OHL Game Day Previews for Tuesday November 20, 2012
Spencer Watson has 20 points to lead the Kingston Frontenacs, who are in the midst of a 5 game winning streak.
Kingston at Ottawa
The Kingston Frontenacs (12-9) have won 5 straight games, and 7 of their last 10. They've done it with sound defensive play, consistent attention to detail in all 3 zones, and scoring from 3 lines. Their last lost was a 1-0 loss to Belleville, on Oct 27th, which was also the last of a 5 game losing streak, for the team. The game just before that was an 8-6 home ice loss to the Ottawa 67s, which was an ugly game, but it was, perhaps, just what the Frontenacs needed. The young team that night got away from their game plan entirely, ran around in their own zone, and tried to play an individual, run and gun game, with very little attention to defense. Coach, Todd Gill, drove his point home that he was not at all pleased with the team's effort and benched their captain, Cody Alcock, for the game against the team who drafted him, the Belleville Bulls, the following night. The players got the message that no one was immune to criticism and / or being a healthy scratch, if they gave it less than their all.
Ironically, that game seemed to be a turning point for the Ottawa 67s (6-15-0-2), as well, in exactly the opposite way. Head coach, Chris Byrne, wasn't happy with his team's effort, and number of giveaways, in the October 26th game, in Kingston, either, despite the 8-6 victory. The team has won 1 and lost 9, including the last 6 in a row, since that Friday night in Kingston. The frustrating thing for the coaching staff is that the 67s continue to make the same type of mistakes that cost them games. Their powerplay continues to perform well, and they continue to score goals, but the goaltending, and the defensive zone coverage hasn't been nearly good enough. The 67s have won only twice in 13 games at Scotiabank Place, this season.
With the trade of Jake Cardwell, the 67s have chosen to go with a very inexperienced defensive core. Cody Ceci is in his 4th OHL season, and OA Michal Cajkovsky, his 3rd. Everyone else is either a rookie, or coming off of their rookie season in the league. Their inexperience has really hurt the 67s.
In Kingston's case, the rookies have excelled. Defensemen, Roland McKeown, and Dylan DiPerna have made mistakes, but both have overachieved, and continue to improve. Rookies, Sam Bennett, Spencer Watson, Henri Ikonen, and Mikko Vainonen have stepped right in and played big minutes, for the team, and have contributed offensively. In fact, Watson, Bennett and Ikonen are 1st, 5th, and 6th in team point scoring, so far, and have given coach Gill plenty of reason to keep them together on the same line. The future looks bright, but the present is looking pretty good too, in Kingston.
My prediction Kingston 4 at Ottawa 3