OHL Game Day Previews forThursday October 11 2012
Article by John Duncan (@FrontsFocus) and Dwayne Williams (@notsoheavyd)
Pictured is Ryan Strome of the NiagaraIcedogs. The New York Islanders draft pick currently leads his team with 10points in 8 games this season. TheIcedogs host the Ottawa 67’s in a rematch of last year’s OHL Eastern ConferenceFinal.
Ottawa at Niagara
The67's are off to their worst start in a least 15 years. Offense hasn't beentheir problem - averaged 4 goals a game. In their 5 losses, 1 by one goal, 3 others with an empty net goalagainst in the final minute. 4 home ice losses, 7 of next 10 on road - all 7 -teams are .500 or better.
KeeganWilson should play this weekend after a groin problem kept him out. Slovakian Import pick, Richard Mraz isexpected to join team this weekend - a forward the team has high hopesfor. Injury report includes Cajkovsky -blood work getting done, to see if he has something more than the flu and SeanCallaghan still out after having his finger stepped on during a recent fight.
Monahanremains hot offensively - tied for 8th in league with 10 points, Ceci is tiedfor 4th among D with 7 pts., 2nd line centre Graovac is tied for 6th in leaguewith 5 goals.
Niagara is in the midst of 7 games in 11days. They are probably happy to be home after last weekend’s trip to Plymouthand Saginaw followed closely by a day trip to Peterborough. In those threegames, they would win at Saginaw, get shutout at Plymouth and get edged out by the fledgling Petes squad. Strome and Ritchie both have 10 points tolead the team offensively. The Icedogs will be raring to go and should get backin the win column here.
My prediction Ottawa 2 Niagara 5
TheFrontenacs came back to earth this past weekend, with 3 straight losses afterstarting the year with 3 wins. Winningon the road is something that this youngteam will need to do. Coach Gill talks of attempting to keep his young team onan even keel, that one of his main jobs is to teach them to protect a lead. Hemaintains that they haven't played poorly, and reminds critics that he has four16 year olds, two Finns and a number of other kids who haven't played in theleague before, and it will take time to teach them to win.
TheFronts are hoping for the return of veterans Kyler Nixon on D, and TrevorMorbeck, up front, who was very productive on a line Jenkins, and RyanKujawinski, at the end of last season. Morbeck has not recorded a point in 4 games this season.
Afterrelieving GM David Reid of his duties, the Petes beat the Ice Dogs inPeterborough, by the score of 3-1. Francis Menard, who is leading the Petes, offensively, this season, with9 pts in 7 games, lead the way Tuesday night with a goal and two assists. The story of the game was the excellentgoalkeeping of rookie, Michael Giugovaz, and his 40 save performance. Defenseman, Slater Koekkoek had a stronggame, as well, with a goal and an assist.
Lookfor the Fronts to put it together and win their first road game of the season.
Myprediction Kingston 4 Peterborough 3
Sault Ste Marie at Windsor
Newly minted captain for the Greyhounds isthird year player/LA Kings draft pick Colin Miller. The defenseman has playedin only 3 games this season, and is not expected to suit up for the Greyhoundstonight. Ryan Sproul and Nick Halagianremain on the sidelines with their respective injuries. Entering tonight’s action, Nick Cousins(Flyers) leads the offense with 12points in 7 games, second only to the General’s Boone Jenner in the OHL. Darnell Nurse and, former Frontenac, AlexGudbranson, are the top defensive pairing, with a plus+7 rating. GoaltenderMatt Murray has been strong, and has started all 7 of the Soo’s games, so far.
The Windsor Spitfires lost their threegames last weekend, including in a SO to Sarnia on Monday afternoon, on home ice. Their road trip to Guelph and London were adisaster, as they were shutout 5-0 in Guelph on Thursday, and defeated 8-2 inLondon. Jaroslav Pavelka was shelledwith over 40 shots in each of the road games. Brady Vail leads the way offensively for the Spits, with 10 points in 8games.
This game is a matchup of two highlyregarded young stars in the OHL with the Soo’s Russian, Import pick, SergeyTolchinsky, third in OHL rookie scoring, (4g & 3a) coming in to face 5thoverall pick in the 2012 OHL Priority Selection, Josh Ho-Sang (4a), who islooking for his first OHL goal tonight. Tolchinsky has a little history in the WFCU Centre, as he scored 6 goalsin 6 games, to lead Russia to the U-17 gold, last Christmas.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 4 at Windsor 3
Saginaw at Barrie
Saginaw (2-3-2-0) are in the basement ofthe West Division of the Western Conference. Spirit’s captain, Vince Trochek, who leads the team offensively, hasrecently become the 6th player in team history to record his 200thOHL point. He reached this milestone ina surprising 2-1 shootout victory over the CHL’s #3 ranked team, the KitchenerRangers last Saturday night. They weresoundly beaten 4-0 by the Ice Dogs on home ice the night before.
Barrie (5-2-0-0) was given a nod in thehonorable mention category for the CHL top ten national rankings this week, asthey are coming off their 4th win in a row. The last two games were in overtime, inPeterborough, and in a shootout, in Mississauga.
The Colts have been busy shuffling playersin and out, as they continue to tweak their roster, despite leading theirdivision. Dylan Smoskowitz, Gregg Sutch, and Chris Buonomo have beentraded. The Colts recently obtained therights to Russian forward Nikolai Prokhorkin and waived Import Samu Markkula,to make room. On Tuesday, the Coltsclaimed defenseman Liam Maaskant off waivers from the Erie Otters.
Mark Sheifele, and Anthony Camara lead theteam with 11, and 10 points, respectively, and Zack Hall and Andreas Athanasiou(obtained from the Knight this off-season) are “point a gamers”.
On paper, Barrie should win this gameeasily, but the Spirit will be looking to extend their modest 1 game winningstreak, on home ice.
My prediction Barrie 4 at Saginaw 2