Happy New Year from the OHL Game Day Preview/Prediction team of John Duncan (@FrontsFocus) and Dwayne Williams (@notsoheavyd)! Here are our previews/predictions for the last day of 2012.
Mississauga at Brampton
This is the back end of a home and home between these two division rivals. Going into yesterday afternoon's game, the Battalion held a two point lead on Mississauga, although, the Steelheads held three games in hand. With the SO win, the Steelheads moved to within one point of Brampton, heading into this game. It took 7 shooters for each team for a winner to be determined. 5th shooters for each team, Brandon Robinson of the Battalion, and Stuart Percy each scored to send it to the 6th shooters, who were both stopped. Kristoff Kontos managed to beat Brampton rookie, Jake Smith, and Mississauga veteran, Tyson Teichmann stopped Dylan Blujus, for the win. Defenseman, Dylan DeMelo scored in the final minute of the third, with the net empty for an extra attacker, for the Steelheads, to send the game to OT. Coach Stan Butler criticized the refs after the game, as he felt that his goalie was interfered with on Mississauga's 2nd goal. His complaints garnered him a bench minor, which resulted in a Steelhead 5 on 3 advantage, which they capitalized on, with just over 5 minutes left in the third. Nick Paul gave the Battalion the lead at 15:56 of the third, setting up the DeMelo empty netter to tie it.
Mississauga has had their way with the Battalion this season. They have beaten them four straight times, and have outscored Butler's team 19-10.
My prediction Mississauga 3 at Brampton 2
Kingston at Ottawa
The Kingston Frontenacs (17-16-2-0) are coming off of a disappointing home ice loss to the Petes, on Friday night. Coach Gill, who wasn't pleased with his team's effort, wasn't about to use the shorthanded excuse, although the Fronts were without 6 regulars and 1 call up, for various reasons. Billy Jenkins wasn't cleared to play, after continuing to experience post concussion symptoms. Braydon Blight had the flu, and Henri Ikonen was held up in his native Finland with a passport issue. The Fronts' first 4 picks in this year's Priority Selection are all representing Team Ontario at the U-17 tournament in Quebec, and will miss the next three games for the Fronts, as well.
It appeared as though some of Kingston's veterans were suffering from the flu, or perhaps they overindulged on Christmas turkey, because they came out sluggish in the game against the Petes, and were never in it, despite having over 3,600 fans in the stands. Former Pete, Luke Hietkamp, who was one of 10 forwards dressed, scored his first as a Frontenac, his second of the season.
The Ottawa 67s (10-24-0-3) won the battle of basement dwellers - in the Eastern Conference, last night, over the same Petes, to climb back into 9th in the conference. Ryan Van Stralen scored twice for Ottawa, and Cody Ceci picked up a goal and an assist, in the 67's 6-3 win in Peterborough. Sean Monahan had 3 assists.
I expect Ottawa to come out strong, anxious to improve on their dismal first half record, and try to wear down the Fronts. Ottawa has the worst home ice record in the OHL this season, managing to win only 4 times in 17 tries. This will be Kingston's 4th and final visit to Scotiabank Place in Kanata this season, and oddly 4 in a row. The last 3 games between these two teams will be at K-Rock Centre in Kingston, starting tomorrow afternoon. Ottawa beat Kingston 8-6 in Kgn on Oct 26th. Kingston won the first two in Kanata, and lost the most recent one on Nov. 20th. Mike Morrison has started both wins for the Fronts, and Colin Furlong, both losses.
My prediction Kingston 3 at Ottawa 5
Plymouth at Windsor
The Plymouth Whalers (15-12-5-3) were victimized on home ice by the London Knights' 23rd consecutive victory in their last game, on Saturday night, 4-2. Tom Wilson, of the Whalers, potted the first goal of the game, at 11:46 of the second period, which only seemed to wake up the Knights. 20 seconds later the Ruperts combined to tie the score, opening the floodgates for London, as they would score 4 straight.
The Whalers continue to be without, Senators' draft pick, Stefan Noesen, who is eligible to return from his 10 game suspension on Jan 11. Team leading point getters, Rickard Rakell (Sweden), and Ryan Hartman (USA) continue to represent their countries at the WJC in Russia.
The Windsor Spitfires (14-17-1-5) were humbled by Saginaw in their last game 8-3. Kerby Rychel had the Spits up 2-0 in this one, with a goal and an assist, but Saginaw rookie, goaltender Nikita Serebryakov settled down, and only allowed one more goal the rest of the way on 44 Spitfire shots. Windsor had a 3-1 58 seconds into the second, but Saginaw would explode for 7 straight goals, to turn this one into a laugher. The loss knocked Windsor into 9th place in the conference. Defenseman, Pat Sieloff is representing the USA at the WJC.
