Pictured is the energetic Jordan Subban –Defenceman for the Belleville Bulls. He currently leads the team with 7 goals and 20 assists. Three of his goals this season have been on the powerplay. His -3 rating is much better than last year’s final -23 rating. In his team’s New Year’s Day loss to the Peterborough Petes he collected a goal and an assist to go along with first star honours. He was stopped in the shootout to break his previously perfect 5 for 5 solo record.
Oshawa at Brampton
The Generals are 2 points behind Belleville for top spot in their division and the Battalion only trail the Generals by one slim point for fourth place in the conference. In 38 games played, the Generals have 21 wins – the Battalion have 19 wins in 39 games played this season. Oshawa has dropped their last 2 games whereas the Battalion have points in their last 4 games.
Where will Oshawa’s scoring come from? Their top 2 scorers (Jenner, Biggs) remain overseas at the WJCH tournament, Laughton was held off the scoresheet last game (and had a -2 rating), Dal Colle last scored on December 09 and Petgrave is still on the shelf with an injury.
For the Battalion, the offence has relied on steady production from Barclay Goodrow. He had 10 points in 10 games in December for the team. He has scored 23 goals which is 3 shy of his career high for a season. Rookie Blake Clarke has scored 5 goals in the past three games and is tied with Goodrow for the team’s point lead with 33.
The Battalion will travel to Sudbury for Friday night’s game and then return home to host the 67’s on Sunday afternoon. Next week they go on a Western Conference road trip to Windsor and Plymouth. The Generals will play at Kingston tomorrow night and then on the road again next week in Ottawa.
My prediction Oshawa 2 Brampton 4
Barrie at Niagara
Barrie is missing their top two guns (Schiefele and Camara) and have struggled to play as the top team in the Eastern Conference. In their last game, they were outmatched by the Sudbury Wolves 4-1. The Colts were outshot 55 to 39 in that game. Other top offensive players include Beyers (10 pts in 8 games in December) and Hall (3 goals in the past 2 games). The Colts will play at Erie tomorrow night, and then return home to host the 67’s on Sunday afternoon.
Barrie has 24 wins in their 36 games this season good for 49 points. Niagara has 22 wins in 38 games good for 46 points.
The Icedogs are coming off an emotional home victory vs. the upstart Erie Otters. After falling behind early in the game 3-1, Festarini was replaced by the inexperienced Bo Bessette. He was able to ‘steady the ship’ and help the Dogs fight back and take a strangle hold of the game and a final 7-4 victory. Stephen Shipley notched his 16th, 17th and 18th goals of the season. Rookie Hayden received accolades from the Coach for his improving play, 2 assists and a +2 rating.
Niagara continues to struggle without their top 3 players who are away at the WJHC – the trade winds continue to blow around the rumor mill. The Dogs will travel to Mississauga for tomorrow night’s game and then host the Sarnia Sting on Sunday afternoon.
My prediction Barrie 2 Niagara 3 (OT)
Sault Ste Marie at Ottawa
The Greyhounds start their three game Eastern road trip with a tangle in Ottawa with the newly energized 67’s squad. They still remember their home game 2 months ago when the 67’s ran them out of their rink to the tune of 6-1. The Greyhounds have won 6 of their last 10 games, and looked very good in dismantling the Icedogs and Saginaw recently. Their loss at Sudbury – between the wins – was a lacklustre team performance. They were outshot 40 – 27 and gave up 3 powerplay goals on 7 chances. Their own powerplay was 0 for 3. Matt Murray will get the start in goal – but expect rookie Nichols to start the next game for them.
The Greyhounds start this weekend in seventh place in the Western Conference only 2 points behind Plymouth and comfortably ahead of Saginaw by 5 points.
Ottawa is on the verge of pulling the trigger on some major moves as they flounder near the bottom of the Eastern Conference. The 67’s are 13 points away from the last playoff spot. They are the fourth highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference(126 goals), but dead last in the entire league in goals given up (167 goals). The Greyhounds are -5 in this area. Noteworthy that Ottawa has won every other game in their past 8 contests.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 4 Ottawa 1
Belleville at Peterborough
This is a rematch of the New Year’s Day shootout game where the Petes would come out on top. Belleville would push 3 goals past D’Agostini for a brief 3-2 lead heading into the third frame. Nosad would tie the game at the 7:56 mark of the third period. Belleville has earned points in their last three games and have won 6 of their last 10 games. They sit in second place in the Eastern Conference with a slim 2 point lead over the Oshawa Generals. The Bulls also trail Barrie by only 2 points for first place overall in the Conference.
Peterborough is trying to claw it’s way out of the basement – they trail Ottawa by only 1 point. Both the Petes and 67’s have only won 4 of their last 10 games although each won their last game played. Francis Menard leads the team in scoring this season with 15 goals and 17 assists. He had 7 points in 9 games played in December. Slater Koekkoek is second on the team with 6 goals and 21 assists. His team low -26 rating rivals his -29 rating from 2 seasons ago. He has a -62 total rating over 129 career OHL games.
After this game the Petes will play a home-home series with the slumping Kitchener Rangers. The Bulls will conclude their weekend action when they host the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds on Saturday night.
My prediction Belleville 3 Peterborough 2