Teams in the East Division of the OHL are going to be glad to see the end of this weekend. Since Thursday night, the 5 OHL East teams have won only two of nine games. It's not that they have played particularly poorly, but they have run into some very hot Western Conference teams on the road.
Barrie at Brampton
This is the start of a home/home series between these 2 teams. Barrie kept up to the visiting London Knight last night in Barrie. The Colts would rally from a 2-0 deficit in the third period – goals by Camara and Byers would tie the game and send it to overtime. The extra frame would not solve anything so a shootout was required. Matt Rupert snuck one by Niederberger’s post to give the visitors the victory. Barrie retains the league’s best record of 9-2-0-1 and a respectable CHL ranking so look for them to bounce back in this match.
Brampton exploded on Friday night with 4 straight goals and cruised to a 4-1 victory over the visiting Windsor Spitfires. Goal scorers were Lewis, Goodrow, Clarke and Jarvis with his first goal in 67 OHL contests. Their powerplay would go 0/5 on the night. Jake Smith had a solid night but look for Machovsky to return to the pipes for this game. The Battalion are cruising in the middle of the Eastern Conference standings with a record of 4-4-2-2.
My prediction Barrie 4 Brampton 2
London at Sudbury
The Knights played in Barrie last night and came out with a 3-2 shootout victory. They peppered Barrie with 40 shots but were only able to post goals from Platzer and Anderson (both in the second period). This 2-0 lead would evaporate from early third period goals from the Colts’ Camara and Ekblad. Matt Rupert put the puck past Niederberger in the shootout to give the Knights the victory. Jake Paterson was solid throughout the game and determined during the extra time as well. The win puts the London Knights into the #5 spot in the Western Conference and pushes their record to 6-3-0-1. They have outscored the opposition by 16 goals this season (* first 2 games were 8 goal bonanza’s though)
Earlier this week Sudbury was in Sault Ste Marie where they were handed a 3-1 loss at the hands of the Greyhounds. On Friday night the Wolves would host the Belleville Bulls and have a better result with a 3-2 victory. The Wolves would unlock the 2-2 game with a goal by Huether in the first part of the third period. They were only able to muster 5 shots on goal in the third period. Both of the opposition’s goals were on the powerplay. Corbett and Dodero both notched a +2 rating in the game. Sudbury and Brampton are both ‘middle of the pack’ with 13 points and a .500 win percentage.
My prediction London 4 Sudbury 1
Plymouth at Oshawa
Oshawa (8-3-0-1) returns home after winning a very close game last night in Owen Sound which ended the Attack's 5 game winning streak. Veterans Geoffrey Schemitsch, and Scott Laughton scored second period goals, and Daniel Altshuller stopped 26 of 27 shots to preserve a 2-1 win for the Generals.
The Whalers (4-3-2-1) arrived in Oshawa on a high, after winning their first two road games of the season, in Peterborough, on Thursday night, and in Kingston on Friday night. The Whalers have taken it to their Eastern opponents with an aggressive forechecking style. Despite a slim 2-1 result in Peterborough, the Whalers dominated the Petes. The game was kept close by Petes' goalie, Andrew D'Agostini, who blocked 39 of 41 shots. Plymouth limited the Petes to just 24 shots. In Kingston, the Whalers came at the young Fronts in waves, and scored in bunches. Kingston didn't respond to the Whalers physical play early on and were buzzing in the offensive zone all night. Ryan Hartman was named the game's first star and collected a ‘Gordie Howe hattrick’ (a goal, two assists and a fight). The big line of Tom Wilson, Rickard Rakell, and Stefan Noesen (all first round NHL draft picks) were dominant in this match.
This should be an excellent, hard fought, physical game. The Whalers will be the more rested team, as they enjoyed an off day in Oshawa yesterday. Oshawa will be playing their 3rd game in three nights, so fatigue may be a factor.
My prediction Plymouth 4 at Oshawa 3
Kingston at Kitchener
The Kingston Frontenacs (5-5-0-0) were dominated in every aspect of the game when they lost 8-3 on home ice to the Whalers on Friday night. Coach Gill described their defensive zone coverage as a "Chinese fire drill", at times, as they were continually running around. They were dominated physically and on the score sheet. The Fronts got away from the system that they need to play, in order to be successful. They rebounded in St. Catharines, last night, but after taking a 2-0 lead, on goals by Billy Jenkins (4th), and Trevor Morbeck (3rd), the wheels came off. 29 seconds after Morbeck's goal, defensive defenseman, Shayne Rover scored just his third goal in his 204th OHL game. A minute and a half later, at 19:59 of the 1st, Brett Richie scored to tie it. Kingston never recovered, and suffered a 4-2 loss.
The Kitchener Rangers (5-4-0-1) will be looking for revenge over the Fronts, as they lost at K-Rock 3-2 on October 12th. Finnish Import, Henri Ikonen notched his first two OHL goals, for the Fronts in that game, and Trevor Morbeck scored his first of the year.
The Rangers have enjoyed their weekend, so far. They defeated the Generals 6-2 in their long-awaited, home opener, on Friday night, and scored a 5-3 win in Sarnia last night. Two goals each by Eric Ming, and Martia Marcantuoni, and 4 assists by Ryan Murphy lead the Rangers to a victory over Oshawa. Tobias Reider scored twice and goaltender John Gibson stopped 26 shots to record his second consecutive, weekend win, in Sarnia.
Expect former Frontenac goalie, Franky Palazesse to start for Kitchener, and former Ranger goalie, Mike Morrison to start for Kingston in this game.
I expect the Fronts to rebound and play Coach Gill's system but at this stage of their development, a win in Kitchener by the young Frontenacs, may be too tall an order.
My prediction Kingston 3 at Kitchener 5
Guelph at Sault Ste Marie
Last night in Saginaw the Guelph Storm were involved in a high scoring affair vs. the Saginaw Spirit. Both teams had the offensive juices flowing – Guelph had 40 shots on net while Saginaw posted 46. Guelph would score early in the first period and never give up the lead en route to an offensive showcase 8-5 final. Captain Matt Finn collected 2 goals, an assist and second star honours. Hunter Garlant was very involved as well with 1 goal and 3 assists to compliment his first star honours. This win gives the Storm an impressive 8-2-0-1 record. This is the same as the Owen Sound Attack which is tops in the Western Conference.
Sault Ste Marie did have the conference lead early in the season, but have slipped a little recently. This week they have split their games at home vs Sudbury (3-1 win Wednesday) and Belleville (5-3 loss Thursday). In the Belleville match, they would give up a 2-0 lead before coming back to tie things up. The visitors would notch 3 straight goals before a late goal would make the defecit appear smaller. Buonomo, Schumacher and Tolchinsky would score for the Greyhounds. Next weekend the team will travel to Niagara, Erie and then a rematch in Guelph.
My prediction Guelph 3 Sault Ste Marie 4