Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Friday February 22 2013

Pictured is Vincent Trochek of the Plymouth Whalers.  He continues to ‘light it up’ for his new squad and has tallied 37 points in 17 games – 21 points in 9 games this month.

Windsor at Plymouth

  Rookie, Graeme Brown sparked a third period comeback for the Spitfires last night against the Erie Otters. Windsor was trailing 4-3 at the start of the third period. Brown set up the tying goal and scored the go-ahead goal in a span of 85 seconds, en route to an 8-5 victory by the home team, officially knocking the Otters out of the playoffs. Kerby Rychel scored once and added 4 assists. Alexander Khoklachev had a goal and 3 assists. 18 year old Ty Bilke returned to Windsor’s lineup last night, after missing the last 21 games with a broken thumb sustained in a fight on Dec 27th.

  Windsor is clinging to the hope for a playoff spot of their own, as they are currently 9th in the Western Conference, 9 points behind 8th place Saginaw with just 10 games left in their regular season.

  Plymouth is the hottest team in the Western Conference. They have won 6 in a row, and 8 of their last 10. They lead the West Division with 73 points, which ranks them second in the Western Conference.

  Their 6th win was a 10-2 laugher over the Sarnia Sting on Family Day. Senators’ prospect Stefan Noesen lead the way with 3 goals. Plymouth scored 7 goals in the second period to blow the game wide open.

  My Prediction  Windsor 3  at  Plymouth 6

Erie at Saginaw

  The Erie Otters were officially eliminated from the playoffs last night with an 8-5 loss in Windsor. The Otters held a lead going into the 3rd period but couldn’t hold it. Erie gave up the 4 goals in an 8 minute span, and gave up 4 powerplay goals in the game.

  Despite missing the playoffs, and most likely finishing last in the Conference, the Otters have improved. Last season, they finished with only 10 wins, and 26 points. This year, they have won 17 games and have 42 points. Connor Brown has 26 goals and 40 assists to lead the team. Rookie Connor McDavid has had an excellent year with 56 points in 54 games.

  The Sting were overtaken by the Soo and are now 7th in the Western Conference. They are 5-5 in their last 10 games, and have lost their last 2. Sarnia were defeated 6-3 by the Soo, on home ice on Thursday night, a week after they were humbled by the Greyhounds 8-0 in Sault Ste Marie. Nick Cousins scored his 100th OHL goal for the Sault.

  My prediction  Erie 2  at  Sarnia 5

Niagara at Guelph

  The Icedogs need to have a short memory.  Last night they were blasted by the defensive minded Mississauga Steelheads 8-2.  The game started with a celebration of Steven Shipley and Ryan Strome each recently eclipsing the 100 goal mark in their OHL careers.  The celebrations ended soon after as the Steelheads came out with a lot of offensive pressure on the much younger Icedog squad.  Their defence was porous and the goaltending was shaky – a lethal combination in this league in order to win games.  Jesse Graham was a -5 in the game and each goalie was shelled for at least 3 goals.

  The Guelph Storm are eager being chased down by the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds (behind by 1 point) and the Sarnia Sting (behind by 2 points).  They have an outside chance at home ice in the playoffs, but trail Kitchener by 5 points for that advantage.   Their home record is 15-12-0-1 and their record in their last 10 games has been a mediocre 5 wins and 5 regulation losses.   They continue to boast a balanced offensive scoring attack with 3 players sporting 50+ points and 8 players have hit the 30 point mark this season.  Their last action was a 5-3 victory at home over the Kitchener Rangers.    Pedan, Garlent, Mitchell and Kosmachuk all had multi-point efforts.

  My prediction Niagara 2 Guelph 3

Saginaw at Kitchener

The Spirit are comfortably in eighth place in the Western Conference (9 ahead of Windsor) and have been helping their  playoff aspirations lately.  They are victors in their last 2 games and have won 6 of their last 10 contests.  Their last action was back to back victories over Windsor at home and away.  They will continue their difficult road schedule this weekend with stops in at Owen Sound Saturday night and then to London on Sunday afternoon.

Kitchener was last in action on Family Day at Guelph.   The Rangers competed all game vs. the tough Storm team with the game tied 2-2 after 1 period and then trailing 4-3 after 2 periods.  Kitchener could not find the equalizer in the late stages of the game and surrendered an empty net goal to produce the final 5-3 tally.   The Rangers will be without Defenceman Murphy (1 goal and -2 rating in that game) who has been called up on an emergency basis to his NHL squad.

