Two nights are in the books – and now we came back down to Earth after going 4 for 4 in our predictions on opening night. Overall our record stands at 9 correct – 3 wrong. Let’s see what happens tonight. ** Pictured is Jordan Binnington of the Attack. Owen Sound has their home opener tonight in what should be a boisterous building. ** Previews by Dwayne Williams (@notsoheavyd) and John Duncan.
Belleville at Plymouth
The Belleville Bulls are coming off of a very impressive road victory against the Sarnia Sting. Captain, Brendan Gaunce appeared to be in mid-season form, collecting a couple of assists. Carter Sandlak, Garret Hooey, and Scott Simmonds were a rugged combination for the Bulls, and Malcolm Subban came up big in goal stopping 27 of 28 shots fired his way.
Plymouth is coming off an emotional overtime loss in the Soo last night, in a game with plenty of momentum swings. SSM took a 3-0 lead only to give up the next 5 goals. The Greyhounds tied it up in the 3rd and won it in overtime. Plymouth displayed a balanced offense with 5 different 2nd period goal scorers, a theme likely to be repeated often this season, as the Whalers boast many NHL prospects, and have 17 returning OHLers on their roster.
This should be an exciting early season game, with both teams expected to contend in their divisions this season. Both teams will have an excuse for having "bus legs" because of their long trip to Plymouth. Of note, the Bulls haven't won at the Compuware Arena since March of 2008.
My Prediction Belleville 3 Plymouth 5
Peterborough at Ottawa
Both teams are coming off of disappointing Opening Night home ice losses. The Petes lost to the Oshawa Generals 5-2 and the 67's to the Barrie Colts 6-4. Both games were on Thursday night. Francis Menard and Stephen Pierog lead the Petes, offensively with a goal and an assist each, but it was too much Gens' talent for the Petes to handle. Peterborough's strength is their defense, and in order for them to have success they need excellent goaltending, as well.
The 67's opened against a very strong Barrie Colts team, lead by Anthony Camara with a hat trick, Mark Scheifele (1 g and 3 a) and captain Ryan O'Connor (3 a). Keegan Wilson, who came over from the Battalion, faced 40 shots, a total which will have to be reduced if Ottawa is going to contend in the East this season.
The Petes are a little thin up front and will need consistent effort from many players in order to do well, this season. Stephan Nosad, Francis Menard, and second year forward Nick Ritchie will have to carry the load offensively.
Ottawa should be OK, with a fairly balanced attack lead by highly rated, NHL draft eligible, Sean Monahan, and Cody Ceci on defense. Monahan was matched up against Jets prospect Mark Scheifele, and still managed to collect 2 goals and an assist. The 67's have a record of 12-2-2 against the Petes in the last two seasons, and Iexpect that to only improve this season.
My prediction Peterborough 2 Ottawa 5
Windsor at Sault Ste Marie
The Spits had a rough start to the season on Thursday night when they were pushed around by the Owen Sound Attack to the tune of 6-1. Kerby Rychel had a quiet night (0 pts, -1) while Michael Clarke notched the lone goal for Winsdor. Goalie Pavelka was pulled early in the third period after surrendering 5 goals on 34 shots. Could be another long season for this squad.
The Greyhounds had an emotional up and down contest against the visiting Whalers last night. The Hounds were winning 3-0 early in the second period and then surrendered 5 straight goals. Eventually the home side came back to tie the game late in the third period – and won it 22 seconds into overtime via Alderson’s second goal of the game. The Hounds need to clamp down on the opposition’s scoring chances – and continue tohave their defence involved in their own offence (6 points from the defence last night).
My prediction Windsor 1 Sault Ste Marie 4
Saginaw at Owen Sound
Saginaw squeaked out one point vs. the Guelph Storm last night in their 4-3 overtime loss. They did not notch any goals on their four powerplay chances. Vincent Trocheck continued to display his offensive touch with a goal and an assist. Garret Ross also had a goal and an assist.
As previously mentioned Owen Sound started the season at Windsor where they handled the Spits easily 6-1. The Attack scored three times on 9 powerplay chances in the penalty filled game. Cameron Brace led the charge with 2 goals and 1 assist – Gemel Smith added one goal and one assist. Jordan Binnington was solid in the net stopping 33 of 34 shots fired his way. Should be an evenly matched game with two evenly matched teams but I will give the home ice advantage to the Attack in this match.
My prediction Saginaw 2 Owen Sound 5