In the four games last night, we were only able to predict 2 of 4 correctly. The Battalion and Spitfires either played above, or way below our expectations. Such is the joy of the OHL – almost any team can beat any other team in this league. That is what gives the OHL fans such excitement – parity. Defenseman Darnell Nurse of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds will be busy tonight as his team hosts the strong Kitchener Rangers team including Radek Faksa(pictured here as well).
Brampton at Erie
The Battalion are coming off of a 4-1 home ice victory last night over the previously unbeaten Kingston Frontenacs. Scoring for the Battalion were Barclay Goodrow, with his 3rd and 4th of the season, Brennan Feasey, with his first of the season, and Nick Paul notched his first OHL goal. The Battalion really shut down the middle of the ice, forcing the Fronts to the outside. They outshot Kingston 37-22.
The Erie Otters are finally celebrating their Home Opener, as rink renovations delayed their first game at home. The young Otters should come out with lots of energy in front of a decent crowd. The Otters are lead, offensively, by young Connor McDavid, Conner Brown, Steven Harper and recently acquired overager J.P. Labardo. Each player is averaging at least a point a game in their first five games.
The Otters will present a significant challenge to the Battalion's defensive style. After playing last night at home, Brampton had to board the bus for the long trip to Erie. Expect the Otters to come out skating hard at the beginning of the game, and with a lot more offensive options, this season, they may get up early on the Troop. Brampton doesn't have a team that can recover from an early deficit.
My prediction Brampton 2 Erie 4
Owen Sound at Sarnia
The Attack visit Sarnia to complete this early season home/home series. Owen Sound has had a solid start with 3 wins and 1 loss and one shootout loss – good for a tie for second place in the Western Conference. Centre Cameron Brace leads the team with 9 points (2 on the powerplay). Last Saturday these two teams tangled in Owen Sound. In that game the Visitors would pepper Brandon Hope with 42 shots en route to a slim 2-1 victory. Cutting would score the Attack’s lone goal late in the first period. Sarnia would counter with markers from Sarault and Murphy in the second period.
Sarnia earned their first win in the game vs. Owen Sound. They also have 2 overtime losses to their credit. Boucher, Galchenyuk and Sarault all have 3 points to lead their team offensively. JP Anderson has stopped 142 of 151 shots in his four games – a .940 save percentage.
Look for this to be a solid contest between two very competent goaltenders in JP Anderson (Sting) and Jordan Binnington (Attack).
My prediction Owen Sound 2 Sarnia 3
Kitchener at Sault Ste Marie
Kitchener starts their road trip with a visit to the Greyhounds at the Essar Centre. Last Friday the Rangers were able to knock down the powerful Knights squad in London. Puempel and Faksa would both score on the powerplay (2 for 4 on the game) to pace the Rangers to a 2-1 victory. This team is anchored by goaltender Gibson (3 wins and 0 losses in three appearances) and the reliable defenceman Ryan Murphy. Captain Murphy has struggled on the offensive side of things with only 1 assist and a -4 rating this season. Matt Puempel continues to enjoy his new surroundings with 5 points in 4 games (3 pts on the powerplay).
This game is a cancer fundraiser where the rink will be pink. Also look for commemorative Pink jerseys to be auctioned off, special edition T-shirts and bracelets for sale, etc. . Sault Ste Marie is coming off an exciting 6-5 victory on Wednesday over the Saginaw Spirit. In that game the home squad would score 3 straight third period goals to push the team over the top. Darnell Nurse was involved in a scrap with Saginaw’s Terry Trafford. Goaltender Matt Murray was busy with 39 stops on 44 shots.
Sault Ste Marie finds itself in the #1 spot in the Western conference with 4 wins and 1 loss on the season.
My prediction Kitchener 4 Sault Ste Marie 2
Niagara at Saginaw
Niagara played at home last night vs. the Mississauga Steelheads. The Icedogs fell behind 1-0 but kept things close, eventually pushing ahead in the third period 3-2. After a late penalty and a pulled goalie, the scrappy Niagara team were able to withstand the Steelheads barrage to hold onto for the victory. First star was awarded to the busy Niagara Goaltender Chris Festarini who stopped 31 of 33 shots. Second star was earned by Mississauga D-man Dylan Smoskowitz who had 2 points in his first game of the season. Goal scorers for the Icedogs were Kelly, Robinson and Hamilton. Look for Brent Moran to get the start in net for this contest.
Saginaw played in Sault Ste Marie on Wednesday night. Even though they would outshoot the home team by a margin of 44-27, they would not be able to recover from the three straight goals surrendered to the Greyhounds in the third period. Final score was 6-5. Vincent Trochek was hot with 2 goals and 1 assist in the contest – he leads the team with 9 points. Garret Ross has 8 points on the season. The Spirit will play the Rangers tomorrow night on home ice to complete their weekend action.
The promotion this weekend at this arena is a ticket and all you can eat for $25 – get yours today!