  My prediction Saginaw 4 Kitchener 2

Sault Ste Marie at London

  At the halfway point of the season most people wouldn’t be too interested in seeing this matchup – times have changed for sure!  The Greyhounds have rebounded strongly as they push up the standings and are currently only 1 point behind the #5 Guelph Storm.  The Greyhounds have won 7 of their past 10 games and have three victories in a row.  Their last action was Thursday night at Sarnia where they outshot the Sting 45-23 and outscored them 6-3.  Nick Cousins was on fire with 3 goals and 1 assist – he is the current OHL Points leader (8 point lead over Charles Sarault – Sarnia)

  The London Knights continue to reign on top of the league and still maintain a sizeable 8 point cushion over their nearest competitor (Owen Sound).  After a rough patch at the beginning of the month, London has put together 2 straight wins – albeit against the Erie Otters 8-1 and Niagara IceDogs 5-1.   Their top scorer – Seth Griffith - remains sidelined with hand issues.  Max Domi is #2 on the squad with 74 points and a +27 rating.

  My prediction Sault Ste Marie 4 London 3 (OT)

Brampton at Mississauga

This is the final time that the Troops will invade Mississauga this season.  They are in different places in the standings – the Battalion jostling with the Wolves for the #4/#5 spot (Brampton ahead by 2 points) and the Steelheads trying to get ahead of the Icedogs for the #6 spot (Mississauga trail by 1 point).  The Battalion have won 6 of their last 10 games whereas the Steelheads have only tallied 3 victories in their 10 most recent games.  Brampton last won at Ottawa on Family Day.  They were able to score 4 consecutive goals and three of them were in the first 5:07 of the third period to edge out the struggling 67’s 5-3.  The Battalion outshot their opponent 47-28 in this game.   The Steelheads are coming off a big win last night at Niagara to move close to the #6 playoff spot.  They had 2 goal games from Goldberg, Kontos and Brace.

  My prediction Brampton 4 Missisauga 1

Ottawa at Oshawa

  The 67s have lost their last 5 games, and will miss the playoffs this year. Ottawa native, Alan Quine lead the Bulls over the 67s by a score of 8-5 on Wednesday night.  Ryan Van Stralen, Mark Petaccio, Joseph Blandisi, Jacob Middleton and Dante Salituro had goals for Ottawa. It was Middleton’s first OHL goal. Defensive zone coverage remains an adventure for the 67s and the goalies haven’t been nearly good enough to slow down the opposition.

  The Generals are in 3rd place in the Eastern Conference, 7 points ahead of the Battalion. They are 6-4 in their last 10 games. They had a 2-0 lead in Peterborough, on Thursday night, only to give up 6 goals in a row, in a 6-3 loss. Ken Appleby finished the game, after Daniel Altshuller gave up 3 goals on 25 shots. Peterborough’s powerplay went 2-5.

  This will be the 5th of 6 meetings on the season between these Division rivals, and the Generals have won the first 4. All of the games have been competitive, however, as the scores have been 4-3 (twice), 4-2, and 2-0.

  My prediction Ottawa  3  at  Oshawa 5


Barrie at Sudbury

  The Colts are eager to get back on the ice after a disappointing 3-0 loss at Belleville on Family Day.  Tripping and roughing were the call of the day as this type of penalty would account for ½ of the 16 infractions this game.   The Bulls were able to push by the Colts by scoring in the second period and then backing it up with 2 more goals in the third period – one via penalty shot by Joseph Cramarossa and the last one via empty net with 1:31 remaining in the game.    The loss allowed the Bulls to claim top spot in the Eastern Conference by two points – Barrie also has 2 games in hand.   Anthony Camara will be able to play in the Colts’ next game.

  Sudbury is involved in a back and forth struggle with the Brampton Battalion for the #4 / #5 spot in the conference – and thus home ice advantage in the playoffs.  The Wolves have dropped three straight games and have only won 4 of their past 10 contests.  Their last action was at Oshawa on Family Day.  They were easily outgunned (44-18 shots on goal difference) and could only muster offence in the second period.  The Gens blasted them by a 6-2 margin.  Jacob Harris was a team worst -5 in that game but Charlie Dodero has the lowest +/-  on the team with a -16.    Tomorrow the Wolves will make the long drive down to play at Kitchener.

  My prediction Barrie 3 Sudbury 2