Ontario Game Day Previews for Sunday January 27, 2013

Pictured is Alexander Khokhlachev of the Windsor Spitfires.  He has 5 goals and 5 assists in the 8 games that he has played since returning to the OHL after the World Junior Championships.

In yesterday’s action we correctly predicted 4/7 games after going 5/7 on Friday’s action.

Niagara at Brampton

The Icedogs are looking to salvage something from this weekend as they have lost their last 2 games (one in overtime).  Brett Ritchie’s return from his 2 game suspension will energize this young team.  Their slide down the standings has halted at #6 as they have 50 points and are tied with the Brampton Battalion.

Brampton has gained points in their last 3 games but only has 3 wins in their last 10 games (Niagara has 1 win in their last 10 games). They have had the entire week off – their last action was last Sunday at home vs. Peterborough.  In that game, they would outpower the opposition with an advantage in shots (26-15) and goals (2-1). Robinson and Goodrow scored the goals.

 My prediction Niagara 3 Brampton 2 (OT)

London at Kingston

The Frontenacs certainly have their work cut out for them this afternoon, as they host the third ranked CHL team, according to the BMO Rankings. The Knights are 1-1 on their current Eastern road swing. On Thursday night, they humbled the 67s in Ottawa 11-1, then managed only 23 shots in a 3-1 loss in Belleville last night.

Coach Gill is trying to take the positives out of Friday night's SO loss to Ottawa. He credits his team for battling back from a 3-0 and 4-1 deficit to tie the game at 4 to force overtime.  He points to the fact that when his team plays within the system, good things happen, it's just that they have gotten away from playing a solid team game recently, and remain winless in their last 7 games. Starter Mike Morrison will get the call in this one despite being pulled on Friday night. He gave up 4 goals on 15 shots in 29 minutes of work. Colin Furlong shut the door the rest of the way last night. It was Furlong who was in goal in December when the young Fronts took the Knights to overtime in London, in the midst of the Knights' 24 game winning streak. Captain Cody Alcock was Kingston's best performer in that game, with a goal and strong leadership.

My prediction London 5  Kingston 3

Ottawa at Mississauga

A number of Eastern teams have played very poorly in 2013. The 67s and the Steelheads are clearly among them. Ottawa lost 11-1 to London on Thursday, but followed it up with a 5-4 SO win in Kingston on Friday night - their 3rd win in 2013.  The Steelheads are playing .500 hockey and are 7th in the Eastern Conference. The 67s are not going to the post-season this year. If they finish last in the OHL - where they are now - it will mark the first time in team history that they have done this.

Ottawa is lead by captain Sean Monahan who has 57 points in his 39 games played.  He has played in every 67 game this year, except the 10 games he was suspended for.  Mississauga is lead offensively by Riley Brace and Dylan Smoskowitz, but clearly their defense in the key to their success. They have to play low scoring games to succeed.

My prediction  Ottawa 2 Mississauga 3

Windsor at Sudbury

The Spits continue their 705 area code road trip with a stop to visit the Wolves.  Windsor is playing desperate hockey as they try to stay in touch with the Saginaw Spirit for the last playoff spot. Windsor trails by 6 points but have been having better results recently with 6 wins in their last 10 games and they had a big win on the road in Sault Ste Marie on Friday night (3-2 SO). Pavelka was solid in net with 32 saves on 34 shots.  Khokhlachev was the lone goal scorer in the shootout.

Sudbury continues to roll along with 52 points as they currently sit in the #4 spot of the Eastern Conference.  They have won 6 of their last 10 games and gathered points in their last 4 games. They were last in action on Friday night where they lost 3-2 in a shootout to the Oshawa Generals. Franky Palazzese stopped 40 of 42 shots sent his way.  He has a record of 3-1-2-1 since coming over in the big trade with the Kitchener Rangers near the deadline.

My prediction Windsor 4 Sudbury 2

Kitchener at Guelph

The Rangers are coming into this game with 2 victories in a row courtesy the last place Erie Otters. At Kitchener they were victorious on Friday night 5-1 and last night in Erie the Rangers would win again 4-1. They had 8 different goal scorers over those 2 games. Rieder, Murphy and Bailey each chipped in three points.

Guelph trails Kitchener by one point in the standings – and Kitchener trails Owen Sound by two points.  This game has huge implications in the standings for those three teams.

Guelph is the hottest team in the Western Conference right now with 7 wins in a row.  They beat the nationally ranked Owen Sound Attack in back to back games to open the weekend (2-1 and 5-0). The Storm are the second highest penalized team in the conference – and the Rangers are the second least penalized team in the conference.

My prediction Kitchener 2 Guelph 4