Guelph at Niagara

The return of Kerby Rychel will be a ‘shot in the arm’ for the Storm.  Guelph is third in the Western Conference and only 3 points behind the #1 Erie Otters for top spot in the league.   Guelph has only 8 losses, 2 overtime losses and 1 shootout loss. They are looking to beat the Icedogs in regulation this time (won at home in the shootout Oct 18).  Local boy Justin Nichols (St. Catharines, ON) has 20 wins in his 30 starts this season.

Niagara has points in their past three starts. They will be happy to have their #2 scorer Carter Verhaeghe back in the lineup (shoulder) and were buoyed last weekend by the return of Eric Ming (knee).  They are currently in the #9 spot tied for points with #8 Ottawa.  The Icedogs have only 12 wins this season in 39 starts.
Guelph by 3 goals. 

Mississauga at North Bay
The Steelheads got quite a bit weaker with their recent trades, but have a few players and picks to show for trading away top forward Smoskowitz (20 goals in 40 games this season) and D-man Carrick (31 points in 41 games played this season).  The Steelheads are in seventh place with 36 points this season.

North Bay is two spots ahead in the standings with 43 points.  They have points in their past 4 games.  Newcomer Zack Bratina has 1 goal in 5 games since coming over from the Spirit.
North Bay by 2 goals

Belleville at Peterborough
Belleville continues to plod along at the bottom of the standings with a record of 11-25-2-2 and a 4 point defecit from ninth place in the Eastern Conference.  They have 4 wins in their past 10 starts. 

Peterborough is at #6 in the conference, but only lead the Bulls by 10 points.  The Petes have won 5 of their past 10 starts, but dropped their last game.  They were trounced by the Kingston Frontenacs 9-0 … the Petes will be eager for a better performance tonight!!
Peterborough by 2 goals

Ottawa at Windsor
The 67’s continue their quest for playoff relevance as they battle back and forth with Niagara for the #8 spot in the Eastern Conference.  They have 3 wins in their past 10 games including a thrilling 6-5 OT home victory vs. the Battalion last Saturday.  In that game, 6 different players scored for the team – including recently traded Joseph Blandisi.  After this game, Ottawa will play back to back games at Saginaw and then at Plymouth.

Windsor is in slot #5 in the Western Conference – they seem to be floating by themselves.  They are 9 points behind the #4 Knights and 5 points ahead of the Attack.  They have performed way ahead of expectations to be at this level in the standings!!  They have lost their past 2 games.  Windsor will play at Niagara on Saturday and then at Erie on Sunday to complete their weekend schedule.
Windsor by 2 goals.

Erie at Barrie
The Otters made a solid addition to their defence corps with a trade today bringing over the Attack’s MacDermid in exchange for draft picks.  This will be an interesting game for Erie as they insert their WJHC players back into the lineup as well as their U17 top performer Dylan Strome.  Erie continues to lead the OHL with a record of 31-7-2-0.

Barrie is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 20-16-1-2.  They have won 5 of their past 10 games and have the tiebreaker against the #5 North Bay Battalion.  #3 scorer on the team – Mitchell Theoret has not played since Dec 29.  AA continues to lead the way offensively with 49 points in 37 GP.  Their forward lines have been bolstered by the recent addition of Blandisi from the 67’s, but that in itself will not be enough for the Colts to bring this one home.
Erie by 3