Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Saturday March 17 2012

Every team in the league plays tonight except for Kingston and Peterborough. For half of the league this will be their final game of the regular season.  The playoff picture is becoming clearer (ie. we know which teams have qualified) – but still cloudy in a few places (ie. who will finish in which rank?).

Pictured here is Tyler Toffoli from the Ottawa 67’s who scored his 50th and 51st goals last night.  He and Michael Sgarbossa are tied for the points lead this season with 98.  Both players have 2 games left to play.

 

London at Erie

Last night on national tv (Sportsnet) the Knights and Sting took battle. Tierney, Domi and J Knight were the goal scorers. London would go 2 for 2 on the powerplay which pushed them over the top to edge out the Sting 3-2. With this victory the Knights reclaim the #1 spot in the Western Conference back from the Plymouth Whalers (tied in points, but the Knights have the tiebreaker edge). Both London and Plymouth have one game left in their regular season schedules. It has been published that Houser will not start this game, so we’ll expect to see former Otter Teichmann in the nets.

Erie was in Kitchener last night where the Otters fell behind early and couldn’t keep up with the more talented Rangers team. Erie’s lone goal would come in the waning seconds of the middle period by rookie Connor Brown. The Otters are having a St. Patrick’s Day celebration for this game – the ice will have a tinge of green in it – fans are encouraged to wear green – as well as numerous giveaways for those in attendance.

 

My prediction  London 3 Erie 2

 

Ottawa at Niagara

The 67’s were home yesterday where they hosted the Sudbury Wolves.  The game was exciting throughout as the home side would score 4 times straight followed by the visitors scoring 3 times straight to make the score 4-4 in the third period. Ottawa would push through and score 2 more goals to make the final score 6-4. Tyler Toffoli would get back on top of the individual scoring race by scoring twice – Prince, Janes and Ceci would each gather a goal and an assist.  Goalie Petr Mrazek would stop 41 of 45 shots directed his way.  Ottawa remains in second place 5 points behind Niagara.

 The Icedogs last played on Thursday at home. They welcomed the Peterborough Petes in town and handed them an 8-1 loss. In the game Brett Richie would score twice and Jamie Oleksiak would also score twice. The Dogs had 42 shots on net – the visitors had a respectable 35 shots directed Mark Visentin’s way.   Niagara was 3 for 4 on the powerplay – pushing their league leading home ice PP percentage to 29.3%. The first round playoff opponent is not determined yet.

My prediction  Ottawa 2 Niagara 5

 

Sudbury at Belleville

Last night the Wolves were in Ottawa against the #2 67’s team.  The Wolves would strike first in the game – followed by 4 straight Ottawa goals through the remainder of the first period and into the third period.  Sudbury would score 3 straight goals of their own to tie the game up at 4-4. Ottawa would then push through and score 2 more times to give them the 6-4 victory.  Goals were scored by Sefton, McFadden, Kantor and Pancel.  Michael Sgarbossa did not register a point in this game, but he has 14 points in the 7 games played by the Wolves this month.

 

Belleville was in Kingston where they would let an early lead slip away to the Fronts. Kingston would take the lead late in the third period – only to see the Bulls tie things up on the powerplay with 1:51 to play in the game. Overtime did not provide a winning goal so they went to a shootout where Gaunce would score and Subban would deny Kingston’s 3 skaters consecutively.  The Bulls are currently in the 8 spot of the standings tied with the Oshawa Generals – the Mississauga Majors are 2 points ahead of both these teams. Number 8 slot will play Niagara, #7 slot will play Ottawa and the #6 slot will play Barrie.

 

My prediction  Sudbury 6  Belleville 3

 

Mississauga at Oshawa

Last night the Majors hosted the Barrie Colts – and things did not look good for them until very late in the game. The Colts would take a 2-0 lead into the third period where the Majors would rally and score three times on rookie goalie Fotinos (and Barrie scored once) to have the game all tied at the end of regulation. Jamie Wise would score his 31st goal with only 11 seconds remaining in the game. Stuart Percy would score in overtime to give the home side two points and enable them to stay 2 points ahead of Oshawa and Belleville who are the bottom playoff qualifiers.  

The Generals played the  Bulls on Wednesday and were only able to muster 2 goals against Malcolm Subban on 40 shots fired his way. Thomas would open the scoring early in the first period. Schemitsch would then score midway through the second on the powerplay, but the Bulls were able to tie things up and send the game to overtime. J Worrad would score for the Bulls in the extra time.  The Generals and the Bulls are tied with 69 points in the standings (#7 and #8 spots).

