Sunaya Sapurji

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Sunaya Sapurji is the junior hockey columnist for Yahoo! Sports Canada. Sunaya previously worked at the Toronto Star for 10 years as a copy editor and writer covering the Ontario Hockey League.

  • Chat live with our junior hockey experts

    The road to Brandon goes through Windsor, Ont. as the Spitfires become the first league champion to join the host Wheat Kings for the MasterCard Memorial Cup. The Spitfires head to the tournament after sweeping the Barrie Colts on Tuesday night for the second consecutive Ontario Hockey League title. The Calgary Hitmen are hoping to be the next to join the Spitfires by claiming their first Memorial Cup ticket since 1999.

    Yahoo! Sports will be at the tournament along with our guest on this week’s CHL live chat, Sportsnet’s junior hockey analyst Sam Cosentino.

    Join Sam and Yahoo! Jr. Hockey Editor Sunaya Sapurji and Buzzing the Net blogger Neate Sager on Thursday, May 6 at 1p.m. (EST) right here, where we’ll talk a little puck about the Spitfires sweep, OHL firings and hirings, the WHL final, and the QMJHL final between Moncton and Saint John.

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  • Spitfires defenceman Cundari delivers big D

    BARRIE, ONT. - Mark Cundari is quickly turning into the Barrie Colts’ worst nightmare.

    The Windsor Spitfires’ diminutive defenceman has established himself as a force in the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, having put a lid on some of the top offensive threats in the Western Conference. When Spitfires coach Bob Boughner needed the league’s top scorer, Tyler Seguin, shut down in their second-round series against the Plymouth Whalers, he called on Cundari. And when Windsor had to find a way to stop Kitchener Rangers forward Jeff Skinner, the OHL’s top goal scorer, in the Western Conference final the blueliner answered that call, too.

    “He’s a warrior,” Boughner said after Windsor’s 5-4 victory over the Colts in front of a sellout crowd of 4,312 at the Barrie Molson Centre on Thursday night. “Last year he was our No. 1 defenceman at the MasterCard Memorial Cup as an 18-year-old. Shutting down guys is something he has learned to do, coming into the league I think he wanted to be an offensive

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  • Seguin named OHL's most outstanding player

    Unlike the OHL scoring title, winning the Red Tilson Trophy as the OHL’s most outstanding player is one award Plymouth Whaler centre Tyler Seguin will not have to share.

    The 18-year-old from Brampton, Ont., accepted the award Wednesday afternoon at the Hockey Hall of Fame in downtown Toronto.

    “I’m very proud and humbled to be accepting this award today as it is a very exciting day for my family and I,” said Seguin reading his prepared speech.

    Seguin beat out fellow finalists Taylor Hall of the Windsor Spitfires and Nazem Kadri of the London Knights in the regular-season voting which is conducted by OHL sports writers and broadcast media. Seguin and Hall are the runaway favourites to be taken with the first two picks in June’s NHL entry draft. The Edmonton Oilers own the first pick, followed by the Boston Bruins, who collected the selection in the Phil Kessel trade with the Toronto Maple Leafs last September.

    “It was definitely a good season,” said Seguin. “I definitely had some goals

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  • Hall's overtime goal caps another Spitfires comeback

    BARRIE, ONT. – Taylor Hall likes his macaroni and cheese, even when it’s frozen.

    It was his overtime goal – 2:35 into the extra frame – that gave the Windsor Spitfires a 4-3 victory over the host Barrie Colts in Game 1 of the OHL championship series and sent boxes of no-name brand pasta and cheese raining down onto the ice.

    “I don’t know why all those people were throwing away some good food,” Hall said. “I was kind of tempted to take a couple boxes for myself and eat them at my billet house.”

    The Colts gave the boxes to their 4,296 fans as noisemakers to be donated at the end of the game to a local food bank. But once Barrie defenceman Chris Wiggin took a hooking penalty just over two minutes into overtime, the Mac started looking more like a missile. Hall got the puck at the top of the faceoff circle, thanks to a nice pass from defencemen Ryan Ellis, and fired a rocket that beat Barrie goalie Mavric Parks.

    “I knew their guys were forcing [Ellis] and I could get into a soft spot,”

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  • Barrie putting squeeze on Spitfires coaches?

    The gamesmanship might have started long before Game 1 of the Ontario Hockey League final on Tuesday night.

    In a move right out of Mariah Carey’s diva handbook, the Windsor Spitfires complained that the coaches’ room offered to them by the Barrie Colts at the Molson Centre was far too small for their staff.

    They were then given a larger change room that had been used as a walk-through for the media from the concourse to the press room. At one point, Toronto Maple Leafs GM Brian Burke tried to exit through door clearly marked “media” but was thwarted by a trashcan strategically placed behind the door to keep the sanctity of the Spitfires’ room. Reporters and staff were diverted to the hallway just outside the Windsor dressing room, to which the Spitfires had no objections.

