OHL Game Day Preview for January 9th, 2013
Pictured is Charles Sarault of the Sarnia Sting. He scored 3 goals and 5 assists in the past 4 games and has climbed up to second overall in the league-wide scoring race with 63 points.
Owen Sound at Erie
The Attack made a few trades this past week to shore up their offense. They have added Cody Ceci on the blueline as well as Steven Janes – both from the Ottawa 67’s. Import pick Garvus has also chosen to return to North America and will be a welcome addition. Jordan Binnington returns from his WJHC participation but will probably not start tonight.
Owen Sound has lost their last four games – last weekend they fell behind 3-0 at Plymouth on Friday and were not able to complete the comeback eventually dropping that game 4-3. Kyle Hope had 2 goals and Cameron Brace added 2 assists in the game. Saturday’s game at Saginaw was an embarrassing 6-2 loss. Goaltender Hope was replaced early in the second period after the Spirit built up a 4-0 lead. Smith and Cutting were the goal scorers on this night. The Attack are in third place in the Western Conference with 53 points this season. They check in at #6 in the CHL rankings this week despite their recent performance.
Erie is in last place in the Western Conference but they have been playing better hockey lately. Their last action was on Saturday night where they would lose in a shootout to the hot Sarnia Sting 5-4. The game before was a 23 shot shutout vs. the visiting Barrie Colts. Goaltender Devin Williams has a record of 5-3-1-1 in recent action while Oscar Dansk was away at the WJHC.
Connor MacDavid will be back in the lineup and will give the team a lift. Dane Fox’s return has helped the offence as well – he has 10 points in 11 games played since December 7. Connor Brown leads the team with 20 goals and 28 assists. He has a league leading 12 power play goals.
My prediction Owen Sound 5 Erie 2
Oshawa at Ottawa
The Oshawa Generals (22-15-1-2) should have Boone Jenner and Tyler Biggs back in their lineup, fresh off of their WJC participation in Russia. It is unclear at this time if one or both of these players will be going to NHL training camps starting as early as this Saturday, making the Gens immediate future unclear.
The Generals are 2nd in the East Division, and 3rd in the Eastern Conference. Daniel Altshuller has been very good in goal. Scott Laughton is right behind Biggs, with 32 points in his 30 games. Rookie, Michael Dal Colle is in 4th in team scoring with 27 points.
Ottawa 67s' fans will need a program to figure out who is playing for them tonight. The "rebuild" is officially on in the Nation's Capital, as the 67s sit dead last in the 20 team OHL. Tyler Graovac, who led the team with 21 goals, was traded to the Bulls for Russian Sergey Kuptsov. Defenseman, Cody Ceci and forward, Steven Janes were dealt to the Owen Sound Attack for defenseman Jacob Middleton, and forward, Joseph Blandisi. Middleton was Owen Sound's first pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection, and has a bright future in Ottawa. Remy Giftopolous was traded to the Windsor Spitfires for a pair of draft picks.
The 67s may get a boost from the new players in town, but not enough to compete with Oshawa on this night.
My prediction Oshawa 4 at Ottawa 3
Sarnia at Sault Ste Marie
The Sting have won their last 4 games and have a comfortable divisional lead over the Plymouth Whalers. Their record of 24-13-0-3 puts them 5 points ahead at this point. They have the fourth most points of any team in the OHL so far this season. Their last action was a shootout victory at Niagara 2-1. In the last 4 games, rookie Nikolay Goldobin recorded 7 goals and 4 assists – Reid Boucher had 3 goals and 5 assists and Charles Sarault notched 3 goals and 5 assists.
Goaltending remains a big question mark at this point. In their last game the combined OHL experience of their tenders was 2 career appearances. After this game the Sting will visit Kitchener on Friday night and then host the 67’s on Saturday night.
The Greyhounds have pulled themselves out of the basement of the conference and are getting themselves well positioned for a playoff run. They are in seventh place now with 43 points – trailing Plymouth by only 3 points. Saginaw is four points behind in the last playoff spot. They have won 6 of their past 10 games which is third best in the conference. Last weekend they would record a win, a loss and a shootout loss in their Eastern Ontario road trip.
My prediction Sarnia 6 Sault Ste Marie 4
Plymouth at Saginaw
The Whalers are in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference with a record of 19-12-5-3 this season. The sit in the #6 spot just one point behind the Guelph Storm and 3 points behind the resurging Kitchener Rangers. Recently acquired Zach Lorentz may not provide the sparkplug that they need, but is a good addition for next season. Plymouth is on a bit of a tear with 4 consecutive wins including important victories over Owen Sound and Guelph twice. In their last 4 games, Garrett Meurs has 3 goals and 3 assists, Matthew Mistele notched 3 goals and an assist and Tom Wilson collected 2 goals and 3 assists.
Saginaw continues to struggle near the bottom of the standings with only 17 wins in 41 games. They sit in the #8 spot with 39 points – only 5 ahead of the revamping Windsor Spitfires and seven ahead of last place Erie. They have won their last 2 games though and look to continue on that momentum.
The Spirit continue their homestand with games against the last place Erie Otters on Friday night followed up by hosting the #1 London Knights on Saturday night. Plymouth hosts Brampton Friday night and then the Erie Otters on Saturday night. Interesting that Plymouth has 618 team PIM heading into this game and Saginaw has 619 PIM.
My prediction Plymouth 5 Saginaw 1