Niagara at Erie

  Last night in St. Catharines the Icedogs were outplayed (but not outshot – 32 to 25 for Niagara) and lost the game 4-1.  Ryan Strome was the lone goal scorer (68 points this season matches his total points last season, but has played 8 fewer games this year).  The Dogs continue their landslide of 8 straight losses as they land in the #6 spot in the conference 2 points ahead of Mississauga.

  Connor McDavid continues to lead all rookies with 20 goals and 50 points – he is second on the team in scoring behind Connor Brown. He has 59 points in 49 games this season.  Pelech continues his suspension and is unavailable for this game.  The Otters have been marginally better than Niagara lately with 2 wins in their last 10 games and a winless streak of only 4 games.

  My prediction Niagara 3 Erie 2

Barrie at Kingston

Both the Colts and the Frontenacs are looking over their shoulders. Barrie is in 1st place in the Eastern Conference by 4 points on the Bulls, who hold two games in hand. The Frontenacs - losers of 9 straight games - are now just 7 points ahead of the Petes, who are 9th. Peterborough won 7-5 in Windsor last night.

The Colts lost 4-1 Wednesday night in Owen Sound, in a wide-opened, end to end game. Jordan Binnington (1st), and Mathias Niederberger (3rd) were both stars in the game. Erik Bradford scored Barrie's only goal.

Cody Alcock scored the game winner on Sept 21st in a 3-1 Fronts' win at K-Rock. On Dec 8th, the Colts beat Kingston 6-2 in Barrie. This marks the 3rd of 4 meetings on the year between these Eastern Conference rivals.

My prediction  Barrie  4  at  Kingston 3

Sault Ste Marie at Plymouth

The Greyhounds are in seventh place in the Western Conference but only trail Plymouth by 3 points for the divisional lead (and trail Sarnia by 1 point for 2nd in the division). They have recorded points in their last 4 games and gathered wins in 6 of their last 10 games. Plymouth has the same 4 game points streak going and is slightly better than Sault Ste Marie with 7 wins in their last 10 games.

Nick Cousins is the Greyhounds top scorer with 76 points in 49 games played this season. Ryan Sproul has 8 powerplay goals – Tolchinsky and Miller each have 6 powerplay markers.  Plymouth’s top gun is newly acquired Vincent Trocheck who has 66 points in 43 games this season. His 8 games with the Whalers have netted him 16 points.  Garrett Meurs has 10 powerplay goals for the team.  He has scored in 10 of the team’s 12 games in January.   Tom Wilson will be available to play in tomorrow’s game for the Whalers.

 My prediction Sault Ste Marie 3 Plymouth 4 (OT)

Peterborough at Saginaw

The Petes are closing fast on the 8th place Frontenacs. They won in Windsor last night, 7-5, pulling away from the Spits after a 5-5 tie began the 3rd period. It wasn't pretty but rookie goaltender, Michael Giugovaz gutted out his 8th win of the season. Nick Ritchie tallied 3 assists and first star honours on the road. Former Spit Michael Clarke, led the Petes with two goals.

The Petes did Saginaw a favour last night by beating the Spits. The Spirit sit 8th in the Western Conference, 6 points ahead of Windsor. Saginaw is hot right now, winning their last 3 games, and 9 of their last 10. Jimmy Lodge, and Eric Locke each had a goal and 2 assists in Saginaw's victory in St Catharines, over the Ice Dogs on Saturday night in their most recent game. On Oct 27th, Russian rookie goalie, Nikita Serebryakov stopped 47 shots for Saginaw in Peterborough in the Petes' 3-1 victory over the Spirit.

My prediction  Peterborough 2  at  Saginaw 4

Windsor at Guelph

The Spits continue to be ‘on the outside looking in’ as they are 6 points behind the surging Saginaw Spirit for the last playoff slot. The Spits dropped their last 2 games but had a good run going with 6 wins in their past 10 games. They will be without Sanvido and Verbeek who were involved in the ‘dust up’ in Sudbury last weekend.

The Storm have been clipping along as they keep pace with the ‘big guns’ in the Western Conference. They have the third best record in the past 10 games of any team in the conference. They trail the re-ignited Rangers squad by 3 points and Owen Sound by 5 points. Big Defenceman Andrey Pedan was suspended and will return to action for this game.

My prediction Windsor 2 Guelph 6

Owen Sound at Kitchener

  The Attack had a forgettable weekend with back to back losses to Guelph. They rebounded at home on Wednesday with a more ‘in character’ 3 goal victory (4-1) over the visiting Barrie Colts for the second time in a week. They currently lead the Rangers by 2 points in the Western Conference.  The Attack will be tested after this game as well with a home/home series against the top ranked London Knights.

  Kitchener has won 4 in a row and 8 of their last 10 games during this recent stretch. Newly acquired Josh Leivo has 11 points in 10 games and D-man Frank Corrado has 5 points and a +6 rating in his 9 games. The Rangers will be without the services of Goaltender John Gibson for at least another week – he is out with a muscle pull in his upper leg.  

  These two teams will meet for the final time this season on Friday March 1.

  My prediction Owen Sound 2 Kitchener 3 (OT)

Brampton at London

  The Battalion edged out the Steelheads last night in Mississauga 4-3.  Blake Clarke continues his torrid pace of 42 points in his rookie season. Brampton has gathered points in their last 5 games and current sit in #5 in the conference only 2 points behind the Sudbury Wolves.

  Ryan Rupert is not in action for this game as he completes his 3 game suspension.  Seth Griffith has a slim 1 point lead over Nick Cousins for the point lead in the league.  The Knights were in a rough spot recently with consecutive losses but are looking to rebound this weekend.  They continue to enjoy a healthy lead of 11 points over the ‘best of the rest’.

  My prediction Brampton 2 London 5

Oshawa at Mississauga

The Generals have their big guns back in the lineup. Lucas Lessio is back for the Gens, after missing 33 games with a serious wrist injury. Jenner, and Laughton are back from the NHL. On January 20th in Oshawa, these two teams combined for 70 mins in penalties, most of which were in the final stages of the game setting up an interesting matchup tonight. The Gens lead the East Division with an average of 16.9 penalty mins a game.

This is the 4th and final meeting of the regular season between these two, with Oshawa holding the edge - winning two of the three games. The Frontenacs hope that this trend can be reversed with a good effort tonight.

The Gens are 3rd in the Eastern Conference - two points ahead of the Wolves. The Steelheads are 7th, four points ahead of Kingston.

My prediction  Oshawa 4  at  Mississauga 2

Sarnia at Ottawa

The Sting sitting 6th in the Western Conference just a single point ahead of the Greyhounds. They need these two points more than Ottawa, who are looking forward to next season. The Sting are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and have taken the fewest minutes in penalties in the Western Conference. They will be advised to remain out of the box at Scotiabank Place tonight  since the 67s continue to lead the OHL on the powerplay, scoring on 26.6% of their opportunities. The Sting, despite having the fewest opportunities (in the Western Conference) to practice, are 4th in penalty killing in the OHL.

Ottawa has won only 4 games on home ice, in 23 games played, and are in the basement in the OHL standings. The Sting have one more win on the road (14) than they do on their home ice this season. Ottawa played two decent games last weekend. They beat Kingston 5-4 on Friday night in a shootout, then lost by the same 5-4 SO score to the Steelheads in Mississauga on Sunday afternoon.

My prediction  Sarnia 3  at  Ottawa 4