Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Friday Feb 24 2012
2 for 2 last night in my predictions – Icedogs won by a larger margin that predicted and Barrie was pushed into overtime before coming away with the win vs. Peterborough. Today all teams are in action so we’ll do a rapid fire format on all the games with some tidbits here and there. Really tight at the bottom of the Eastern Conference now - Mississauga, Oshawa and Peterborough all have 57 points and Belleville is close behind with 55 points.
Sault Ste Marie at Erie
The Greyhounds are looking to rebound after a dismal 7-1 showing at Niagara last night. Fritsch had the lone goal (powerplay) . The Hounds are only 1 point ahead of the struggling Guelph Storm for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference (probably vs. London in the first round). Erie has been playing better hockey lately – a 4-1 victory in Belleville on Monday and scoring 3 goals at Kingston have been recent bright spots. Backup goalie D Williams was on fire 2 weeks ago – he should see some action this weekend. There has been a lot of talk swirling around regarding this team relocating to Hamilton ON ... time will tell.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 4 Erie 2
Windsor at Sarnia
The depleted Sarnia squad continues to struggle with injuries. Their latest character-type game was in overtime at Owen Sound. They dropped the game 4-3 but were still able to gather 1 point despite being outshot 41-29. Spooner, Yakupov and Alberga scored in that game. Rookie Deangelo with his second career OHL fight as well. The Sting are tied for fourth with the Attack (65 pts). Windsor is back a few spots at 56 points comfortably in 7th spot in the conference. Windsor’s away record in the past 10 is 5-5-0-0 whereas Sarnia’s home record in the past 10 is a solid 7-3-0-0.
My prediction Windsor4 Sarnia 3
Oshawa at Plymouth
Oshawa is involved in the logjam in the Eastern Conference (see note above) but their 5-5 record in their past 10 games and losing their last 2 games will need to be improved to secure that spot. Their last 2 games were 5-1 and 6-1 drubbings at the hands of the surging Barrie Colts. The penalty box should see lots of action since these are 2 of the top 4 most penalized teams in the league. Plymouth has only won 5 of their last 10 games. Their last 2 games were an a 8-1 pasting at the hands of the lowly Guelph Storm and a 5-1 loss vs. the Attack (both on home ice). The Wolves come into town Saturday to finish the Whalers light schedule this weekend.
My prediction Oshawa 3 Plymouth 4 (OT)
Sudbury at Saginaw
Sudbury starts their Western road trip with a stop in to tangle with the Spirit. The Wolves sit comfortably in fifth place in the Eastern Conference – 5 points behind Barrie and 9 points ahead of the logjam behind them (see note above). The Wolves may have some of their missing 7 regulars from their lineup due to injuries. To pick up the slack, team leader Michael Sgarbossa has been on fire – collecting 12 goals and 9 assists in 9 games this month – 3rd in league scoring and OHL Player of the week. Should be interesting to see how he does against his former team. Saginaw is also comfortable in the middle of the pack of the Western Conference – they are in 6th place 4 points behind Owen Sound/Sarnia and 5 points ahead of the Spitfires. Their last 2 wins were against those teams that are just ahead of them in the standings (W 6-2 vs. Sarnia and W 4-2 vs. Owen Sound). Lots of action around the arena this weekend –including a live jersey auction at the end of their games.
My prediction Sudbury 2 Saginaw 4
Belleville at Brampton
The Bulls are in the Eastern logjam (see note above) and make a quick trip into Brampton for tonight’s contest (they are at home to London tomorrow night). Last weekend they were more cold than hot – losing to Ottawa 8-1 winning big against Mississauga 8-3 before being embarrassed 4-1 vs. Erie (3 first period goals). Brampton continues to find their legs as they have rebounded from a horrible losing streak with 4 straight wins. Sam Carrick has 6 goals in his last 5 games. Second leading scorer Barclay Goodrow has been suspended for 3 games for his checking from behind penalty vs. the Wolves (Sgarbossa).
My prediction Belleville 2 Brampton 3
Owen Sound at Guelph
Owen Sound is coming off an emotional overtime win vs. the depleted Sarnia Sting squad. Gilbert had the winner in overtime. The Attack are tied in the standings with Sarnia at 65 points. Don’t look now but the defending champs have the best record in the Western Conference in the past 10 games. The Attack will be returning home late tonight to prepare for the Rangers Saturday night. Captain Halmo leads the team in all offensive categories so if he can be kept ‘in check’ Guelph has a chance. Last weekend they had a seesaw experience with a home loss to Sarnia 4-2 then a robust 9-1 win at Plymouth followed by a humbling 6-1 loss at home vs. Kitchener. Guelph trails Sault Ste Marie by one point for the final playoff spot despite only winning 2 games in their past 10.
Both teams conclude the season with a home/series against each other.
My prediction Owen Sound 5 Guelph 2
London at Kingston
The #1 Knights start their Eastern road trip with a stop at the K-Rock Centre in Kingston. Should be interesting how the fans receive Domi - the former first round pick of the Fronts who would not report and was traded to the Knights. Harrington returns from injury and is from the area as well. Jan 13 the Fronts beat the Knights in London 4-1. Sarnia beat London Monday night 6-2 ... the Knights have not lost back to back games all season. Kingston continues to play strong hockey even though it appears they will not be playing in the postseason (not official yet). A lot of attention has been given to the two newest players to the Fronts – Billy Jenkins and Ryan Kujawinski (both have 10 points each this month). After this game the team travels to Erie for Saturday and then to Niagara to finish the weekend.
My prediction London 6 Kingston 2
Peterborough at Kitchener
Peterborough lost last night at home vs. the Colts in a shootout. The Petes trailed 3-1 early in the third period before they tied things up with a late powerplay goal by L. Martschini. The Petes are fighting it out for playoff entry (see note above). The Petes next game is at home vs. Belleville on Sunday afternoon. Kitchener is comfortably in third place in the Western Conference – they can only move up in the standings if they overtake London (9 point differential with 12 games remaining). Last weekend they lost to Barrie (5-3) and London (5-1) before defeating the struggling Guelph Storm (6-1). M Catenacci has 19 points in 9 games this month.
My prediction Peterborough1 Kitchener 4
Niagara at Mississauga
The Icedogs easily handled the Greyhounds at home last night 7-1. F Hamilton scored the 100th goal of his career. Niagara reclaims overall #1 in the Eastern Conference by 1 point over Ottawa. When these teams last played it was an embarrassing 11-0 win in favour of the Icedogs. Mississauga is in a real battle near the bottom of the conference – they are involved in the 3 way tie (see intro note above). After this game the Majors visit a tough Barrie squad and then host the Otters to finish the weekend.
My prediction Niagara 5 Mississauga 1
Barrie at Ottawa
Barrie continues their Eastern Ontario road trip this weekend after they were pushed into overtime at Peterborough eventually winning 4-3. Telegin had 2 goals in regulation as well as the overtime winner. This scrappy game had three fighting majors. The Colts continue to inch closer to Brampton and are only trailing by 1 point now for the #3 spot in the Eastern Conference. The 67’s were leapfrogged by the Icedogs last night and are now in second place overall in that conference. Ottawa has won 7 of their last 10 home games – Barrie has also won 7 of their last 10 road games.
My prediction Barrie 4 Ottawa 3