Happy Trails on this snowy night!
Belleville at Kingston *** this game has been canceled **
The Bulls are 4 points behind the Barrie Colts, who lead the Eastern Conference. They are 2 points ahead of the Oshawa Generals. They have had their way recently with the Frontenacs, winning twice in the past two weeks by identical 8-2 scores, first in Kingston then in Belleville. Former Frontenac Alan Quine has been "on fire" against his former team. He tallied 5 points in the first game and 6 in the second game.
Nothing is going right for the Frontenacs. They have lost 12 straight games and are in danger of dropping out of the Eastern Conference playoff race. They currently have a 4 point lead on the Petes, for 8th place. Frontenacs' leading point getter, Darcy Greenaway managed Kingston's only goal in their 4-1 loss in Mississauga on Wednesday night. They were outshot 37-17 in the game.
Just today, it was announced that Bulls' defenseman Jake Cardwell was suspended for 10 games by the OHL for an incident in Belleville's 8-2 loss on Sunday afternoon, in Oshawa. Bulls' veteran defenseman Adam Bignell, is expected to return to the lineup for tonight's game, after missing the last 5 recovering from a puck to the face on January 23rd.
My prediction Belleville 5 at Kingston 3
Barrie at Plymouth
The Colts are thrilled to have their top gun Mark Scheifele back from his NHL experience. Hopefully he will be able to shake off the demotion and push the team along as they prepare for the playoffs. Barrie has a 4 point lead over the Belleville Bulls for top spot in the East as the weekend begins – Oshawa is six points behind the Colts. Barrie will be well rested as they were last in action last Friday night in Kingston where they squeaked by the woeful Fronts 3-2.
Plymouth is battling in the middle of the Western Conference for playoff positioning. They start the weekend in slot #6 with the same amount of points as the Sarnia Sting but have played 2 fewer games. The Guelph Storm are only 2 points ahead. After this game, the schedule doesn’t get any lighter as the Owen Sound Attack will visit on Saturday night – and then they will zip over to Brampton for a Sunday afternoon match.
My prediction Barrie 4 Plymouth 5 (OT)
Saginaw at Sarnia
Eric Locke continues his strong season with 15 points in his last 7 games (#7 in league scoring). The Spirit start the weekend clinging to the last playoff spot with a meager 3 point lead over the surging Windsor Spitfires. They have collected points in 8 of their last 10 games. They will host Barrie to complete their weekend schedule.
The Sting start the weekend tied with the Plymouth Whalers but are in the #7 slot since they have 2 games in hand. They are coming off an emotional victory over the top ranked Knights on Thursday night. The Sting actually had a 3-2 lead for 4 minutes late in the third period before Maatta tied the game to send it to overtime. Anthony DeAngelo scored in the extra frame to go with his earlier assist capped off with +3 rating for the game. Nikolay Goldobin continues his fine rookie campaign with a goal, 2 assists and a +3 rating. Charles Sarault is #3 in league scoring (59 assists) and Reid Boucher is #6 in league scoring (45 goals).
My prediction Saginaw 2 Sarnia 6
Guelph at Kitchener
This is a rematch of Wednesday night’s tilt. Kitchener was able to ward off the Storm by a 5-2 score. In that game Frank Corrado had 2 assists and Matia Marcantuoni had a goal and an assist for the Rangers. Auger and Kosmachuk scored for the Storm who now trail the Rangers by 5 points in the ever-tightening Western Conference. Guelph is a mere 2 points ahead of Plymouth and Sarnia in the standings.
After this game the Rangers will host London on Sunday afternoon. The Storm won’t play again until Wednesday when they start another home / home series with the Owen Sound Attack.
My prediction Guelph 4 Kitchener 2
Owen Sound at London
The Owen Sound Attack are tied with the Kitchener Rangers in the standings but have played one fewer game. They have won 7 of their last 10 games and continue to lead the league in penalty minutes (+128 over the Spits). Daniel Catenacci (#11 in league scoring) has now played 250 games and is 3 goals away from 100 in his OHL career.
London continues to cruise along in the top spot in the Western Conference and the OHL with an almost insurmountable 14 point lead over the Attack. They have won their last 3 games as they shake off a rough losing patch earlier this month. Seth Griffith (#2 in league scoring) has played in 205 career games and eclipsed the 100 goal mark Jan 27 vs. Kingston.
My prediction Owen Sound 2 at London 3 (OT)
Niagara at Mississauga
The Dogs are looking to make back a little bit of lost ground this weekend with only 2 contests scheduled. They last played the Steelheads last Saturday night in Niagara. In that game the Dogs would score twice in the second and third periods to coast towards a 4-1 victory. The Steelheads only mustered 18 shots on goal for the game . Brett Ritchie (58 points in 39 games) and Ryan Strome (72 pts in 40 games) have sparked the team offensively since their return from NHL mini-camps, but secondary scoring remains a challenge for this team. Stephen Shipley has 11 powerplay goals and 24 goals total in his overage season. They will host the Oshawa Generals tomorrow night.
