OHL Game Day Previews for Friday September 28, 2012
Pictured is Matt Finn (D) of the Guelph Storm who will be in action tonight vs the Owen Sound Attack.
Erie at Kingston
Kingston is coming off a week’s layoff after their impressive home ice victory over the Barrie Colts, a game which was controlled in both ends of the ice by the Frontenacs. Rookies Sam Bennett (goal), Henri Ikonen (assist),and Spencer Watson (assist) all tallied their first OHL points in the game. Due to injuries to rookie Dylan DiPerna and veteran Kyler Nixon, the Fronts were forced to play with only 5 defensemen in that game. Assistant coach Darren Kiley tells me that both players skated in practice this week, and there are no injuries to report. Jean Dupuy will serve the first of a two game suspension for his role in a fight near the end of last Friday night’s game.
Erie played in Peterborough, against the Petes last night, and are coming off a weekend that they were outscored 12-4 on the road. In last night’s action the Otters were paced by Stephen Harper’s two goals in the first period (one on the powerplay). Jake Evans, Nick Betz and Travis Wood had the other goals for the young guns from South of the border.
Expect Kingston’s top line of Ryan Kujawinski, Trevor Morbeck, and Billy Jenkins to be too much for Erie’s youngteam to handle, and for them to break out, offensively.
My prediction Erie 2 Kingston 5
Sault Ste Marie at Sarnia
The Greyhounds split their games last weekend at home – winning by one goal vs Plymouth and then being edged out by the Spits by a goal the next day. Defenceman Ryan Sproul leads the team with 4 points (3 assists). Broll, Cousins and Nurse each have three points. The play of import Tolchinsky has fans excited about their team as well. The team will travel onto Saginaw for their next game on Saturday night.
The Sting continue to make headlines about a player who is not with the team - Nail Yakupov’s drama as he tries to lace up for KHL competition this season. On the ice, the Sting sputtered to start the season with one loss and one shootout loss and find themselves in last place in the Western Conference after the first weekend of games. In their shootout loss to a solid Kitchener team, JP Anderson provided more than adequate goaltending but they were outshot by 50-30. Limiting the opposition’s offence will be the area of focus this weekend as they host the Greyhounds and then visit the Attack.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 3 Sarnia 4
Belleville at Brampton
The Belleville Bulls have cracked the BMO CHL’s Top 10 rankings (9th), based on two impressive road wins overSarnia, and Plymouth, last weekend. The Bulls boast a balanced offensive attack, especially with the expected return of Sergei Kuptsov, off the injury list, with three lines that can score. Adam Bignell will not play, due tosuspension, so expect the OHL debut of 16 year old Daniel DeSousa.
The Battalion battled two Central Division rivals on opening weekend, and because of a couple of mistakes, here and there, could have come away with more than one point. They battled a powerful Niagara team to a 2-1 shootout loss, on Friday night and then boarded the bus for the long trip to Sudbury, for a Sunday game. They lost 4-1 in a game which was much closer than the score indicates. Expect a Stan Butler coached team to be responsible defensively. They may just have difficulty scoring.
Expect a very good goaltending matchup with Malcolm Subban in goal for the visitors and Import, third year goalie Matej Machovsky for the Battalion.
My prediction Belleville 4 Brampton 2
Owen Sound at Guelph
The Attack visited Barrie last night to visit the tough Colts squad. The game was close from start to finish. Barrietied the game up with 30 seconds to play to force overtime and the subsequent shootout where the Attack were not able to solve the Barrie netminder Neiderberger. Early in the third period tough guy Daniel Zweep scored his first of the season – his tenth goal in 167 career games played in the OHL. Jordan Binnington stopped 36 of 39 shots sent his way.
Some fans are getting restless in Guelph already as they see some signs of trouble on the team. Fingers have been pointed at the coach and veteran players for last weekend’s inconsistent play in the meager overtime win vs. the Spirit and the 8-2 blasting that they received at home from the Knights. Today they will be measured against a deep Owen Sound team and then will be tested again at London on Sunday. Jason Dickinson has 3goals so far this season and is one of three players with a positive on ice rating. Matt Finn leads the team inscoring with 1 goal and 3 assists. A better defensive game will be needed to keep this game close.
