games.

The Toronto Marlboros defeated the Toronto Jr. Canadiens in the OHL Cup Final 5-0 picking up their fourth title in the past 10 OHL Cup tournaments.

The OHL Cup put an exclamation mark on the Chatham-Kent Cyclones fantastic season as the players’ hard work and determination made history as the first Cyclones Minor Midget team to reach the OHL Cup tournament. On arguably one of the deepest and talented Cyclones’ teams in recent history, teammates lifted each other’s games to new levels and scouts took noticed. Heading towards the April 5th 2014 OHL Priority Selection Draft, many of these young men will have an excellent chance at being selected.

Joe Raaymakers is projected to be one of the top goaltenders in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection Draft (Photo Courtesy of Brendan Ross, TSB)

Joe Raaymakers is projected to be one of the top goaltenders in the 2014 OHL Priority Selection Draft (Photo Courtesy of Brendan Ross, TSB)

Brady Pataki enjoyed a late-season surge up draft rankings with his power forward style of game. Joseph Raaymakers remains one of the most athletic and talked about puck stoppers in the draft. Levi Tetrault displayed the leadership, poise and defensive acumen that teams covet. Brendan Harrogate was an offensive catalyst all season long. Ross Krieger overcame a late-season injury and capped off a fantastic year with an outstanding OHL Cup performance. Nick Delyzer is a team-first player with the hockey sense and determination to thrive at the next level. Ben Nicholls is one of the smoothest skating offensive defensemen in the Alliance loop. Jarret Marks is a tenacious forward with clutch scoring ability as evident by a standout OHL Cup. Kyle Fife is blessed with one of the hardest shots and scored some timely goals for Chatham-Kent. Nolan Gardiner, Blair Derynck, Ryan Greenaway and Brad Maxim are astute two-way forwards with excellent shutdown abilities. Phillip Clarke is a gritty forward that makes it difficult for opposing defensemen to play against. Dawson Vantour, Brett Barnes and Patrick Wright are three defensemen who improved as the season progressed solidifying a blue line in front of two outstanding goaltenders in Raaymakers and Anthony Hurtubise. Congratulations to the coaching staff and good luck to the members of the ’98 Minor Midget ‘AAA’ Chatham-Kent Cyclones team. There are bright futures ahead.

Brady Pataki rings a shot off the crossbar (Photo: Brendan Ross, TSB)

Brady Pataki rings a shot off the crossbar (Photo: Brendan Ross, TSB)

Brendan Ross is an Alliance scout for TheScout.ca and published CHL Journalist. Follow his work @RossyYoungblood

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