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Red-hot Predators devour foes, skate into OMHA championship

Local major bantam team will host OHF championship in April
2018-03-21 Preds Major Bantams.jpg
The McLean and Dickey major bantam Predators will skate for an OMHA title this weekend in Guelph. In the back row, from left: Paul Sharpe (trainer), Luke Dubbin (assistant coach), Connor Punnett, Chas Sharpe, Nicholas Dowling, Jake Hildebrandt, Riley Pitt, Riley Thayer, Cole Patey, Meguire Naughton, Cole Quevillon, Ryan Bath and Dave Bressette (head coach). Front row: Wade Monague, Ethan Larmand, Brett Bressette, Ian Phillips, Mitchell Smilsky, Aaron Zurawski, Colin Ewing and Coulter Taylor. Missing: Cory Bath (trainer). Supplied photo

When the North Central Predators won the bid to host the 2018 Ontario Hockey Federation (OHF) Bantam AAA Championship, they had high hopes the local Predators entry would earn the right to play for the coveted crown on home ice.

So far this season, the McLean and Dickey Insurance major bantam Predators have done their part. The local squad finished atop the western division of the ETA standings after they compiled an impressive 22-10-2 regular-season record. During those 34 games, the Preds scored 150 goals, while allowing just 94.

Their strong showing allowed them to clinch first place with a few games left on the schedule, so they were primed and ready to hit the ice for the most important time of the year – the playoffs. And they have not disappointed.

In the first round, the Predators made quick work of the Ajax-Pickering Raiders, dispatching their rivals in four games. After a brief break, they played the Quinte Red Devils in a cross-over series with that team from the eastern division.

The Red Devils, a highly-ranked team, proved to be a difficult foe to play against but, in the end, the Predators swept them in three straight games to earn a spot in the Ontario Minor Hockey Association (OMHA) championship tournament.

This weekend, the local squad will continue on their road to an OMHA title as they travel to Guelph. It’s a long road that has involved 34 regular-season games and two playoff rounds. It’s a journey the team knows well as they have advanced to the championship weekend in two of the last three seasons.

The Predators will clash with teams from Whitby, Guelph, Halton and Hamilton this weekend at the OMHA championship.

The local squad is hoping to win to earn their spot in the OHF championship they’re hosting. As the host centre, they have a bye into the tourney, but their goal all season has been to earn that spot.

The annual OHF tournament, to be held this year at the Rama MASK, features the reigning champions from the six different regions of the province in addition to the host team.

In addition to the games, there will be opening ceremonies, vendors throughout the MASK during the event in addition to a banquet and closing ceremony slated for Hawk Ridge Golf and Country Club.

Orillia native and former Toronto Maple Leafs general manager Bill Watters will serve as the event’s honorary chair and expects the event to be a winner. “This will be an amazing hockey experience that the players will remember for a lifetime,” he predicted.

The tournament will see action occur at the MASK from April 2-6.


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Dave Dawson

About the Author: Dave Dawson

Dave Dawson is community editor of
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