top of page
  • Writer's pictureMatt Sanderson

First season in the OJHL comes to a close for the Niagara Falls Canucks

Written by: Matt Sanderson

Source: Niagara Falls Canucks Website


The first season for the Niagara Falls Canucks in the Ontario Junior Hockey League has come to a close. The Canucks finished with an 18-37-0-1 record on the season, and 11-17 at home and out of the playoff picture. The Canucks finished their final eight games with a 4-4 record, however they played some of their best hockey in this stretch.


Let’s take a look at their final week of games for the 2023-24 OJHL season:


Thursday - Niagara Falls found themselves down 1-0 to the Brantford 99ers at the end of the first period and then went on a surge in the second with three unanswered goals including two powerplay goals. Into the final period where they went in with a 3-1 lead, the Canucks did not hold back as they potted home two more goals to win 5-2 as the final. Alex Hebblethwaite was back to his scoring ways as he had three points on the evening, and Avery Alves who has had an up and down year in net, had a very good game stopping 31 of 33 shots on net. Niagara Falls had everything clicking for them, from their scoring, to special teams where they were 2 of 5 on the powerplay and scoring a shorthanded goal on the penalty kill. This was the first of a home and home matchup with Niagara Falls.


Friday - After knocking off Brantford at home the Canucks had put some pressure on the 99ers who were vying for the last playoff spot in the west. Despite coming close, Niagara Falls did not have the same success in this game as they lost a close one at home. Brantford scored first just like Thursday night, but the Canucks only mustered up one goal in the second period and found themselves down 3-1 heading into the third. With some heroic efforts from Cameron Lowe at just under three minutes left in the game, and Braeden O’Keefe almost two minutes later the Canucks were tied 3-3 with 57 seconds remaining in the game. But Brantford battled hard and came back with a 4-3 goal with 34 seconds left which ended up being the game winner. This led to Brantford clinching the final playoff spot. It was almost a complete flip for the Canucks in game two, who gave up two powerplay goals and one short handed goal similar to what they did the night before.


Sunday - Sunday was a complete grind it out game, one of the closest games we’ve seen the Canucks play all season. This was the final game of the year and it came against the Haliburton County Huskies in the east. Haliburton had already clinched a playoff spot, it was just dependent on where they finished based off their game and the remaining games on the final day of the season. The second period was where all the action was on the scoresheet as the Huskies scored two goals sandwiching Canucks’ forward Wolf Giles’ goal in between. Despite the tough, hard nosed efforts and the countless chances the Canucks had in the third, they could not tie the game and dropped their last game of the season 2-1.

 

When you look at the Canucks season as a whole, it certainly was an up and down year with highs and lows along the way. But Niagara Falls has plenty to look forward to next year as only one player, Thomas Shain is has aged out of the league where most other teams in the league are losing six of their eight best players. Secondly, what started out as a team who was inconsistent scoring and only had one line who led most of the production, they grabbed two full lines who were dangerous on any given night. Finally, the word is getting around for OJHL Junior ‘A’ back in Niagara as attendance grew game in and game out.


Niagara Falls is used to playing winning hockey, some of the greatest players to ever lace up their skates in the National Hockey League made their mark in Niagara Falls hockey some way shape or form. This organization prides itself on winning, and based off the feeling around the rink this season, the club truly feels they will make some noise next year as it will be their second season in the Ontario Junior Hockey League.


Comentarios


bottom of page