    Problems with the Barrie Molson Centre continued to plague the Spitfires, when their video feed in the press box used to record the game only picked up a channel showing cartoons. Spitfires assistant coach D.J. Smith

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  • Race to Brandon reaches stretch run

    To steal a line from 80s hair band, Europe: It’s the Final Countdown.

    It’s fitting too, because the song can still be heard at junior hockey rinks across the Canadian Hockey League and might even be played at one of the three league finals that begin this week.

    So what better time than now to talk a little junior puck, in Yahoo! Sports’ inaugural, all-encompassing CHL chat?

    In the Ontario Hockey League, the CHL’s top-ranked Barrie Colts are facing off against the defending OHL and Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires. The Spitfires, along with top NHL prospect Taylor Hall, are the No. 3-ranked team in the country.

    In the Western Hockey League, there’s another battle between the two best teams in the league with the Eastern Conference champion Calgary Hitmen taking on the best team from the Western Conference, the Tri-City Americans.

    In the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, you’ve got an old-school geographic rivalry pitting two teams from New Brunswick against each other with the

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  • Colts down Majors to reach OHL final

    BARRIE, ONT. --- The Barrie Colts showed yet again why they’re the No. 1 ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League on Wednesday night by beating the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 4-2.

    The victory earned the Colts the Bobby Orr Trophy as the Eastern Conference champions and a berth in the OHL championship.

    “Full marks to Barrie, they’re a real good hockey club with lots of depth,” said Majors head coach and GM Dave Cameron. “Hats off to them. The difference in the series was that we weren’t able to establish our forecheck, I thought their [defence] was very mobile, very agile.”

    Captain Stefan Della Rovere led the charge with two goals to oust the Majors in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference final 4-1. Alex Hutchings and Luke Pither also scored for the Colts, while goaltender Mavric Parks made 20 saves for his seventh win of the playoffs.

    “[Della Rovere’]) just stepped up and has just been a force down low in the corners and he gave their defence some tough times,” said Colts head

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  • Colts’ Cameron belts out goals

    According to teammate Luke Pither, Barrie Colts forward Bryan Cameron is a terrible singer.

    “Yeah, that’s true,” admits the 21-year-old forward. “(Pither’s) really good on the guitar, so we kind of had some fun with it.”

    The pair formed both their pseudo-band and their friendship playing together with the Belleville Bulls last season. They were reunited in Barrie thanks to separate trades in the summer which brought the highly talented duo to the Colts.

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    “Bryan Cameron and Luke Pither are two special players and they work so well together,” says Colts teammate Alex Hutchings. “To have two of the best guys in the OHL on the same team is huge.”

    Regardless of his vocals, Cameron—the Ontario Hockey League’s overage player of the year— continues to make noise in the post-season. He scored the opening goal on Monday night to help the Colts beat the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 3-1 and take a similar 3-1 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference final. The Colts can put

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  • Rangers look for sweep

    If you had told head coach and GM Steve Spott a month ago that his Kitchener Rangers would have the defending OHL and Memorial Cup champion Windsor Spitfires on the brink of elimination, he says he would have smiled.

    “I wouldn’t have believed you,” said the coach. “We’re doing something right now that was certainly unexpected, but saying that, I’m not going to apologize for it because of the way we have played in the playoffs this year.”

    But the Rangers have stunned everyone in the OHL by jumping to a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Western Conference final over the heavily favoured Spitfires. The Rangers, who last won an OHL championship in 2008, can sweep the Spitfires out of the playoffs with a win in Game 4 of the series on Tuesday night at home.

    “The whole focus for our guys is our game and not to get derailed from playing our game,” said Spott. “We play an up-tempo game, I think we defend well in our own end and we’re disciplined… they understand that if they stay focused and not

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  • Letowski expected to be named Sting assistant coach

    Fans of the Sarnia Sting will see a familiar face behind the bench this season as Yahoo! Sports has learned former NHLer Trevor Letowski will be named assistant coach at a press conference Thursday.

    According to OHL sources, Letowski, who spent the last two seasons playing for Barys Astana in the Continental Hockey League, will join the staff of head coach and GM Dave MacQueen for the 2010-11 season.

    MacQueen refused to comment or confirm Letowski’s hiring, but says he’s confident he found the best fit for his club.

    “We probably had a solid 20 to 25 résumés and then just word of mouth people expressing interest, so sifting through the résumés we had a lot of very qualified individuals,” MacQueen said. “But we identified this individual early in the process as he contacted us and once that took place it was just a matter of sitting down [and meeting].”

    Letowski replaces former assistant Greg Walters, who left the Sting in March after eight seasons to move his family closer to the

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