City na­tive aim­ing for OHL ti­tle in Ot­tawa

The Peterborough Examiner - - Sports - MIKE DAVIES Ex­am­iner Sports Di­rec­tor Mike.Davies @pe­ter­bor­ough­daily.com

What’s good for the Ot­tawa 67’s is good for Will Cran­ley, says the rookie OHL goalie.

The Peter­bor­ough na­tive has served as the back-up goalie on the OHL’s first place club. Ear­lier this week he was bumped to third-string when the 67’s ac­quired po­ten­tial na­tional ju­nior team goalie Michael DiPi­etro from the Wind­sor Spit­fires.

As well, on Wed­nes­day Cran­ley was named the OHL East Di­vi­sion Aca­demic Player-of-theMonth for Novem­ber.

As Ot­tawa’s se­cond-round draft pick in April he’s clearly a part of the club’s fu­ture but his im­me­di­ate fu­ture was thrown into doubt by the trade. Cedric An­dree played the bulk of games prior to DiPi­etro’s ac­qui­si­tion.

“We’re still try­ing to sort things out on my end,” said Cran­ley. “I’m not sure what is hap­pen­ing, yet.”

Cran­ley leads the league in min­utes played by a 16-year-old goal­tender. He’s played to a 3-12-0 record with a 3.32 goal­sagainst av­er­age and .883 save per­cent­age over seven games.

The 67’s in­ter­est in DiPi­etro has been ru­moured for a while so it wasn’t a com­plete sur­prise.

“I knew it might be the best thing for the team,” said Cran­ley. “Our team is ob­vi­ously do­ing pretty well in the CHL and we’re 100 per cent in to go­ing out to win a cham­pi­onship here. Our staff and ev­ery­one is push­ing for it. It’s a great pick-up for our team. He’s a world class goalie and is go­ing to the world ju­niors (se­lec­tion camp). We have two of the best goalies in the league right now. It’s great for the team.”

Now that the DiPi­etro deal is done, 67’s gen­eral man­ager James Boyd said his big­gest fo­cus is on try­ing to set­tle Cran­ley’s sit­u­a­tion. If DiPi­etro were to make Team Canada he’d be away from the 67’s for more than a month so Cran­ley would be needed in Ot­tawa. Find­ing an op­por­tu­nity for Cran­ley to get into games at a ju­nior A or B level is not easy at this time of year and teams are lim­ited on how many 16-year-olds they can carry, said Boyd. “He’s re­ally ben­e­fit­ted from prac­tis­ing with our team and our goalie coaches are fan­tas­tic ... I have to take some time and sit down with them and get their in­put about what the best move is here. No doubt, he’s a pri­or­ity for us.”

It’s only go­ing to ben­e­fit Cran­ley to play at a lower level if he can be the start­ing goalie, said Boyd. “We want Will to play.’

It’s also im­por­tant to fac­tor in how it af­fects his school­ing, said Boyd. Cran­ley earned the aca­demic award for hold­ing an 88 per cent av­er­age in Grade 11 uni­ver­sity level cour­ses at Blyth Academy in Ot­tawa. Cran­ley is study­ing bi­ol­ogy, chem­istry and math­e­mat­ics.

“Will is viewed by his teach­ers as a ded­i­cated stu­dent who is able to bal­ance the de­mands of hockey and ed­u­ca­tion with his per­se­ver­ance, re­spect­ful be­hav­iour and pos­i­tive out­look,” stated 67’s aca­demic ad­vi­sor Eileen Duf­fin, in an OHL press re­lease.

“It’s an hon­our,” said Cran­ley. “It’s hard to bal­ance hockey and school, for sure, but Blyth Academy make it pos­si­ble and re­ally help their ath­letes get good grades.”

Cran­ley rep­re­sented Team Canada Red at the 2018 World Un­der-17 Hockey Chal­lenge.

AARON BELL OHL IM­AGES

Then-Peter­bor­ough Mi­nor Mid­get AAA Petes goalie Will Cran­ley makes a save dur­ing the OHL Cup Show­case in Toronto in June.

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