Ontario Hockey League Game day Previews for Saturday Feb 2 2013

Pictured is defenceman Olli Maata who will be in action at Owen Sound tonight for a big divisional game.  He has 23 assists this season which is only 4 behind his total of 27 last year in his rookie season.

Sudbury at Erie

The Wolves visit Erie for the only time this season.  After 50 games, Sudbury has 56 points and are sitting in fourth place in the Eastern Conference.  They have points in their last 6 games and have won 6 of their last 10 games. Thursday night they were at Niagara and easily handled the Icedogs 4-1.  Defenceman Jeff Corbett held the hot hand with 2 goals in this game – he has 3 goals this season in 37 games.

The Otters were smothered by the Icedogs last night by the score of 5-1.  The Otters weren’t very zippy as they would fall behind 3-0 in the first period and then weren’t able to put up much of an offence the rest of the way.  Only Jake Evans would score.  Niagara swept all three of the star selections as well.  Erie is sinking deeper into the hole at the bottom of the Western Conference with a dismal record of 15-27-3-5.

Tomorrow the Wolves will play at Brampton and the Otters will travel to Kitchener.

   My prediction Sudbury 4 Erie 2

Mississauga at Niagara

The Steelheads played a pitiful two periods at home yesterday vs. the Oshawa Generals.  They would manage a total of 6 shots over 2 periods until they ‘woke up’ and mustered 14 shots on net.  The Generals scored twice in the first period for all the offence required for the win.   Hottot, Brace and Smoskowitz each had fighting majors.

Niagara’s older players stepped it up in this game – Strome with 2 goals, Shipley with 2 points and Ritchie with a goal and 3 assists.  Rookie Perlini chipped in his fifth goal of his rookie season.  The Icedogs stopped the losing skid and would dearly love to string together consecutive wins.  They have fallen in the standings to the #6 spot only 4 points ahead of Mississauga.  This game will make a big difference in the standings for sure.

  My prediction Mississauga 2 Niagara 5

Sarnia at Belleville

The Sarnia Sting continue their eastern swing with a game at Yardman tonight against the Belleville Bulls. Last night in Ottawa they were defeated 4-3 in a very even game. Reid Boucher added to his league leading goal count by notching his 41st and 42nd of the season. Newly crowned captain, Charles Sarault tallied assists on all three Sting goals. Sarnia didn't lose any ground, and continue to hold a 4 point lead on 8th place Saginaw, who lost last night on home ice to the Petes.

The Bulls are 7-2-0-1 in their last 10. They beat the Frontenacs 8-2 on home ice Wednesday night. Alan Quine continued his torrid pace against his former team, one-upping his 5 point explosion in his last visit to Kingston, on January 11th. Quine had a goal and 5 assists on Wednesday night. He now has 16 points in 8 games since joining the Bulls in a trade from Peterborough. Joseph Cramarossa had 3 assists to go along with his 3 goal and 2 assist night on the 11th. Tyler Graovac, acquired from the 67s and Alan Quine are 1st and 2nd on the team in point scoring, and have been a great 1-2 punch at centre ice, giving the Bulls much needed firepower up front. They remain strong defensively, with the best penalty killer rating in the OHL, and arguably the best goaltending tandem in the league, with Charlie Graham backing up Malcolm Subban.

My prediction  Sarnia 3   Belleville 5

Peterborough at Plymouth

The Petes continue their Western swing in Plymouth tonight, where the Whalers are 15-6-2-2.  Last night they won their second road game in a row, over the red hot Saginaw Spirit.  Saginaw had been winners of 9 of their last 10 games. The Petes beat the Spitfires in Windsor on Thursday night. Peterborough is closing in on 8th place Kingston, as they now trail the Fronts by just 6 points, for the 8th and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. What is impressive about the Petes' recent surge is that they are getting offense from everyone. Nine different Petes have found the back of the net in their last two games. Incredibly, Peterborough has no one in the top 100 in OHL scoring, and yet they continue to find a way to win.  Brett Findlay is 103rd, with 30 points in his 50 games.

The Whalers are ranked 2nd in the Western Conference, by virtual of their lead in the West Division. The Whalers would be in 6th place in the Conference without the Division advantage. In contrast to the Petes, the Whalers have 9 players with 30 or more points this season. With all of their firepower, the Whalers powerplay is only average, ranked 9th in the 20 team league. Their PK ranks 3rd behind only the Bulls and the Rangers. Vincent Trochek was recently named OHL player of the week, with 3 points in each of the team's 3 games. The 19 year old, Pittsburgh,  PA native is a 4 year OHL player who was traded to the Whalers at the deadline from the Spirit.  The Florida Panthers' draft was on the US team that won the gold medal over Christmas at the World Jr Championships in Russia.

My prediction Peterborough 2  at  Plymouth 5

Sault Ste Marie at Saginaw

The Hounds continue their push for top spot in their division – currently trailing the Whalers by only 1 point.  They have points in their past 5 games and points in 9 of their last 10 games. Nick Cousins has 5 assists in his past 2 games and currently sits in the points lead in the league.  Seth Griffith is one point behind after leading the race since early in December.

The Saginaw Spirit lost their last game, but have won 8 of their last 10 games.  They are in seventh place in the West only 4 points better than a desperate Windsor club.  Eric Locke leads the team in points (31 goals and 32 assists) including points in 11 of his last 12 games.

  My prediction Sault Ste Marie 5 Saginaw 3

London at Owen Sound

The Knights were able to squeak out a win at home vs. Brampton last night.  The game was scoreless through three periods and overtime.  In the shootout Max Domi would be lone goal scorer on this special night in recognition of juvenile diabetes (which Max has) – a great storyline in his career and for the London club.  They have been in the top spot for quite awhile – currently with a 11 point lead over the Owen Sound Attack.  This game has huge implications in the standings.

The Attack were successful at Kitchener last night 2-1 and have won their last 2 games after a mini-slump last weekend.  Catenacci scored on the powerplay with only 1:51 left to play in the game for the win.  He now has 28 goals this season and 97 career goals in his 249 games.

 My prediction London 3 Owen Sound 2 (OT)