My prediction Mississauga 2 Oshawa 4

 

Sarnia at Plymouth

The Sting couldn’t pull things together in London last night. They scored once in the first period (Robertson) and then again in the second period (Hottot) to keep the score tied up. The difference would be the third period goal – and London scoring twice on their two powerplays. JP Anderson would collect the third start but not his 100th career win yet. Sarnia is in the 4th spot in the standings, Saginaw is one point behind and Owen Sound another point further behind.  Alex Galchenyuk would leave the game with an arm injury – word is that he will not play the rest of this weekend and be ready to go for the playoffs.

On Wednesday the Whalers were in Sault Ste Marie to tangle with the Greyhounds. Plymouth would score early and often – building a solid lead which enabled them to cruise to a 5-3 victory.  The would score 2 powerplay goals on 7 chances.  Alex Aleardi would notch a hattrick – Devane and Heard with single goals. The Whalers are tied to the London Knights for top spot in the conference – but London holds the tiebreaker.  Both Plymouth and London play their final regular season games tonight.

My prediction Sarnia 2 Plymouth 5

 

Kitchener at Saginaw

Kitchener hosted the lowly Otters last night. The Rangers would score early and only allow one goal late in the second period.  John Gibson would have a career night stopping 49 of 50 shots (might have something to do with the pro contract that he recently signed) and Tobias Rieder chipped in two goals. Randell, Fanelli and Sol added one goal apiece.  The Rangers would score twice on 5 of their powerplay chances.  The Rangers will close out their regular season with a visit to Sault Ste Marie. Their first round playoff opponent is yet to be determined (one of Sarnia, Saginaw or Owen Sound).

Saginaw came out flying in the first period again – netting 4 in the opening frame – allowing them to cruise to a 5-1 decision against the visiting Spitfires. There was some rough stuff in the second period – Moutrey and Perklin were shown the door in the form of a game misconduct.  Eric Locke scored twice and Walch, Shalla and Fine had the other markers.  Clint Windsor stopped 27 of 28 shots. The fifth place Spirit are one point ahead of the Attack and one point behind the Sting.

 

 My prediction Kitchener 2 Saginaw 5

 

Brampton at Barrie

Brampton hasn’t played since Sunday – in that game the visiting Generals would spread their scoring out over the three periods and outperformed the Battalion in many areas of the game. The Battalion did limit the Generals to only 21 shots, but 5 of them ended up in the net – Brampton was only able to chip in two goals against Kevin Baille. Besides Erie and Kingston, Brampton has scored the fewest goals in the league (193 – Barrie has scored 246). Brampton and Sudbury will be first round opponents – the question is who will have home ice advantage? Sudbury is only two points behind them in fifth place.

Barrie was at Mississauga on Friday night where they would lose 4-3 in OT. Mississauga would score 3 times in the third period – including their final goal with only 11 seconds left in regulation. Rookie Alex Fotinos was the goalie of record. Anthony Camara would score twice and Erik Bradford would add a goal as well.  This was Barrie’s first loss in their past 5 games. They will finish in third place in the Eastern Conference this season.

 

My prediction Brampton1 Barrie 3

 

Guelph at Owen Sound

These two teams battled it out in Guelph last night. The Storm would clinch a playoff spot by taking this game 4-0. The highlight was that Captain Halmo from the Attack was suspended from the game for his headshot on Yakupov last week. I am sure that this was discouraging for the team – and it showed !! Garret Sparks would stop all 28 shots to earn the shutout – Hunter would score twice and gather an assist. Mitchell and Kosmachuk scored the other goals – Pedan would earn two assists as well. Guelph is now 1 point ahead of Windsor and find themselves in the #7 slot – by Sunday it will be determined if they are the #7 or #8 seed and if they will play London or Plymouth.

Owen Sound was clearly out of sync with news of the Captain having to sit out 10 games – eliminating him from the rest of the regular season and the first round of the playoffs (and potentially a few more into the second round if the team succeeds without him). Halmo is the leader in goals, power play goals, assists, +/- as well as PIM.  They are currently in sixth place – a slim one point behind Saginaw and 2 points behind Sarnia.

 

 My prediction  Guelph 3 Owen Sound 2

 

Windsor at Sault Ste Marie

Windsor was on their heels yesterday when they visited the Saginaw Spirit. They gave up 4 first period goals and were never able to recover.  John Cullen would give up 4 goals on seven shots – Jordan DeKort would relieve things and stop 22 of the 23 remaining shots. Brady Vail would be credited with the only goal for Windsor in this contest.  They made it – they are in the playoffs at the #8 spot – and could climb to #7 if they win and Guelph loses their final game (1 point difference in the standings).

Sault Ste Marie will play their final game of the season tonight – they did not qualify for the playoffs this season – their recent 3 game losing streak has been difficult for the players and fans to witness.  On Wednesday night they would drop a home game vs. Plymouth. The Visitors would score early and the Greyhounds could not recover – eventually dropping the game 5-3. Sproul’s 20th goal would be sandwiched between 2 goals by Petaccio. 

 

My prediction  Windsor 3 Sault Ste Marie 4