Pictured is Francis Menard who currently leads the Peterborough Petes in scoring.
Kingston at Brampton
The Kingston Frontenacs are off to their best start since they won their first four games in the 1997-98 season, which is the last time the team advanced to the second round of the OHL playoffs. Kingston has started 3-0, with wins over Barrie, Erie, and Niagara.
The Fronts have done it behind solid goaltending from overager, Mike Morrison, who they picked up as a free agent from the Peterborough Petes. Ryan Kujawinski has picked up where he left off since being acquired for Ryan Spooner in January, winning OHL player of the week, for his efforts last week. Billy Jenkins has played very well, as well. Veterans Michael Moffat and Warren Steele have excelled on defense.
Playing on the road for the first time will be a real test for the young group of Frontenacs. Playing in Brampton is always a frustrating thing to do for the visiting team, as the Battalion are always a good defensive team, who block shots well, and clog up the centre of the ice. The Battalion (1-2-0-1) have a solid goalkeeper in Matej Machovsky, who will be looking to rebound after being pulled in his last game in Oshawa last Sunday, after giving up 3 goals prior to the nine minute mark of the first period.
The Battalion have only managed 7 goals in their first 4 games, and coach and GM, Stan Butler will be looking for a little more offense from his veterans, like Barclay Goodrow, and former Frontenac, Derek Froats. Blueliner Spencer Abraham was traded yesterday to the Erie Otters.
My prediction Brampton 2 Kingston 4
Mississauga at Niagara
The Steelheads make their first visit to St. Catharines with their new logos but a similar flavoured defensive team as last season Last weekend they would edge out the Windsor Spitfires in the shootout and then drop a 4-1 decision at Barrie. In fact two of their first four games have been against Barrie (1 win / 1 loss). Brace and DeMelo lead the team with 3 points each in the team’s 4 games. Teichmann (3.00 GAA) and Martin (1.45 GAA) have platooned in goal so far with
The Icedogs are home from last weekend’s Eastern roadtrip where they put the laces to their arch rivals from Ottawa 4-2 and then dropped a close 5-4 game to a much improved Kingston squad. Chatter from Coach Williamson on a local radio talk show indicated that the top line of Ritchie/Strome/DiFruschia may be split up for this game. Carter Verhaeghe has had a quiet sophomore season with only one assist to date. Watch out for Dougie Hamilton catching the visitor’s forwards coming near his blueline. He, Strome and fellow blueliner Luke Mercer are tied for the team lead with a +6 rating.
My prediction Mississauga 1 Niagara 3
Sudbury at Peterborough
The Sudbury Wolves (2-3-0) have been an entirely different team on home ice and on the road. They started the year with two convincing home ice victories over last year's playoff opponents, the Brampton Battalion, and the Oshawa Generals. Then they lost three straight on the road, against the Saginaw Spirit, Plymouth Whalers,
and most recently, the Windsor Spitfires. Offense on the road has been an issue, as they have only managed four goals in three games. Nathan Pancel leads the way for the Wolves with 5 points in 5 games. First Import
Pick, Dominik Kubalik has shown an offensive flair with 3 goals, so far. Josh Leivo will be counted on to produce this season, as well.
The Petes (1-3-0) are coming off two 5-1 losses this past weekend. Erie beat them on home ice on Thursday night, and the Generals beat them in Oshawa on Friday night. Francis Menard, acquired from the Guelph Storm in the summer, leads the team in scoring. Menard, an overager, was Guelph's second leading scorer last
season. The Petes are offensively challenged after that, as no player has more than 2 points after 4 games.
My prediction Sudbury 4 Peterborough 2
Guelph at Windsor
The seesaw season continues for the Storm – they have not won or lost 2 consecutive games yet this season. Guelph is riding high after an emotional 4-1 win at London. Scott Kosmachuk would have a break out game scoring 2 goals and assisting on another. Garrett Sparks would stop 44 of 45 shots and earn first star honours. Cody McNaughton had x-rays after a ‘scary injury’ in the second period after he got tangled up with London Defenceman Hughes. He was examined and released from hospitable but is still recovering from head/neck/back injuries. Don’t expect to see him play this weekend. In the past 2 games, the Storm’s powerplay is 1/15 (ouch).
The Spitfires find themselves at the top of the Western Conference to start the weekend – with a record of 3 wins, 1 loss and 1 shootout loss. The lost a shootout in Mississauga last weekend. They then had a very successful Sunday afternoon game with the Sudbury Wolves defeating them 5-2. Brady Vail had a big game with 2 goals and 2 assists to earn first star honours.
Tonight at 6 pm John Vanbiesbrouck will be speaking pre-game as part of a ‘Faith Game’ promotion. After this match, the Spits will venture to London to play the tough Knights team on Friday night
My prediction Guelph 2 Windsor 3.