Note: The Plymouth Whalers defeated the Kitchener Rangers, 2-0, on Sunday to tie the best-of-seven second-round OHL playoff series at one game apiece. A full recap will come Monday.
The Plymouth Whalers went offense and then defense with their first two selections in today's Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection. Follow the Plymouth selections here.
Plymouth Whalers General Manager and Head Coach Mike Vellucci announced the selection of left wing Zach Bratina of the Central Ontario Wolves with the Whalers' first round pick (19th overall) in today's Ontario Hockey League Priority Selection.
Bratina scored 22 goals with 21 assists for 43 points and 60 PIM's in 30 games for the Wolves this season.
“Zach’s a very smart hockey player. The puck really follows him around the ice," said Darrell Woodley Director of Central Scouting for the OHL. "He has good vision and the ability to score, coming out of the corners or in tight around the net.”
Audio - The selection of Bratina is discussed on the OHL Priority Selection Show, hosted by Terry Doyle, with Jeff Twohey and Tim Cherry.
Click here to meet Zach Bratina in a video, who was named "The One" after scoring the highest SPARQ rating of combines from Ontario last summer. Video courtesy of Steve Dangle.
Plymouth then selected a member of their extended famiy in the second round (33rd) overall, when they chose 6-foot-4 defenseman Alex Peters from the Huron Perth Lakers minor midgets. Peters - from Blythe, ON - is the younger brother of Whalers alum and goaltender Justin Peters, who played with the Whalers in 2005-06 and is now in the Carolina Hurricanes' system.
Peters scored 15 goals and 14 assists for 29 points and 30 PIM's in 58 games this season for the Lakers.
"I watched Peters all season long," said Plymouth scout Rick Boyle. "He got better and better as the year went on."
With a full roster anticipated to return for 2012-13, Plymouth spent the rest of the draft stockpiling talent.
With their fourth round pick, the Whalers went with another player they know, taking high scoring forward Sonny Milano. Milano - who played this season with the Cleveland Barons U-16's - scored 63 goals and 57 points for 120 points in 64 games. Plymouth Director of Scouting Don Harkins is an assistant coach with the team.
Milano is committed to playing for the National Team Developmental Program U-17's next season.
The Whalers stayed on the same path with their next selection in the fifth round (101st overall), taking defenseman Josh Wesley from the Carolina Hurricanes U-16 program. Wesley is the son of Carolina Hurricanes Director of Defensive Development Glen Wesley. Like Milano, Wesley has committed to play for the National Team Developmental Program's U-17 team.
Plymouth selected its first goaltender of the draft in the sixth round (123rd overall), selecting Belle Tire midget minor Alex Nedeljkovic, who posted a 1.88 goals against average and .903 save percentage in 18 games.
The Whalers made the first choice in the seventh round and selected defenseman Mathieu Henderson from the Brantford 99s, who scored 18 goals with 24 assists for 42 points in 46 games. Plymouth then took right wing Liam Grande from the Whitby Wildcats with their second pick in the seventh round. Grande scored 20 goals with 21 assists for 41 points in 27 games this season.
In one of their eighth round picks, Plymouth selected offensive defenseman Dan Willett from the New Jersey Rockets of the Atlantic Metro Junior Hockey League, who scored 23 goals and 38 assists for 61 points in 68 games. Willett may be commited to the college route, but that didn't stop the Whalers from selecting him anyway.