Pictured is former #1 overall OHL pick Daniel Catenacci of the Owen Sound Attack. He is currently in the #6 spot in league scoring with 21 goals and 30 assists in 37 games played. He was held scoreless in the Attack’s last game (3-1 loss vs. Kitchener) but had 4 goals and 2 assists in the previous 4 games. He is in action tonight at Plymouth.
Barrie at Erie
The Colts were not flashy but good enough to win last night in Niagara. Barrie was steady throughout the game with good puck control, competent offensive pressure and timely goaltending from Niederberger. The 4-1 win was anchored by Josh MacDonald (2 goals – career highs in all categories this season – 12 goals and 12 assists in 37 games) and Andreas Athanasiou (1 goal 2 assists – career high 43 points this season). Barrie continues to lead the Eastern Conference with 25 wins and 51 points – they have played adequate hockey in the absence of Schiefele and Camara.
Erie has been on a roll with 4 wins in their last 6 games. One of those wins was vs the Barrie Colts last Saturday night 6-4. Offensive leader Connor Brown has scored in only 5 of the past 10 games, but 4 of those occasions were multipoint games. His 45 points are followed closely by rookie phenom Connor McDavid who has 18 goals and 22 assists. Connor Crisp is second on the team to Brown in powerplay goals with 7 on the season. The Otters #1 goalie Oscar Dansk’s name has been thrown around the trading rumor mill lately (not in action tonight).
Sources say that the Barrie’s Ekblad and Erie’s McDavid will not be in action tonight due to U-17 travel. There will also not be the normal local radio broadcast of tonight’s game.
My prediction Barrie 2 Erie 3
Oshawa at Kingston
The Generals are 1-1 this year. They lost to Guelph on New Year’s Day 2-1 despite outshooting the Storm 44-29. They would follow this up with a 4-1 thumping of the Battalion at Brampton. Goal scorers were Laughton, Petschenig (first career goal), Latour and Cassels with the empty net marker.
Oshawa currently has 22 wins and 47 points – Kingston has 18 wins and 38 points. In their last 10 games Oshawa has won 6, whereas Kingston has only won 3 and gained overtime points in 2 contests.
On Tuesday the Fronts lost at home vs. the last place Ottawa 67’s. The game was tied and close to going to overtime before a ‘lucky bounce’ put the puck on the stick of Ottawa’s Graovac for the game winner at the 19:51 mark of the third period. Ryan Kujawinski and Sam Povorozniouk each chipped in a goal and assist for first and third star honours. The Fronts will host the Greyhounds on Sunday to complete their weekend action.
My prediction Oshawa 4 Kingston 3
Owen Sound at Plymouth
The Attack won their previous 2 meetings vs. the Whalers at home by scores of 4-2 and 3-2.
They sit in the #3 spot in the Western Conference trailing the #1 London Knights by a whopping 14 points but are ahead of Guelph by 7 points in the standings.
Plymouth is struggling near the bottom of the standings with only 42 points in 37 games played this season. They are tied with Sault Ste Marie for the #6 spot and are 3 points behind the slumping Kitchener Rangers. The Whalers are happy to have Mitchell Heard returned to them from the AHL. Last season he averaged a point per game for Plymouth. Tom Wilson has been hot lately with goals in each of the last 4 games. He now has career highs in goals (11) and points (29) in a season. They will need these and other players to step up in this game as the Whalers will be without the services of Rakell (WJHC), Miller (WJHC) and Noesen (suspension).
My prediction Owen Sound 3 Plymouth 2 (OT)
Windsor at Sarnia
The Spits are trying to play more consistent hockey for the second half of the season. There are numerous trade rumours circulating around this team to ‘shake things up’. Today’s trade of Jordan Maletta begins this process. They have lost 6 consecutive games and been outplayed but not outmatched in many of those contests. They have 14 wins in 38 games played to give them 34 points. They have only scored 101 goals this season which is only 3 better than the Kitchener Rangers in the Western Conference. After this game they will host the Brampton Battalion next Thursday night.
Sarnia is coming off their big win at London which stopped the Knights’ consecutive game winning streak. Rookie Nikolay Goldobin scored 4 goals to pace the Sting to a 6-5 overtime victory. The rookie now has 18 goals and 14 assists in his rookie season (3rd in rookie scoring in the league). Reid Boucher had a hot December where he had 10 points in 5 games. The Sting currently sit at 2nd in the Western Conference as they lead their division. Plymouth only trails them by 3 points in the standings. After this game they will go on a mini-road trip with stops at Erie PA on Saturday and Niagara on Sunday afternoon.