My prediction Niagara 2 Saginaw 5
Plymouth at Guelph
The Whalers start their weekend road trip with a stop off at the Sleeman Centre in Guelph. In a scheduling anomaly, Plymouth has only played 3 games this season – most teams have at 4-5 game experience already. So far the Whalers have one win, one shootout loss and one overtime loss. In their only game last weekend, the Whalers would handle the Sudbury Wolves easily 6-2. So far this season the team has a balanced scoring attack – three players have 4 points and three others have three points each. Goalie Matt Mahalak has stopped 81 of 91 shots directed his way this season. Plymouth has the goods to surprise the Storm tonight.
Guelph put the skates to Windsor last night on their turf. The game winner would come at 8:59 of the second period with the Storm scoring their first of five goals on the game. Their next 4 goals (in the 5-0 game) would all come via the powerplay. Windsor was 0 for 5 whereas Guelph would score 4 times in 12 chances. Zack Mitchell scored twice and had one assist – Tanner Pearson notched 3 assists. Matt Finn was awarded first star honours for his solid, responsible defensive work (even though he had zero points in the game). Garret Sparks earned second star honours for his sixth career shutout.
My prediction Plymouth4 Guelph 3 (OT)
Windsor at London
The Spitfires had a challenging contest last night at home vs. the up and down Guelph Storm team. A few officiating calls went against them early and the team seemed to be more interested in ‘evening things up’ than by playing together to chip away at the score defecit. Accordingly, they would allow Guelph 12 powerplay chances (and gave up 4 goals) en route to a 5-0 drubbing. The test for this young team does not get any easier as they venture down the 401 to ‘have a go’ at last year’s OHL champions. The veterans on this team need to step up and lead by example for a closer result.
London finds itself in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference 4 games into their schedule. Last weekend they would drop two consecutive games (2-1 vs. Kitchener and 4-1 vs. Guelph) for the first time in a long time. Last season they would only lose 18 games. Last weekend their only goal scorers were Seth Griffith (1) and Brett Welychka (1). I don’t think that Windsor’s goaltending will be able to withstand the London offensive punch though. After this game they will be venturing down to Erie, PA to complete their games for the weekend.
My prediction Windsor 2 London 6
Barrie at Mississauga
The Barrie Colts are coming off a weekend where they won two straight. They won their Home Opener against Owen Sound in a shootout. The Colts outshot the Attack 40-24 in the game. The Colts beat the Steelheads 4-1 last Saturday night, in a game which was very close through 2 periods. Barrie took over in the third, outshooting the visitors 16-4, and out scoring them 2-0. German Import, Mathias Niederberger has been solid in goal for the Colts, earning the second star against the Steelheads.
Mississauga lost last night in St Catharines, to the Niagara Ice Dogs by the score of 3-2. Newly acquired goalie, Clint Windsor, backed up Tyson Teichmann and will likely start against the Colts tonight. An injury to Spencer Martin forced the Steelheads to pick up Windsor from Saginaw for the rights to USHL player Kevin Irwin, and a 5th rounder.
The Colts should have the upper hand in the rematch of last Saturday's game, as they are clearly the more talented team. Mississauga can't afford to take penalties, as the Colts were 2-4 on the PP in the last game. The Steelheads are coming off of a hotly contested game against the Ice Dogs last night, and the Colts have been off since Saturday's game, so advantage goes to Barrie. Expect, Jets' prospect Mark Scheifele to have another big game, along with Anthony Camara, and Zack Hall.
My prediction Mississauga 1 Barrie 4
Kingston at Oshawa
The Kingston Frontenacs were handed their first loss of the young season, 4-1 in Brampton last night, a game in which they were checked into the ice. The game was scoreless until just past the midway point of the game. Barclay Goodrow's shorthanded goal seemed to deflate the young Fronts, and before they knew it, they were down 3-0. Roland McKeown scored his first OHL goal prior to the end of the second, but it was too little, too late. One thing that the Kingston coaching staff hasn't been happy with so far this season is penalty killing. Brampton managed to score a powerplay goal again last night. Kingston's back-up goalie, rookie, Colin Furlong stopped 33 of 37 shots on goal.
The Oshawa Generals are one of the top teams in the OHL. They managed to sweep their three games this past weekend, with wins over the Petes, Bulls, and Battalion. Three rookies scored their first OHL goals last weekend. 7th overall pick in the 2012 Priority Selection, Michael Dal Cole and 2009 2nd Rounder, Tyler Biggs, each scored against the Petes, and 2011 4th rounder, Bradley Latour scored against Brampton.
The real strength of the Generals are their veteran players. Boone Jenner leads the OHL with 7 goals & 5 assists in 5 games. Lucas Lessio has 5 goals, and Matt Petgrave has 8 assists from his defense position. Goaltender, Daniel Altshuller has been steady in goal thus far.
The Generals will be pushing to prove that they are the team to beat in the Eastern Conference, and have too many weapons for the young Frontenacs to defend. Overage goaltender, Mike Morrison will have to be the game's first star in order for Kingston to compete against the Generals on home ice.
My prediction Kingston 3 Oshawa 5