I'm not sure that even a good home crowd will make enough of a difference in this one for the Spits to pull off a victory. Windsor has 10 of their 14 wins at home, and have accumulated 23 of their 34 points in the standings in front of crowds averaging well over 5,000 at the WFCU Centre this year. Perhaps defenseman, and Gananoque, Ontario native, Graeme Brown, who was called up from LaSalle Vipers (Jr. B) will record his first OHL point inthis one.
My prediction Plymouth 4 at Windsor 1
Saginaw at SSM
The Saginaw Spirit (15-17-3-2) pounded the Windsor Spitfires 8-3 on home ice, on Saturday night. Jimmy Lodge had 4 points in this game (1g & 3a). Eric Locke, Garret Ross, and Nick Moutrey each scored a pair for the Spirit. Rookie goalie, Nikita Serebryakov stopped 41 of 44 shots. The Spirit have two key contributors competing for their countries at the WJC, as well. Vincent Trochek (USA) and Jake Paterson (Canada) are in Ufa, Russia.Defenseman, Brandon Prophet is representing his native Ontario, in the U-17 tournament in Quebec.
The Soo Greyhounds (18-17-2-0) have a key contributor representing Ontario in the U-17 tournament, as well. Jared McCann has 13 goals and 7 assists in his rookie season as a Greyhound.
The Sudbury Wolves beat the Soo on home ice yesterday afternoon, 4-1. The story of the game was the fact that the Wolves capitalized on 3 of 7 powerplay opportunities, as the Greyhounds were an undisciplined team. Ryan Sproul was the only goal scorer for Sault Ste Marie.
The Greyhounds beat up on the shorthanded Niagara Ice Dogs on Friday night, by the score of 7-3. Nick Cousins is 5th in OHL point scoring, with 52 pts.
London at Sarnia
Will this be the game that ends the streak? The London Knights (31-5-0-2) have won 23 straight games in the OHL. They continue to win despite playing without two key defensemen, in captain Scott Harrington(Canada) and Olli Mattaa (Finland). Seth Griffith (60 pts) will soon lead the OHL in point scoring, as he is currently third behind Ryan Strome (62 pts) (Canada) and Alex Galchenyuk (61 pts) (USA).
In their last win, the Knights scored 4 straight goals, en route to a 4-2 win over the Whalers in Plymouth, on Saturday night. The Ruperts each had a goal and an assist in this one. Jake Patterson recorded his 13 win of the season in goal for the Knights.
The Sarnia Sting (20-12-0-3) are first in the West Division, and as a result are ranked 2nd in the Western Conference. They were blanketed by Stan Butler's Brampton Battalion 3-2 in their last game, on Friday night. The Sting managed only 26 shots on goal on home ice.
My prediction London 5 at Sarnia 2
Erie at Niagara
The Erie Otters (12-20-2-3) have won two more games than they did all of last season, and are 5-5 in their last 10 games. They pulled off an impressive 6-4 win in Barrie in their last game, on Saturday night, despite playing without Connor McDavid, who is representing Ontario in the U-17 tournament in Quebec, and their number one goalie, Oscar Dansk, who is representing Sweden in the WJC in Russia. Connor Crisp and Connor Brown eachscored two goals in Barrie, and Devin Williams stopped 39 of 43 shots. New coach, Kris Knoblauch has the team playing well.
The Niagara Ice Dogs (21-14-1-1) really miss their stars who are off representing Canada in the WJC. Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Strome, and Brett Ritchie are the team leaders in point production. Rookie goalie, BrentMoran is representing Ontario, at the U-17 tournament in Quebec. The Dogs lost in the Soo, yesterday afternoon 7-3, but managed to beat Sudbury, 4-3 in OT, on Saturday night, on a goal by Steven Shipley. The Dogs did manage to go 2-4 on their PP, without their stars, on Saturday night. The Ice Dogs have slipped to 4th in the tight, Eastern Conference, and are just 2 points ahead of Brampton, and 3 up on Mississauga.
My prediction Erie 4 at Niagara 2
Sudbury at Barrie
The Sudbury Wolves (15-16-2-5) have passed the Kingston Frontenacs, into 7th in the Eastern Conference, although the Fronts have 3 games in hand. Yesterday, they beat their Northern rivals, from the Soo, 4-1, on home ice. Sudbury's PP connected 3 times on 7 chances in this one, including Nathan Pancel's, team leading 18th of the season.
The Barrie Colts (24-10-0-1) continue to lead the Eastern Conference. The Colts are missing key players Anthony Camara, Mark Scheifele (Team Canada WJC), Aaron Ekblad (Team Ont. U-17). The Erie Otters humbled the Colts on Saturday night, in Barrie, 6-4. Zach Hall scored twice for the Colts in this one. Steven Beyers, and Josh McDonald had a goal and an assist each.
My prediction Sudbury 4 at Barrie 3 in OT