Pictured is Tyler Graovac of the Ottawa 67’s. He is tied with 4 others for the league in goals this season (9). Tyler had 8 goals in 50 games last season for Ottawa – a terrific jump indeed!
Brampton at Niagara
These two teams are evenly matched in many categories – should make for an interesting contest. Niagara’s record of 6-4-1-0 is 4 points better than the Brampton’s record of 3-4-1-2 so far this season. Both teams arecoming off recent wins – Niagara defeating Windsor 4-3 in a shootout on Sunday and Brampton winning at home on Sunday 5-3 over the Saginaw Spirit.
Niagara’s top 5 scorers have 48 points total compared to Brampton’s top 5 scorers who have 28 points total. Niagara’s top line of Ritchie-Strome-Theoret have 30 points combined. Niagara’s Festarini has a GAA of 2.50 and a save % of .913 - Brampton’s top goalie Machovsky has a GAA of 2.04 and a save % of .917. The small confines of Niagara’s home rink will add to Brampton’s defensive gameplan – could make for a very tight checking contest.
My prediction Brampton 2 Niagara 4
Plymouth at Peterborough
The Plymouth Whalers (2-3-2-1) sit one point out of the basement in the OHL. They have to be the biggest disappointment in the league, so far with so many NHL draft picks in their lineup. No player has averaged a point a game, thus far. They embark on an Eastern swing this weekend, which they hope will bring them together as a team.
Their first stop is in Peterborough (2-5-2-1) to play against the improved Petes. The Petes have managed to gain at least a point in each of their last 4 games, and against some difficult teams. Overager, FrancisMenard continues to lead the team offensively with 7 goals and 5 assists in 10 games. Slater Koekoek has played well lately on defense. The Petes have managed half of their season's goal total in their last 3 games, loosing in OT to the Fronts, 5-4, at home, then in back to back SO's in Owen Sound 5-4, and in Guelph 7-6. Safe to say that their offense has come alive. The Petes just need to keep the puck out of their own net, as they have given up an OHL leading 43 goals on the season.
The Whalers, on paper, have a more talented team, with 16 players who played regularly in the OHL last season. With largely the same team, Plymouth managed 97 points last year, 2 shy of the league leaders, Niagara and London. It is time they woke up and started to play like they did last season.
My prediction Plymouth 5 Peterborough 2
Mississauga at Sarnia
One of the big stories for the Steelheads this season has been the play of newly acquired Dylan Smoskowitz. He and Riley Brace (14 points in 9 games) have definitely held the torch for this team’s offensive needs. In the 5 games that he has played for his new club (acquired from Barrie where he had only 9 points in 60 games last year) he has scored a goal in each contest and has amassed 10 points. Teichmann and Martin have both been in the nets for Mississauga this season. The team has won their last 3 games which has pushed them into the ‘middle of the pack’ of the Eastern Conference – 11 points place them in the #5 slot. Last weekend their powerplay was 0/7.
Sarnia has won their last 4 games – helping them stay near the leaders of the Western Conference with 11 points and a record of 5-3-0-1. In their last game Import Nikolay Goldobin came to life with 1 goal and 2 assists (7 points in 9 games). Hottot and Galchenyuk would notch 2 assists. JP Anderson continues to be the goaltender of choice - his GAA is 2.32 and save % is .926.
My prediction Mississauga 2 Sarnia 4
Erie at Windsor
The high hopes for a turn-around for the Otters this season have not yet materialized. They are in last place in the Western Conference with 2 wins and 6 points. 2 Connors (Brown and McDavid) each lead the team in scoring with 11 points in 9 games. Adam Pelech and the third Connor (Crisp) each lead the team with 17 PIM. Oscar Dansk has been the goalie of choice so far for the Otters. He has a huge GAA of 4.40 and a save % of .884. After this game the Otters will gear up again for a rematch at London where they will participate in Sportsnet’s CHL Game of the week.
Windsor is in 5th place in the Western Conference with a record of 4-3-0-3. Last weekend they would put the skates to Sault Ste Marie 7-4 on Thursday and then drop a close 4-3 shootout decision to Niagara on Sunday. Brady Vail leads the offensive way with 13 points in 10 games this season. Kerby Rychel has ‘come to life’with 3 goals and 2 assists in the last 2 Spits games. Import Jaroslav Pavelka is the starting goalie for Windsor – his mediocre numbers are 3.83 GAA and a save % of .892. After this game the Spits will visit Brampton on Friday night and then Erie PA on Saturday night.
My prediction Erie 4 Windsor 5 (OT)
Belleville at SSM
The Bulls (6-2-1-0) have started to play like many expected they would this year. They have taken 9 of a possible 10 points in their last 5 games. Malcolm Subban has been terrific, and the Bulls are starting to playGeorge Burnett style hockey. They are finishing all of their checks, and their "compete level" has risendramatically. Carter Sandlak, and Brady Austin have dominated physically. Veterans like Austen Brassard, Brendan Gaunce, Michael Curtis and Import Danil Zarkhov have lead the way offensively.
SSM Greyhounds (6-4-0-0) are in first place in the West Division of the Western Conference. Last season, they finished dead last in the Division, and the Whalers finished first. How things have changed. Tonight's game will mark their first game against an Eastern Conference team. Nick Cousins is tied for 2nd place in OHL points, with 16 in 10 games. Carolina prospect, Matt Murray has played well in goal. Ryan Sproul, and Darnell Nurse represent a formidable one two punch from the back end.
My prediction Belleville 2 SSM 3 (in OT)
Ottawa at Barrie
The Ottawa 67's (3-6-0-0) are coming off their most complete effort of the season. Last Sunday afternoon theywould post a solid 6-2 victory over the Kitchener Rangers. They tightened up defensively, only allowing a couple of goals, and continued to fill the net at the other end. Tyler Graovac scored his 8th and 9th goals of the season, to vault him into a tie for the OHL lead with Boone Jenner of the Gens, Seth Griffith of the Knights, and Cameron Brace of the Attack. Pretty heady company for a guy who managed only 8 goals in 50 games last season, in the shadow of Tyler Toffoli, and Shane Prince. Sean Monahan, and Brett Gustavsen continue to perform well for the 67's too.
The Barrie Colts (8-2-0-0) lead the Ontario Hockey League with 16 points in 10 games. They have won their last 7 straight games. They edged up in the BMO Top 10 CHL teams from Honourable Mention status last week to#9 this week. Led by 3 players in the top 15 in OHL scoring, in Mark Sheifele, Anthony Camera, and, former Knight, Andreas Athanasiou, the Colts are a powerful offensive team. Import goalie, Mathias Niederberger has been good in the Barrie crease.
My prediction Ottawa 4 Barrie 5