Pictured is one of the league's hottest players on one of the league's hottest teams. Matthew Campagna, of the Sudbury Wolves has points in 18 consecutive games. The Wolves are 9-0-2-1 in their last 12 games. The Wolves are in Brampton this afternoon.
Last night there was plenty of action and drama in the league. 1. Belleville continues to roll with an overtime win against the revamped Windsor Spitfires 2. London finally loses in regulation, 5-2 vs. Saginaw 3. Owen Sound shellacked the slumping Kingston Frontenacs 7-0.
Sudbury at Brampton
The Wolves continue to post positive results despite dealing away their top end offensive and defensive talent at the recent trading deadline. Last night in Peterborough, the Wolves would scratch out a 4-3 shootout win. Late in the game the Petes scored to set the game at 3-2. Nathan Pancel would bang home a goal with only 1:03 remaining to send things to overtime. In the shootout, only Kahun would score as Palazzese would stop all three Petes’ shooters. Pancel finished the game with three points (2 goals and 4 assists in 4 games this month) and Campagna added three points (18 consecutive games with at least a point).
The Battalion need to draw up a different battle plan as they were lambasted at Windsor 3-0 on Thursday night. Goaltender Machovsky would play the first two period and gave up all three goals on only 16 shots. The Spits goalie Pavelka would record his first shutout in 34 games this season (3 SO last year in 34 games). The Battalion have not won a game in their last 5 – and have only won 3 of their last 10. Brampton’s strategy of ‘standing pat’ at the trade deadline has not helped their cause at all. They are currently in sixth place in the standing. They have a slim 2 point lead over the drowning Steelheads and a 3 point lead over the stumbling Frontenacs. Next week they play at Kitchener and then host 3 consecutive games to close out the month of January. Barclay Goodrow has not played yet in January . Newcomer Francis Menard has1 assist in the two games played for his new team. Rookie Blake Clarke had 11 points in 11 games last month but only has 2 points in 5 games played in January.
My prediction Sudbury 3 Brampton 2 (OT)
Kingston at Guelph
The Kingston Frontenacs are struggling this weekend, so far. They have lost one sided games to Belleville, at home on Friday night, and 7-0 in Owen Sound last night. Their goalkeeping hasn't been nearly good enough, and the rest of the team seems content to stand around and watch the other team skate around, or through them. Kingston looked like the better team in the first half of the 1st period on Friday night, as they held a 2-0 lead, 12 minutes into the game, in front of their first sell-out since their opening night in the K-Rock Centre on February 22, 2008. Since the mid way point of that first period, Kingston has been outscored 15-0! Obviously the Frontenacs will need to tighten up defensively, and battle for loose pucks in all three zones to be competitive with the Storm, in Guelph, this afternoon.
The Guelph storm hold down the 6th spot in the tight, Western Conference. They are 11-8-0-1 on home ice including a 3-2 win, on Friday night, over the Barrie Colts, who lead the Eastern Conference. Scott Kosmachuk scored his 20th, and 21st in this one, and Garret Sparks stopped 24 of 26 shots fired his way. Tanner Richard is eligible to return after sitting out his one game suspension, but the OHL's leading penalty minute player (tied with Scott Sabourin of the Gens), Andrey Pedan will miss his second of a 2 game suspension, this afternoon.
My prediction Kingston 3 at Guelph 4
Niagara at Kitchener
Last night in Barrie, the Icedogs would fall behind after one period 2-1 and never recover. The Colts would keep the pressure on all game including a third period 17 shot barrage leading to a 5-1 final score. Shane Rover had the lone goal – his fifth of the season and sixth career goal in 234 OHL games. With the loss, Niagara are sandwiched in fourth place just 2 point behind the surging Oshawa Generals and 2 points ahead of the Sudbury Wolves. The loss of Strome, Ritchie and Hamilton and trading of Theoret are being felt.
The Kitchener Rangers are doing well with their new additions from Sudbury.
They are undefeated in their last three games and are also in fourth place in their conference. They have 52 points just 2 ahead of Plymouth and 4 behind the Owen Sound Attack. Last night they hosted the Sarnia Sting but would only get 2 assists from their new additions. Brent Pederson would have a career game with 2 goals and an assist – four of his eight goals this season have been tallied in the last three games. Josh Sterk would add a goal and an assist (and a +4 rating). John Gibson returned to the nets and stopped 29 of 30 shots for third star honours.
My prediction Niagara 2 Kitchener 5
Windsor at Oshawa
The Windsor Spitfires are playing much better hockey after suffering through a recent 7 game losing streak. They shut out the Battalion 3-0 on Thursday night, ending a 21 period stretch where they had given up at least a goal, and lost 4-3 in a SO in Belleville, last night. Alex Khokhlachev scored his first two goals on the season, after returning to the Spits after the WJC in Russia. Other newcomer, Slater Koekkoek had the primary assist on Koko's game tying goal in the 3rd period, which sent the game to overtime. Alex Aleardi has two assists in the two games he has played for Windsor, since his trade from the Whalers.
The Oshawa Generals are 7-3 in their last ten, and have won their last two games, but remain two points behind the suddenly hot, Belleville Bulls, in the East Division. Boone Jenner and Scott Laughton are attending NHL training camps, so it will be interesting to see if the Gens can keep winning. On Wednesday night, they shut out the struggling Ottawa 67s, 2-0, at Scotiabank Place, with both goals coming from Boone Jenner. On Friday night, the Gens beat the much improved, Peterborough Petes, in a SO, 4-3. Boone Jenner scored once, and Scott Laughton picked up an assist. It was Bradley Latour, and Michael Dal Colle who would be the heroes in the shootout, however, as they were the only Gens to beat Petes' goalie, Michael Giugovaz, in the 6 player aside, shootout. That game was played in front of a record home crowd for the Generals, at General Motors Centre, of 6269.
Without three of their big guns in the injured Lucas Lessio (who has only played in 13 games, with his wrist injury), and Jenner, and Laughton, I am going to predict an upset in this one.
My prediction Windsor 4 at Oshawa 2
London at Sault Ste Marie
The London Knights finally lose in regulation! What a magnificent run they pulled off in the heart of the season. It will be interesting to see if they are able to regroup and pull off a win at the Essar Centre in Sault Ste Marie. In last night’s game, the Sting were able to build up a 3-0 lead early in the second period which prompted the replacement of London’s goalie Jake Patterson. Both teams would trade goals in the second period for a 4-2 score at the end of that frame. An empty net shorthanded goal would produce the final score of 5-2. Broadhurts and Horvat were the goal scorers. Bo Horvat kept his 17 game point scoring streak alive despite the loss. The Knights have only lost 3 times on the road this season.
The Greyhounds were not very nice hosts last night vs. the Mississauga Steelheads. They would outshoot the visitors each period finishing with a 41-32 advantage in the game. The Steelheads struck at the 1:06 point of the first period but were not able to get anything else past Matt Murray. Nurse scored a powerplay goal in the second, Gaudet scored late in the third period and then Broll would add an empty net goal to ‘seal the deal’. They have a reputable home record of 14-7-2-0 this season. With the win, the Hounds now have 47 points and sit in seventh place. They have 7 wins in the their last 10 games. Guelph is only ahead of them by 2 points in the standings and Plymouth is ahead by 3.
My prediction London 5 Sault Ste Marie 3