Guelph at London

Guelph was able to take care of Brampton last night at home to the tune of 3-2.  The Storm built up a 3-0 lead after 2 periods but were definitely scared by the two early powerplay goals put up by the Battalion early in the third period.  Guelph had goals from Pedan, Fabbri and Leslie.  Goaltender Garret Sparks now has 3 wins in a row. The Storm are sitting comfortably in fourth place in the Western Conference with a record of 17-8-0-3 and 36 points. They are only 1 point ahead of Kitchener and four points behind Owen Sound.  The Guelph Storm have not lost in regulation in their past 7 games.

 London continues their torrid pace and now have 13 straight wins. This season they have outscored their opponents by 44 goals. The Knights are in first place in the Western Conference (and league) by 3 points over the Owen Sound Attack.  In 28 games this season they have lost 7 times (twice in overtime).  Last night vs. the top team in the East (Barrie Colts) they fell behind early 2-0, but then roared back with 4 straight goals to take hold of this match.  After exchanging third period goals, the final score would end up at 5-3. Broadhurts, Horvat and Domi would all have multipoint games.  

Tomorrow afternoon the team will tangle with the Steelheads in Mississauga.

 My prediction Guelph 3 London 4 (OT)

Brampton at Niagara

Brampton was handed a 3-2 loss at Guelph last night.  They were behind 3-0 at the end of 2 periods and were able to push in two powerplay goals early in the third period to make the game more interesting. The Battalion only managed 19 shots on goal for the game.  Offensive leader Barclay Goodrow scored again (first point in three games) to give him 12 goals in 12 games this month.  Brampton has now lost 3 in a row after going 6-1 in their previous 7 games. They have a record of 12-11-3-2 in the 28 games played this season.

The Icedogs started out strong at Mississauga last night and built up a 4-0 before Mississauga could rebound.  They peppered Spencer Martin with 56 shots on the night.  Mississauga was able to score three straight goals in the third period to close the gap, but Niagara responded with 2 more goals for the 6-4 final score.  The top line of Strome, Ritchie and Theoret continue to cruise along – notching another 8 points tonight.  Ryan Strome leads the league with 18 goals and 38 assists – Brett Ritchie is third in league scoring with 23 goals and 22 assists.  Rookie Brent Moran was in the nets for this one – allowing 4 goals on 31 shots on net.   Niagara is in third place in the Eastern Conference trailing #1 Barrie by only 1 point.  Their record this season is 18-9-1-1.

 Last time these two teams met was back on October 18 where the Icedogs would win in overtime 3-2 on home ice.

 My prediction Brampton 1 Niagara 4

Kingston at Belleville

Kingston (14-12) let an opportunity go by, to gain some ground on their East Division opponents by losing to Oshawa on home ice last night, 4-2. With a win, they could have pulled to within 3 points of Oshawa in the standings. Instead, Kingston finds themselves 7 points back of the Gens. The Fronts didn't start to move their feet until mid way through the game, and by that time they were down 3-0 to the Gens. NHL draft picks, Boone Jenner, Tyler Biggs, and Scott Laughton each scored for the visitors. Kingston tried to be too cute in the neutral zone, and didn't get pucks deep to use their speed.

The Belleville Bulls (15-8-3-1) are 6-2-1-1 in their last ten games. They are coming off of a SO loss to the Petes in Peterborough on Thursday night. Petes' rookie goalkeeper, Michael Giugovaz stopped Michael Curtis, and Joseph Cramarossa in the shootout. Bulls' starter, Charlie Graham allowed goals by Alan Quine, and Nick Ritchie to give the Petes the extra point. Zharkov got his 7th, Joseph Cramarossa his 5th, and Brady Austin his 2nd of the season. They were the Bulls' goal scorers in regulation.

The Bulls will, again, be without OA defenseman, Jake Cardwell, and Austen Brassard (who is the only Bull to have scored against Kingston this season, in two games). They were both suspended after incidents in a wild game against Niagara on Wednesday night.

The two previous meetings between these division rivals resulted in home team shutouts. These are the only two shutouts that the Fronts have been involved in this season. The Bulls shut out Kingston 1-0 on October 27th. Austen Brassard scored the only goal in an entertaining game, with lots of flow, and good physical play. Kingston returned the favour on November 9th with a 2-0 win, in front of over 4200 fans at K-Rock Centre in Kingston. Henri Ikonen broke a scoreless tie with less than 5 minutes left in Regulation time, and Sam Bennett potted an empty netter, in the final minute, to seal the deal.

Kingston Head Coach, Todd Gill, was puzzled by the team's lack of effort in the first half of last night's game, and expects the boys to rebound in Belleville, and get back to what made them so successful last weekend, on the road. When there is no play, he expects the team to keep it simple, and get the puck in deep and work hard on the cycle to generate chances. If they do this on the big ice surface in Belleville, they can beat the Bulls in their own barn.

My prediction  Kingston 3  at  Belleville 2

Sarnia at Peterborough

The Sarnia Sting (14-11-0-2) defeated the Saginaw Spirit on home ice last night, 7-4. With the win, the Sting keep pace with the division leading Plymouth Whalers, who also won at home. Having huge games for the Sting were, former Kingston Frontenac, Charles Sarault, with 2 goals, and 3 assists, and Reid Boucher, with 3 goals and 2 assists.

