by Dwayne Williams
Guelph at Kitchener
The Guelph squad has dropped 2 games since losing to the Rangers on Sunday January 29 by a score of 5-3. In that game the Storm fell behind and could not catch up despite outshooting the Rangers 13-5 and outscoring them 2-1 in the 3rd period. Tanner Richard with 1 goal and 1 assist (2 of his 11 goals this season have been on the powerplay). Francis Menard had 1 assist (3 assists in the last 3 games) and had a game low -3 rating. Zack Mitchell scored 1 goal in 5 straight games – until the last game where he had 2 assists and no goals – he is #20 in the OHL in scoring. The Storm are fighting for the last playoff spot – tied with Sault Ste Marie with 47 points – their record is 21-22-2-3.
Tobias Rieder is the top scorer for the Rangers - #24 in the league with 29 goals and 25 assists. He has scored in each of the last 9 games (7 goals and 10 assists). John Gibson is scheduled to have his tonsils and adenoids removed on Wednesday (in Pennsylvania) so Franky Palazzese will be the goalie of choice for the foreseeable future. He has a 16-8 record with 2.87 GAA and a .927 save % - and was tagged with the last 2 losses for the Rangers. In their recent loss to Saginaw (4-1) the Rangers gave up 51 total shots. In their home loss before that (6-3 to the Bulls) they gave up 49 shots as well as 4 third period goals. Before these 2 losses, Kitchener had won 3 in a row including victories over London, Owen Sound and Guelph. The Rangers are comfortably in 3rd place in the Western Conference with a record of 33-15-1-0 and 67 points.
My prediction Guelph 4 Kitchener 2
Oshawa at Peterborough
Oshawa continues to cling to a playoff spot at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings – 1 point ahead of Mississauga and 2 points ahead of the nosediving Bulls. Peterobough stands only 1 point ahead. On Sunday the Generals gave up the early lead but fought back to eventually lead 2-1 before finishing the game with a 4-2 victory. Scott Laughton with a strong game (1 goal unassisted as well as another assist) and first star honors. On Friday a last minute powerplay goal added to the Generals total, but it was not enough as they dropped a 3-2 decision to the Eastern Conference leaders from Ottawa. The Generals did not help their cause by going 1 for 7 on the powerplay.
Peterborough has 4 victories and 6 losses in their last 10 games – they are in 6th place in the Eastern Conference only 1 point ahead of the Generals. On Saturday they were outscored at home 8-4 by a solid Sudbury team. Sudbury was 2/3 on the powerplay and the Petes were 3/7. Alan Quine had 2 goals and 1 assist earning 2nd star honours. Yogan and Fitze with the other markers. In Friday’s victory at Kingston (4-2) the difference was the two 3rd period goals. 19 seconds apart Martschini and Quine put the puck behind Riley.
The last time these teams met- on Sunday January 29 – Oshawa scored 5 straight goals to cruise to a 5-2 victory. Shots on net were close at 36-32 in favour of the home Generals. Laughton had a strong game with 2 goals and a +1 rating – Emerson Clark with 2 goals and a +2 rating and 5 PIM – Christian Thomas with 1 goal, 2 assists and a +2 rating. Quine would score his 20th goal of the season and Pierog would notch his 6th career goal.
My prediction Oshawa 4 Peterborough 3 (OT)