With the much awaited Bantam All Ontario Championships set to kick off in just over a month's time, the field of 58 teams that started the qualification process for the tournament are quickly starting to widdle down with league playoffs in full swing.
The tournament, which will be hosted at the CIH Arena in Rockland, Ont, runs from March 28th-April 2nd and will feature seven of the top teams from across the province with representatives from each league in the province.
Thus far only the Eastern Ontario Wild have punched a ticket to the big dance which they earned as the host team. That's not to say they're undeserving by any stretch as they also have the top seed in the OEMHL playoffs and are the undeniable favourites to take home a league championiship there as well. Across the rest of the province, there's also no shortage of intriguing storylines.
- The second round pits the Mississauga Rebels against the Jr. Canadiens in one semi-final, while the Mississauga Reps will faceoff against the Vaughan Kings in the other semi-final. Both Mississauga teams have jumped out with Game 1 victories and will be the overwhelming favourites in both series'
- There were no upsets in Round 1 to report and with the exception of the Jr. Canadiens/Senators series, none of them were really all that close, either.
- After a thrilling series, York-Simcoe knocked out Ajax/Pickering and defied our projection for the series to advance. They now meet Whitby in Round 2 while Barrie takes on Quinte in the other semi-final.
- Both series' shape up to be very good ones with only the Colts having a place at the OMHA Championships thus far as a they'll play hosts after winning the tournament a season ago. If Barrie winds up winning against Quinte, the two losing teams would play-off in a backdoor game to get the ETA's third qualification spot in the five-team OMHA Championships.
- London has Sun County on the ropes with a 7-1 point advantage and will surely punch their ticket to the league final as early as Friday. In the other semi-final, it's been a series to remember thus far as regional rivals Waterloo and Cambridge are tied in points 5-5. The next game goes on Friday and there's little doubt the remaining games will be must-see hockey
- After top-seeded Halton had an early hiccup in the qualifying weekend, they rebounded to make it out of their group along with Brampton to advance to the semi-final round. Hamilton also held serve in the other group while fifth seeded Oakville was the only "surprise", advancing to the next round over the fourth-seeded Southern Tier Admirals
- The two semi-finals will now pit Halton against Oakville while Brampton faces Hamilton on the other side. The two winners will advance to the OMHA Championships in Barrie, from which the winner will advance to Rockland
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