CHL Notebook: Hawel leads way as red-hot Rangers make charge up standings


Liam Hawel of the Kitchener Rangers. (Terry Wilson / OHL Images)

They’re the hottest of the hot around the Canadian Hockey League and in doing so, it’s hard not to take notice.

In Ontario and out West, it’s a pair of teams that continue to roll along, while in Quebec a pair of players are giving goaltenders fits of late.

In the Ontario Hockey League, the Kitchener Rangers haven’t lost in regulation time in 14 games.

What’s more impressive is the team has gone 21-1-3-0 since Mike McKenzie took over as interim head coach when the team parted ways with former coach Jay McKee in November.

The team was outside of the playoff picture at that point.

Fast forward two months, and the Rangers are in a battle with the London Knights for the top spot in the Midwest Division with the Knights also among the hot teams in the OHL having won nine of 10.

Overage forward Liam Hawel has been a big part of the Rangers’ success, especially of late.

The veteran forward, acquired from the Guelph Storm in September, has 12 goals and 47 points in 37 games, but it’s the last month in which the 20-year-old has really turned it up offensively.

In his last 11 games, Hawel has four goals and 20 points.

Veteran goaltender Jacob Ingham, a prospect of the Los Angeles Kings, has been solid as well for the Rangers, posting a 22-4-4-1 record in 31 games.

The 19-year-old hasn’t lost a game in regulation in over a month, a span of 11 starts.

In the Western Hockey League, it’s the Portland Winterhawks who have been on a tear.

Leading the U.S. Division, the Winterhawks haven’t lost in regulation since dropping a 4-1 decision to the Kamloops Blazers in Kamloops on Nov. 30, a run of 21 games.

With a 19-0-1-1 record in that stretch, the Winterhawks hold a nine-point lead on the Everett Silvertips in the division.

To say Seth Jarvis has been hot for the Winterhawks would be a massive understatement.

In his last nine games, the 17-year-old has 11 goals and 28 points.

That includes a pair of five-point performances along with a four-point night over the weekend against Seattle for the draft-eligible forward.

In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, it’s a pair of import forwards who have been on a tear of late.

Cape Breton Eagles forward Egor Sokolov has 27 points in his last 12 games. What’s even more impressive is that it includes 16 goals.

The 19-year-old winger has been scoring at just under a goal-per-game clip this season in Cape Breton and has continued his upward trend offensively.

Moncton Wildcats centre Alexander Khovanov, a prospect of the Minnesota Wild, has six goals and 26 points in his last 12 games.

Just how good has the 2019-20 season been for the Russian forward?

In 64 games last season, Khovanov set career-highs with 25 goals and 49 assists for a total of 74 points.

In just 31 games this season, the third-year veteran has 22 goals and 41 assists for 63 points. Pretty impressive totals considering the number of games still left to play this season.


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