OHL Game Day Previews for Friday February 15, 2013
Pictured is the leading scorer in the OHL – Nick Cousins of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. He has 88 points and a slim 3 point lead over Sarnia’s Charles Sarault. Cousins had 4 assists in his teams last game – a big 8-0 victory over the Sting. He needs 4 more goals to hit the 100 goal mark.
London at Erie
The Knights have clinched a playoff spot – the rest of their schedule is for them to win enough games to hold off the Rangers and Attack – each are 10+ points behind London. The Knights play Erie 3 times and Windsor twice in their remaining 14 games. They may get Seth Griffith back for the final few games as he is currently recovering from a broken bone in his hand.
These teams played thrice in the early part of the season (Oct 19th 3-2 win for Erie) but have not seen each other since then. Erie continues their quest for the #1 pick in the upcoming OHL entry draft but they are 6 points ahead of lowly Ottawa at this point. The Otters have only won once in their last 10 games. Dansk has returned from an injury to patrol the nets, but was blitzed for 6 goals on 32 shots on Wednesday night vs. Niagara
My prediction London 7 Erie 2
Sarnia at Windsor
The Sting were flat on Wednesday in Sault Ste Marie. They were embarrassed to the tune of 8-0 and were outshot 49-25. Their powerplay was 0/4, whereas the Greyhounds scored twice on five chances. They are only 1 point behind the same Greyhounds for the #6 spot in the conference and have a 5 point cushion on the Saginaw Spirit.
Windsor trails the Sting by 12 points as they have hit the 51 point mark based on a record of 22-25-1-6. The Spits have lost their last 2 games – most recently at Kingston on Sunday. Kerby Rychel scored at the midpoint of the first period, but the team could not muster anymore goals to match as they would allow two third period goals producing the final 3-1 decision. In the 15 games that Alexander Khokhlachev has played in the OHL since Jan 10, he has scored in 13 of 15 games, including two hattricks.
My prediction Sarnia 4 Windsor 2
Oshawa at Saginaw
Oshawa is sitting comfortably in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, 4 points behind the Bulls, and 5 points ahead of the Wolves. The Gens are 7-3 in their last 10 games, including a home win over Sault Ste Marie on Sunday, and a win at Niagara on Saturday night, both by 4-2 scores. There were 4 different goal scorers on Sunday, and Daniel Altshuller stopped 33 of 35 shots. Tyler Biggs scored twice in Niagara, and Scott Laughton had a goal and 2 helpers.
The Spirit are holding down the 8th and final Western Conference playoff spot. They trail the Sting by 5 points and lead Windsor by 7. They are 6-3-0-1 in their last ten, and lost their last game to the state rival Whalers 5-1 on Wednesday night, on home ice. The Spirit were really never in this one, as they were outshot 17-5 in the first period, and 14-5 in the second. After 2 they were down 4-0. Vincent Trochek scored the games' first two goals in his old stomping grounds, and the Whalers never looked back.
My prediction Oshawa 5 at Plymouth 3
Owen Sound at Guelph
This is a rematch of Wednesday’s night game at Owen Sound. They Storm were in charge of this game most of the way – thanks to their offensive blitz of 40 shots on net (12 more than Owen Sound) and buoyed by solid goaltending from Garret Sparks (league leading seventh shutout this season – J Binnington is second with 6 shutouts). The Storm are 3 points behind the Attack for the #4 spot in the conference and the home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs. Guelph’s home record is 14-11-0-1 and Owen Sound’s road record is 16-8-1-3. Guelph is #15 on the powerplay at home and Owen Sound is #13 on the powerplay on the road.
My prediction Owen Sound 1 Guelph 3
Plymouth at Kitchener
The Whalers continue their push for playoff relevance. They have stacked up three wins in a row to push ahead of others in their division and now sit atop the West. Based on their #1 rank in their division they have the #2 seed in the conference. Their 67 points is close to the Rangers total of 71. New Whaler Vincent Trocheck has put together a solid string of games and has now climbed up to the #3 spot in league scoring with 40 goals and 42 assists. He has 11 goals and 5 assists and a +10 rating in 6 games played this month. The Whalers return home for tomorrow’s matchup against the Guelph Storm and then travel to Sarnia for Monday afternoon’s action.
The Rangers will be auctioning off their special lavender sticks used in today’s game for Hope Spring Cancer Support Centre. Kitchener also has 3 wins in their last 4 games – and one shootout loss. They are one point ahead of the Owen Sound Attack for the #3 spot in the conference. The Rangers invade Erie again tomorrow night and then visit Guelph on Monday afternoon.
My prediction Plymouth 5 Kitchener 4 (OT)
Belleville at Mississauga
The Bulls lead the East Division and sit second in the Conference, although they have had a lot of trouble with the Steelheads, who are 17 points behind them in the standings. Mississauga has outscored Belleville 9-2 in two wins at Yardman this season. The Bulls defeated the Frontenacs on home ice on Wednesday night, as Tyler Graovac scored a hattrick. Belleville's powerplay, after suffering through a recent 0 for 30 stretch, has gone 5 for 12 in their last 3 games. The Bulls will face three Central Division teams over the next 4 days, the Steelheads, Wolves and Colts.
The Steelheads are 2-0-0-1 in their last 3 games, including wins over Niagara, and Kingston and a shootout loss in their last contest, at Sudbury. The strength of the Steelheads is their defense, as they currently sit 7th in the Eastern Conference, despite having scored the fewest goals in the entire OHL. Of the 150 goals the Steelheads have scored, Riley Brace has been involved in 66 of them. He is 3rd in the OHL, with 49 assists in 53 games.
My prediction Belleville 4 at Mississauga 2
Peterborough at Ottawa
The Petes can draw even with the Frontenacs with a win in Ottawa tonight, and a Kingston loss in Sudbury. The Petes have had a remarkable turnaround in their fortunes since Jody Hull has taken over as their head coach. They were 16 points out of a playoff spot when Hull took over, and are currently 2 points out now. With their recent success, the Petes have extended the contracts of Coach Hull, and GM Mike Oke through to June 30th, 2015. Peterborough has won their last 2 games, 3-1 over Brampton last night, and 3-2 over Sault Ste Marie, on Saturday night. Both were home ice victories. Andrew D'Agostini was the 1st star last night, and the 2nd star on Saturday night. The overager lost his first 11 games of the year, and didn't win his first one until Dec 8th, but now has an 11-14 record.
The 67s will be looking for their 7th home ice win in their 29th home game. They can't seem to keep the puck out of their own net, as they've given up 10 goals 5 times this season, and have given up a league leading 261 goals in their 55 games, or 4.75 goals a game. Ottawa is clearly looking to next year at this point.
My prediction Peterborough 5 at Ottawa 3
Kingston at Sudbury
This will be a homecoming of sorts for Frontenac forward, and highly regarded, draft eligible, Ryan Kujawinski, who played his Minor Midget hockey with the Nickel City Suns, and is a native of nearby Iroquois Falls. Ryan is third in Frontenac scoring, one point behind co-leaders, Darcy Greenaway, and Henri Ikonen. Kingston should come out desperate for a win in Sudbury, but it won't be easy in a building where it is always tough for the visitors to play in.
The Wolves will be looking to extend their 15 game regulation home winning streak, including a 3-2 shootout victory over the Steelheads in their last game on Saturday night. Brampton did manage to beat Sudbury 2-1 in a shootout the night before. The Wolves are 4th in the Eastern Conference, just 2 points ahead of the Battalion.
My prediction Kingston 3 at Sudbury 2