The Steelheads are coasting near the bottom of the standings with 50 points –still 5 ahead of the Fronts who are in the final playoff slot. They have won 3 of their last 10 games – their last win was a 4-1 victory of the slumping Kingston Frontenacs. Riley Brace notched 3 assists – goal scorers were Kontos (2), DeMelo and Smoskowitz.
My prediction Niagara 4 Missisauga 2
Windsor at Ottawa *** this game has been delayed until Saturday night *** preview still stands though!
Winners of 6 of their last 10 games, the Windsor Spitfires have crept to within 3 points of the 8th place Saginaw Spirit. Last night the Spits did the Frontenacs a favour by cooling off the Petes, 9-4 in Peterborough. Kerby Rychel has been a different player since the return of Alexander Khokhlachev. Rychel had a goal and 5 assists last night, and Koko had a hat trick. Alex Aleardi had 5 assists as well. Windsor went 4 for 6 on their powerplay. Sam Studnicka and Ryan Verbeek remain suspended, and defenseman, Patrick Sieloff didn't make the Eastern swing, due to a groin injury.
The Ottawa 67s are looking forward to next season. They continue to sit last in the OHL standings. They were humbled on home ice, 10-6 by the Petes on Wednesday night. Both Ottawa goalies looked shaky, as the Petes fired 52 shots on goal, including 27 shots in the 1st. The 67s only managed 7 shots in the 1st. Sean Monahan scored twice for Ottawa in the loss, and remains the leader of the team in all offensive categories. He has 56 points in the 42 games he has played and is 19th in the OHL. He is consistently ranked in the top 10 in most 2013 NHL draft lists, and is expected to be an impact player in the NHL one day.
My prediction Windsor 6 at Ottawa 4
Erie at Oshawa
The Erie Otters have lost 7 straight, and have won only once in their last 10. They will finish last in the Western Conference for the 2nd straight season, and are 6 points ahead of the 67s. Connor Brown is having an excellent season for the Otters. The Leafs' draft pick has 62 points, to lead the Otters in 52 games played. He has improved his +/- rating from a minus -76 last season to a -4 so far this year. Underaged rookie, Connor McDavid, is second on the team with 21 goals and 30 assists for Erie. The Newmarket, Ontario product has had an excellent season for Erie, especially when you consider that he turned 16 less than a month ago. The Otters have struggled to score this season (158 goals for, for 18th in the OHL) and keeping the puck out of their own net (221 goals against, for 19th in the OHL). Erie were throttled by the Rangers, in Kitchener, 11-4 on Sunday afternoon.
The Oshawa Generals are starting to put it all together at the right time. Buoyed by the return of Lucas Lessio from injury, and NHL returnees Boone Jenner, and Scott Laughton, the Gens seem poised to make a run at the Eastern Conference title. They are 3rd in the Conference, 2 points behind Belleville, and 6 back of Barrie. The Generals chased Malcolm Subban from the Bulls net, in their last game and humbled the Bulls, 8-2. Lessio scored twice, and had an assist. Laughton scored and had two assists.
The Otters beat the Gens 6-1 in their only other meeting this season, in Erie. Columbus goaltending prospect, Oscar Dansk was outstanding, turning aside 50 Oshawa shots. Devin Williams has started the last 8 games for the Otters but has only recorded one win and one shutout loss in that stretch.
Despite all of the snow accumulating, the Gens' website has announced that the game will go on this evening in Oshawa.
My prediction Erie 3 at Oshawa 6
Brampton at Sudbury
The Battalion were run out of the rink last night as they hosted the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. A goal by Francis Menard just 35 seconds into the game was the extent of the scoring for the home side as the Greyhounds would push back for 2 goals in the remainder of the first period and 3 more in the third period. The Battalion’s powerplay was a pathetic 0 / 5. Goalie Matchovsky was 5 wins in his last 8 starts and has 49 career wins. Brampton is in fifth place in the Eastern Conference just 1 point behind the Sudbury Wolves.
The Wolves are in fourth in the conference and trail Oshawa by 4 points for the #3 slot. The Wolves last action was on Sunday against the Battalion. The Wolves would fall behind 4-0 before Kubalik would score at the 12:02 mark of the third period to give the final tally 4-1 for the Battalion. The powerplay was 0/6. They will host the Steelheads tomorrow night to conclude their weekend schedule.
My prediction Brampton 3 Sudbury 5