My prediction Windsor 2 Sarnia 5
Peterborough at Kitchener
The Petes have made a little bit of noise with their recent success on the scoreboard. Last night they were able to get past the solid Belleville Bulls squad by a 3-0 score despite being outshot 42-33. Trojanovic, Quine and Boland (first career OHL goal) were the goal scorers for the home side. Andrew D’Agostini earned first star honours for his 42 shot shutout (2nd career shutout in 120 games). Maguire and Mathers both added to their fight total for the season. With the win, the Petes have crawled out of the basement in the Eastern Conference and now lead Ottawa by one point and have played one fewer game than the 67’s. Peterborough’s next contest will be next Thursday when they host the Rangers.
The Rangers had a great showing at Owen Sound recently. They were able to outlast the #3 team in the Western Conference by a score of 3-1 despite being outshot 36-20. All of Kitchener’s goal scorers notched their second of the season – Czinder, Fanelli and Sterk. Franky Palazzesse stopped 35 of 36 shots and earned first star honours. With the win, Kitchener remains three points ahead of Plymouth for the fifth spot in the Western Conference. They have scored the fewest goals in this conference, but also have the second lowest goals against total.
My prediction Peterborough 2 Kitchener 3
Saginaw at London
The Spirit are mired near the bottom of the conference with 4 wins in their last 10 games and only 15 wins in 38 games this season. They have 35 points which is only 1 better than the floundering Windsor Spitfires and 6 points better than last place Erie. Their last action was on New Year’s Eve in Sault Ste Marie. The Greyhounds would dismantle them to the tune of 7-3. After 2 periods, the game was tied 2-2. The third period belonged to the home side where they would rattle off 4 straight markers to push the game out of reach. The Spirit would allow 4 powerplay goals on 6 chances to the stronger Greyhounds squad.
After this game, Saginaw will host the next 7 games - all of them against Western Conference teams.
London is exhaling after completing their magnificent run of 24 straight wins. They lead the entire OHL with 67 points and a record of 32-5-1-2. They should be able to handle the undermanned Spirit squad on this occasion. Seth Griffith now holds the top spot in league scoring with 25 goals and 39 assists in 40 games played this season.
My prediction Saginaw 0 London 4
Niagara at Mississauga
The Icedogs were listless last night at home vs. the top Barrie Colts squad. They were outshot, outchanced and outscored 4-1. Niagara is playing .500 hockey without their top players (Strome, Ritchie and Hamilton) and are ready for some big trades to happen as this squad does not have nearly the consistent firepower to compete at a high level with other teams in this league. The additional of Jordan Maletta from Windsor may be the shot in the arm that this team needs to get them going in 2013. Mitchell Theoret was injured last night in the second period and did not return for the third period so his status for tonight’s contest is questionable.
With the loss, the Dogs slide to the #4 spot as the Oshawa Generals pushed by them by one point. In 39 games this season, Niagara has 22 wins and has earned 46 points. Mississauga has a record of 19-14-0-3 in their 36 games played this season.
Mississauga is looking for a fresh start as the month of December was not very kind to them. They had a record of 2-7 for the month – three of the losses were by one goal. This season they have only scored 108 times which is third lowest in the Eastern Conference and fifth lowest in the league.
Tonight is the Clarkson Hockey Association night with lots of minor hockey players in the stands and in the mini-game during the first intermission.
My prediction Niagara 1 Mississauga 2
Brampton at Sudbury
The Battalion are close to next season’s new home in North Bay. Expect a large crowd of supporters for the visitors in attendance again for this contest. Brampton and Sudbury are both in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference – the Battalion have a record of 19-15-3-3 and the Wolves are 16-16-2-5. The Wolves have secured points in their last 8 games whereas the Battalion lost their last match in regulation.
Top scorers for Brampton continue to be Barclay Goodrow (23 goals [8 ppg] and 10 assists) and the new offensive leader Blake Clarke (13 goals [5 ppg]and 21 assists). The Wolves look to Matthew Campagna (4 goals and 14 assists in 10 December games), Josh Leivo (11 points in his last 6 games) and Nathan Pancel (11 points in his last 8 games) for their offensive production.
My prediction Brampton 2 Sudbury 4