Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Saturday November 17, 2012
Game Day previews are brought to you by two fans of the OHL .... @notsoheavyd and @frontsfocus . Hope your team does well tonight!
Niagara at Ottawa
The Niagara Ice Dogs (14-7-1-0) have won two straight. They are on a mini two game road trip to Eastern Ontario today and tomorrow. They were actually in the stands to watch their Sunday opponents beat the Petes, last night, at K-Rock Centre. After this game they will travel back to Kingston to tangle with the upstart Frontenacs. On Wednesday night they travelled to Erie and were able to push around the developing Otters squad to the tune of 5-2. The Dogs would never trail as they would benefit from their #1 line’s continued scoring prowess - Strome (2 pts), Ritchie (3 pts) and Theoret (1 goal). Stephen Shipley would be the #1 star of the game as he was effective in the faceoff circle and also added a goal and an assist. The Dogs are tied with the Steelheads for the #3 spot in the conference – each of them 2 points behind the Barrie Colts.
The Ottawa 67s (6-13-0-2) are coming off of a disappointing loss in Peterborough on Thursday night, their 5th in a row. The Petes are now just one point behind Ottawa for last in the 20 team OHL, which is unfamiliar territory for a 67s team. The newest 67, Clint Windsor, allowed all 5 goals to absorb the loss. The game took a bit of an ugly tone near the end, as Stephen Pierog, of the Petes took a match penalty for a slew foot, and was suspended for last night's game in Kingston. Steven Janes and Petes' goalie, Michael Guigovaz were assessed slashing penalties, late in the game as well. Frustration is clearly evident amongst the 67s.
It will be interesting to see how they respond on home ice this afternoon against a very good Ice Dogs team. Scotiabank Place hasn't been kind to the 67s, as they have only 2 wins in 12 home games, so far this season.
My prediction Niagara 6 Ottawa 3
Guelph at Erie
Guelph continues to scrape by as they sit in the middle of the Western Conference standings with 28 points in 23 games. The Storm have only won 4 of their last 10 games, but have an overall .609 winning percentage this season. After they were shaved 2-1 by Belleville on Wednesday, they would erupt for 7 goals in their victory at home vs. the Steelheads on Friday. They would end the first period with a 3-1 and even score twice on the five shots they had in the second period. Spencer Martin had a forgettable game for Mississauga allowing 4 goals on 17 shots. Tanner Richard leads the team with 27 points this season.
Erie is in the basement with only 15 points in 22 games – they have lost their last 2 games, and only 3 of their last 10. Connor Brown leads the team in scoring (30) and goals (16) with a league leading 11 goals on the powerplay. Connor McDavid is second on the team in scoring with 28 points and a team high +6 rating. Friday night they struggled to get anything going against a solid Kitchener team who outshot them 56 – 30. An early powerplay goal in the third period by Connor McDavid would give them a glimmer of hope to draw even, but an empty net goal by Tobias Rieder would seal the game for the Rangers 3-1. Devin Williams was special in this game with 53 saves on 55 shots.
My prediction Guelph 2 Erie 3 (OT)
Plymouth at Belleville
The Plymouth Whalers (10-7-2-1) have lost two straight. They lost a wild, 8-7 contest on Wednesday night. Matt Mahalak allowed the first 3 goals in the first 12 minutes of the game, and then gave way to backup, Riley Corbin, who allowed the final 5. Jimmy Lodge had his best game for the Spirit, as he scored 2 goals and had 2 assists. Plymouth had a 6-5 lead late in the second, but couldn't hold it. Stephan Noesen lead the way for Plymouth with 2 goals and 2 assists. Tom Wilson had a goal and 2 helpers, as did linemate, Rickard Rakell. The top line for Plymouth continues to produce.
The Bulls (11-7-3-0) lost their share of first in the East Division with a 5-1 loss in Oshawa, last night. The Generals' snipers made the most of their opportunities, as Cole Cassells, and Tyler Biggs each had a pair. The game wasn't nearly as one sided as the score indicates, as Belleville had possession in the offensive zone for extended periods of time. The difference was that, for whatever reason, the Bulls' forwards haven't been able to make the most of their chances. That remains the theme for Belleville, as Brendan Gaunce remains the only Bulls' forward to have 10 points on the year. Due to a separated shoulder, he has only managed to play in 13 of the team's 21 games. The Bulls have scored the fewest goals in the league, but have allowed the second fewest, in large part because of the reliable netminding of Malcolm Subban.
I expect a tough, physical battle tonight in Belleville as that is how the Bulls have to play to be successful. Plymouth has some big, skilled forwards who drive the net well and put pressure on team's defenses. When George Burnett's team finishes their checks, and bottles things up in the centre of the ice, they are a frustrating team to play against. Both teams kill penalties well, but are ranked 17th (Plymouth) and 18th (Belleville) in the league on the powerplay.