The Peterborough Petes (6-19-2-1) are only 1 point behind the Ottawa 67s for 4th in the East Division. The won their last game on Thursday night at home, against the Belleville Bulls (4-3 in a shootout). Rookie goalie, Michael Giugovaz was the hero in this one, stopping 2 of 3 shooters. The Petes have 4 of their 6 wins at home.

The Sting defeated the Petes 8-2 on November 24th, in Sarnia. This is the Petes' most lopsided loss of the season. Charles Sarault (1g & 4a) and Reid Boucher (2g) had big games in this one, as well, along with teammate Alex Galchenyuk, who had a goal and 3 assists. Veteran goalie, Andrew D'Agostini started the game and gave up 3 goals in the first period. Rookie, Michael Giugovaz took over at the beginning of the 2nd, and gave up 3 goals on the 3 shots he faced. D'Agostini took over again, 3:13 seconds into the 2nd, with his team down 6-0.

Sarault played his first 3 seasons in the OHL for the Frontenacs, so he played against the Petes 6 times a year. After the first meeting of the season, it is safe to say that the Petes have seen enough of him. Sarault and his teammates will be too much for the Petes, in Peterborough, but I expect this game to be much closer.

My prediction  Sarnia 4  at  Peterborough 3

Kitchener at Plymouth

On the nationally televised CHL game of the week on Sportsnet, Kitchener was able to edge past the improving Windsor Spitfires.  Without the services of top scorer Matt Puempel (shoulder), the Rangers would look for offensive help from any source. McEneny and Bailey were the goal scorers for Kitchener.  A goal early in the third period by the Spitfires notched the game at 2 goals apiece.  Overtime would solve nothing so a shootout was required.  Franky Palazzese wasn’t spectacular in the shootout, but was good enough to give his team a chance to win. Eric Ming scored the decisive shootout goal to give the homeside the victory.   Kitchener is still in the thick of things with 17 wins in their 27 games this season. 

 The Whalers took care of Ottawa on home ice last night 4-1. They would outshoot the visiting 67’s team 48-23.  Plymouth ended the first period with a 2-0 lead and would never look back.

Six of their players have 20 points or more this season.  Stefan Noesen leads the team in goals with 16 – Hartman and Wilson each have 15 assists.   The Whalers are in first place in their division and thus claim second place in the Western Conference. They have won 14 of their 26 games this season – and lost 4 times in overtime.

This game is the Whalers’ annual teddy bear toss so look for the flying stuffed animals after the home side scorers their first goal.  The home side is also providing free and discounted tickets to local armed forces members in their ‘Salute to Heroes’ program.  

 My prediction Kitchener 3 Plymouth 5

Owen Sound at Sault Ste Marie

Last night in Sudbury, the Attack were able to overcome a 42-34 shot deficit to defeat the Wolves by a score of 6-4.  Nathan Pancel was on fire for Sudbury, but the even attack of the Owen Sound squad was able to overcome his hat trick. Offensive leader Cameron Brace continued his prowess with 2 goals and 1 assist including his 20 of the season in a short handed fashion with 1 minute and 1 second remaining in the game.  The Attack now have 19 wins in 27 games as they sit in the third spot – ahead of Guelph by 4 points and trailing London by 3 points.

The Greyhounds were able to outlast the Erie Otters last night 6-4.  Sault Ste Marie peppered the Erie net with 54 shots against the suspect Erie defence including a 23 shot effort in the second period.  The Greyhounds scored 2 goals each period and never trailed at any point in this game. Defenceman Miller, Alderson and Cousins would each collect a goal and an assist.  Sault Ste Marie now has an even 13 wins and 13 losses to go with their 2 overtime losses and are now in a 2 game win streak. They trail Sarnia by 2 points for sixth place in the Western Conference.

 My prediction Owen Sound 5 Sault Ste Marie 2

Ottawa at Saginaw

The Ottawa 67s (7-19-0-2) could become the first OHL team to lose 20 games. They are one point ahead of the Peterborough Petes, who have the worst record in the league. They have given up the most number of goals in the league (118) which translates to 4.21 goals against a game.

Last night in Plymouth, Ottawa goalie Clint Windsor kept the 67s in the game, as he stopped 44 of 47 shots fired at him. Tom Wilson, of the Whalers scored into an empty 67s' goal to give the Whalers a 4-1 victory.   Ottawa dressed only 17 skaters, as Sean Monahan remains out on his 10 game suspension, and Brent Gustavsen is out with an injury.

The Saginaw Spirit (11-14-2-1) were beaten 7-4 in Sarnia last night. Jake Patterson suffered the loss, in a game where the Spirit had no answers for Sarault, Boucher, and Galchenyuk. The 67s have no such trio.

If back-up goalie, Nikita Serebryakov gets the call in this one, for the Spirit, they will be hoping for a performance like he put in - in his two games against the Kingston Frontenacs this season. He basically stole a victory for the Spirit, 2-1 over Kingston, when they visited last Saturday night.

My prediction  Ottawa 2  at Saginaw 4