Can NB Trappers be beat?

January 4, 2017

North Bay Trappers have a four-point lead on the Soo Greyhounds as the top two teams in the Great North Midget Hockey League head into the final quarter of the 2016-2017 regular season.

With 10 games to play on the regular-season slate, North Bay has 45 points from a record of 22-3-1.

With 9 games to play, the Soo has 41 points from a record of 19-5-3.

Head-to-head, the Trappers have won four of five meetings between the two teams with one match remaining — in North Bay.

If there is an advantage that the Greyhounds have it’s that they play their final six games of the regular season at home whereas the Trappers play their last seven contests on the road.

Other than that, a general consensus is that North Bay is the best overall team in the Great North.

That is to take nothing away from the Soo, which boasts considerable talent among its 2001, 2000 and 1999 birth-year players.

But while both teams have high-end, 2000 birth-year players who were Ontario Hockey League draft picks in 2016 — North Bay defensemen Jake Gravelle (Mississauga Steelheads) and Dylan Bond (Saginaw Spirit) and Soo forward Lucas Theriault (Niagara IceDogs) — it’s the 2001 birth-year class that separates the Trappers from the Greyhounds.

As many as seven players from the first-place Trappers could become selections at the 2017 OHL draft.

According to a sampling of a few OHL general managers and scouts, leading the skilled set of 2001 birth-year prospects from North Bay is slick, right-handed-shooting defenseman Payton Vescio.

Others from the Trappers who are garnering various levels of attention ahead of the 2017 OHL draft are forwards Matt Hardwick, Cole Craft and Ryan Mills, defensemen Kobe Seguin and Jake Peterson-Galema and goalie Joel Rainville.

Meanwhile, the only sure-fire 2001 birth-year player from the Greyhounds who is currently on the radar of the OHL scouts is said to be high-scoring, hard-nosed, free-wheeling forward Camaryn Baber.

Baber and Vescio are considered the top 2 prospects from the Great North loop for this year’s OHL draft.

At any rate, back to an earlier question — can the Trappers be beat?

Any team in any sport at any level is beatable, that much is a given.

But do the Greyhounds have enough to overtake the Trappers for first place and — assuming they meet for the Great North championship — beat them in a best-of-five playoff series?

Given the five matches between the two teams thus far, North Bay has been the better team in winning four times — including the last two right in the Soo.

PHOTO: Members of the North Bay Trappers, left to right, Jake Peterson-Galema, Joe Whittet and Payton Vescio, celebrating a goal. (Photo by Dave Dale.)

What you think about “Can NB Trappers be beat?”

  1. Randy this is just a Note to tell you how much we enjoy your coverage of the Sault Greyhounds Midgets. Great Article’s!!!

  2. The Sault are a good team .. good coaching staff .. lots of talent on that team.
    But .. North Bay have more depth more overall talent and more disipline from what I have seen so far.

  3. Watch out for the Kap Flyers! Very well coached! High power offense. If their defence can keep things simple they have a shot with Dube in net!

  4. It is very unfortunate that the Saults major midget coach opted to take only 3 -2001 birth year players. And we wonder why kids from the Sault don’t get drafted? Thank you Mr Panco for lessening those odds! North Bay opted to take 7 2001 players, and will likely see 5 drafted if not more. Sudbury has a minor midget team made up of 01s that play in the GNML. Only the Sault in its infinite hockey wisdom has reduced the odds to 3 players getting exposure to the OHL draft… and then to add insult to injury he added several 99’s who are 2 years past their draft eligibility instead of developing more 01s is beyond comprehendable? We wonder why kids are leaving the Sault to play for teams in southern Ontario? Ask Mr Panco!

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