On September 22nd, the Bulls were down 2-0 to the Whalers early in the game, but battled back to eventually win, in Plymouth, 3-2 in a shootout.
My prediction Plymouth 3 at Belleville 2
Mississauga at Peterborough
Both teams are coming off disappointing road losses last night. Peterborough's frustration in losing 7-3 in Kingston manifested itself, as, from the bench, captain, Slater Koekkoek grabbed Kingston rookie Sam Bennett in a headlock, near the end of the game. Clearly Koekkoek doesn't like to lose. Peterborough's big line of Alan Quine, Francis Menard, and Nick Ritchie were badly outplayed by Kingston's line of Ryan Kujawinski, Billy Jenkins, and Samuel Schutt. The three Petes ended the game with a -4 rating. The Petes are 2-8 in their last 10 games.
Mississauga (14-6-0-1) lost in Guelph 7-2 last night. Spencer Martin was pulled from the game early in the 2nd period, as he had given up his 4th goal on his 17 shot. Martin has been outstanding for the Steelheads, as he has a 2.47 GAA, and a .923 save percentage. He has an 11-3 won-loss record. Mississauga's backup, Tyson Teichmann, who took over for Martin last night, is likely to get the start tonight, in Peterborough, partly because of his past success against the Petes. He has 5 career wins against them, many when he was Belleville's starter, at the beginning of his career. The Steelheads are 8-2 in their last 10 games.
Peterborough will be playing their 3rd in 3 nights, Mississauga their 2nd in 3 nights. Fatigue may be more of a factor for the Petes, as they have so many players just nicely back into their lineup, after lengthy injuries or illnesses.
These two teams have met twice in Mississauga this season - the Steelheads prevailed 4-1, and 2-1 in close checking affairs. The last game on November 11th took on a nasty tone, as there were a couple of fights, and several checking from behind penalties, near the end of the game. Stephen Pierog returns to the Petes lineup tonight after serving his one game suspension.
My prediction Mississauga 3 at Peterborough 2
Brampton at Saginaw
The Battalion have struggled on the road, but not been blown out very often. Their record away from the Bunker in their last 10 games is 3-4-2-1. On this recent road trip they lost in Sudbury 4-3. In Sault Ste Marie they would trail 2-0 early, then score four straight goals en route to a 4-3 victory. They were able to fire 46 shots on net in this game. Barclay Goodrow has scored 5 goals in the past 4 games – Blake Clarke leads the team with 6 goals and 14 assists.
Saginaw continues to search for positive results as they have struggled at many points this season. The Spirit and Greyhounds have given up the second most goals in the OHL this season (Peterborough has surrendered 2 more than them). Saginaw is also one of the higher scoring teams – they have won games with eight goals twice and also lost twice where they gave up eight goals. On Wednesday they were embarrassed at Windsor 6-1 as the Spits were able to score 3 times on 9 powerplay chances. Saginaw was outshot 40-28 and were only able to muster 5 shots in the second period and 6 shots in the third period.
My prediction Brampton 2 Saginaw 4
Windsor at Barrie
The Spits are coming off an impressive 7-1 victory over the Saginaw Spirit on Thursday night in Windsor. Pavelka would have one of his better games this season with 27 stops on 28 shots fired his way. Kerby Rychel had a career high 5 points in this game - 2 goals and 3 assists. The Spits soldier on near the back of the pack in the Western Conference with 22 points in 21 games and a .524 winning percentage.
The Colts have an impressive record at home of 8-1-0-1. They continue to lead the OHL Eastern Conference by 2 points over Mississauga and Niagara – London Knights have the overall OHL lead by 1 point. Thursday night the Colts would outlast a resilient Sarnia squad 5-3. A late third period goal by Camara would force the Sting to pull their goalie – which would lead to another Barrie goal to ‘seal the deal’. Andreas Athanasiou would tally 2 goals in this contest and also be awarded first star honours.
My prediction Windsor 3 Barrie 5
Kitchener at Owen Sound
The Rangers survived Devin Williams of the Erie Otters on Friday night in Kitchener. He stopped 53 of 55 shots fired his way. Matt Puempel leads the team with 17 goals (tied for 3rd in the OHL) with 6 of his goals coming on the powerplay. The rejuvenated Kitchener squad is in fourth place in the Western Conference with 30 points – only 2 away from the OHL lead. Next week they will host #1 London and #2 Sarnia.
The Attack were in tough last night vs. the gelling London Knights squad. After a 2-1 lead, the Attack surrendered 4 straight goals (last one was on an empty net) en route to a 5-2 loss at London. Daniel Catenacci pocketed 2 assists in the game giving him 3 goals and 7 assists in his last 3 games. Owen Sound has one more point than Kitchener this season – the only difference between the teams is that Owen Sound has 1 more shootout loss than Kitchener.
My prediction Kitchener 3 Owen Sound 4