My prediction Owen Sound 3 Guelph 4
Kitchener at London
The Rangers were in Windsor last night and were not able to get past the Spits. Many of the goals scored by both sides were from defensive giveaways or ‘lucky bounces’ here and there. The Rangers would fall behind on a late goal from a Windsor 3 on 2 and then surrender a goal into an open net for the 4-2 loss. A thunderous open ice hit by Patrick Sieloff early in the third period will be debated for awhile (he was given a penalty for charging, a game misconduct and a fighting penalty as well – here’s the link: http://twitpic.com/az31ms )
London cruised through the first week of action in mid-season form by dismantling both Erie and Guelph by 8-2 scores. Seth Griffith already has five goals on the season (OHL Player of the Week honors). Monstrous import Nikita Zadarov has 2 fights and a plus 6 rating during those 2 games. Kevin Baille has a 2.00 GAA and a .931 save percentage in those 2 games. I expect this game to be a hard nosed /penalty filled affair with two of the stronger teams in the league this season.
My prediction Kitchener 2 London 5
Windsor at Mississauga
The Spits turned things around last night at home vs. the Kitchener Rangers. The game was close until very late in the third period when Chris Marchese scored his second goal of the night with 44 seconds left to play. The Rangers would pull their goalie in an effort to tie things up but the Spits would counter with an empty net goal.
After dropping their home opener to Kitchener 3-0, the Steelheads would taste successl with a slim 3-2 win over the visiting Colts last Sunday. Tonight Mississauga is hosting a few Olympic and Para-Olympic athletes during their pre-game festivities. Tomorrow they venture up the 400 for an early re-match vs. the Colts. Expect Brace, DeMelo and Percy to be on the scoresheet in a few places tonight.
My prediction Windsor 1 Mississauga 3
Niagara at Ottawa
This is a rematch of last season’s Eastern Conference Final – with many significant deletions on both teams. Expect the 67’s to come out firing, after two opening weekend losses, which saw them drop out of the BMO CHL Top 10. Ottawa’s defense and goalkeeping has to be better. On paper, the defense should be fine, but games aren’t played on paper. No surprise that leading the way offensively for the 67’s after two games are co-captains Cody Ceci (1 g and 4 a) and Sean Monahan (2 g and 2 a).
Niagara is coming off a pair of low scoring, hard-fought wins over Erie, and Brampton, games in which this year’s #1 goalie Chris Festerini played very well, earning the first star against Brampton, and the third star against Erie. Niagara has a veteran, talented team, especially on defense, lead by last year’s OHL defenceman of the year, Dougie Hamilton (Bruins), and Jesse Graham (Islanders). Luke Mercer, reliable overagers Rover and Beukeboom join rookie Hayden to round out the defence corps.
My prediction Niagara 2 Ottawa 3
Peterborough at Oshawa
Peterborough lost at home to the Generals on Opening Night, by a score of 5-2. Oshawa was lead by Lucas Lessio (Coyotes) and Boone Jenner (Blue Jackets) with two goals each. Daniel Altshuller looked good in goal for Oshawa. The Petes then scored a 4-3 road victory in Ottawa. Rookie goalkeeper Michael Giugovaz wasterrific in goal for the Petes, stopping 39 of 42 shots. Erie was at Peterborough last night and spanked the Petes by a score of 5-1. Nick Ritchie was knocked out of the game with an ‘upper body injury’ and is questionable for tonight’s action.
Oshawa was humbled 4-2 in Sudbury on Friday night, and haven’t played since. A 1-1 record is still good enough for the Gens to be an Honourable Mention in BMO’s CHL rankings. Look for Oshawa’s superiortalent to shine through in this one.
My prediction Peterborough 2 Oshawa 6