Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Saturday March 3 2012

 In yesterday’s action I think that everyone who has seen the Otters play this year was shocked by the 7 goal outburst they pulled off vs. the Spirit (3 unanswered goals in the third period - eventually losing in the shootout).  I continue to be surprised by the Rangers nosedive ... they need to get in the Win column soon!   Some of my predictions were close games, but the score went the wrong way by one or two goals – only  4 of 8 games going in my favour.  Let’s see what happens tonight!

Even though he’s not playing today – thought that I would put a picture out there for Jordan Subban who is celebrating his 17th birthday.


Ottawa at London

The 67’s continue their Western Ontario road trip with a stop in at the John Labatt Centre. The sell out game should be another litmus test for how good the 67’s actually are. Last night Ottawa went into the Beehive in Sarnia and were successful keeping the Sting to the outside, were opportunistic scorers and had solid goaltending from Petr Mrazek (stopped 40 of 41 shots).  Sting goalie JP Anderson stopped 20 of 23 shots put his way – Shane Prince had 1 goal and 1 assist (82 points this season).  The 67’s are 2 points behind the Niagara Icedogs for top spot in the Eastern Conference.

London played a solid game vs. the Generals last night on the televised Sportsnet featured game of the week.  The Knights scored 2 goals in the first period, 2 goals in the second period and then finished with 3 goals in the third frame. Seth Griffin completed his hatrick with an empty net goal (44 goals on the season – second only to Ottawa’s Tyler Toffoli who has 46 goals).  London defeated the 67’s last week in Ottawa 5-2. Houser was solid in net again with 37 of 39 shots denied.

 My prediction Ottawa 4 London 5


Niagara at Belleville

The Icedogs played a stingy Saginaw team on Thursday night at home. During the game Saginaw limited second chance opportunities for the high scoring team and were able to hold them to only 2 goals on the night. Goaltender Mark Visentin was fighting the puck in the third period when he was given the chance to play the puck from Saginaw’s shoot-in plays leading to more offensive chances than he would have liked. The Icedogs are ahead of Ottawa by 2 points for top spot in the Eastern Conference.  Since coming to the Icedogs from Windsor Tom Kuhnhackl has 19 points in 25 games – but hasn’t scored a goal since Jan 21 (16 game drought).  Brett Ritchie missed the last game after taking a puck off the skate in pre-game warmup – he will be a game time decision.

Belleville continues their quest for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.  With 2 wins in a row they have pushed up to a tie for sixth place with Mississauga.  Last night they were able to get by the Majors at Mississauga by a score of 4-2 with a late powerplay goal by Austin. Carter Sandlak was given first star honours and had one goal in the second period.  Look for Malcolm Subban to have a busy night as the Icedogs are the second highest scoring team in the Eastern Conference this season (Ottawa is +1) – The Icedogs are averaging 5.0 goals for in the past 4 games. This afternoon there is a special faith event sponsored by the team – the ceremonial puck drop tonight will involve troops from CFB Trenton.

 My prediction Niagara 5 Belleville 2


Windsor at Plymouth

Windsor currently sits in the #7 spot in the Western Conference. The Spits cling to a 2 point advantage over the Greyhounds and Storm who are tied for eighth. All three teams have won their last 2 games.   On Thursday the Spits won at home 5-2 vs. the Brampton Battalion. In that game the Spits were outshot by 14 but managed to score twice in the first and second period to push past the defensive minded Battalion.  Ben Johnson ran away with the game (always wanted to use that one) with 2 goals and one assist(empty net goal to finish the scoring).

Plymouth has won 4 in a row including a 3-2 victory over that same Battalion team. With the victory, the Whalers clinch their division and cannot finish lower than second in the conference.  On Feb 16, when these teams last met, there were 68 PIM distributed, Windsor outshoots the visitors by 41-24 but Plymouth scores twice in the third period to push past with a 4-3 victory.  Leading scorer Noesen was shutout last game but had 5 goals and an assist in the previous three games.  Scott Wedgewood is the goalie of record in the Whalers last 4 wins despite allowed 10 goals.

 My prediction Windsor 3 Plymouth 5


Peterborough at Sudbury

Peterborough is involved in the logjam at the bottom of the Eastern Conference standings. They have not been helping their bid for a playoff appearance as their 3-6-0-1 record in recent history demonstrates. Their last game was at Sault Ste Marie last night. The Petes were scored on three consecutive times in the third period which enabled the Greyhounds to come out with the 4-3 victory. The usual contributors Yogan (1 goal, 2 assists) and Quine (1 goal, 1 assist) carried much of the Pete’s offensive hopes last night.

Statistically Peterborough needs to take advantage of the powerplay chances that Sudbury will give to them (Wolves are the 2nd most penalized team in the Eastern Conference). Sudbury’s home penalty killing machine is dead last in the OHL – but Peterborough’s road powerplay success is almost near the bottom of the league at #18. Goalie Morrison has a recent record of 2 wins and 3 losses. 

Sudbury was involved in a high scoring game last night – an 8 to 5 win at home vs. the slumping Kitchener Rangers. In that game Michael Sgarbossa notched 5 points to take his season total to 89 which is only 1 point behind league leader Tyler Toffoli. The Wolves are in fifth place in the Eastern Conference and trail Brampton by 5 points for the #4 spot.  

 My prediction Peterborough 2 Sudbury 6


Oshawa at Barrie

Oshawa played last night at London where they were outplayed by a strong Knights squad to the tune of 7-2.  London was clicking last night and did an effective job of limiting Thomas’ chances (especially on the PP).  The Generals were outshot 43-27.  Laughton scored one and Schemitsch scored his first goal of the season.  2 weeks ago these teams played a home/home series – Barrie won both of those games by scores of 6-1 and 5-1.  Oshawa continues their quest for a playoff berth and are currently in eighth place with a slim 1 point lead over the struggling Petes squad.

Barrie hosted and defeated the Kitchener Rangers on Thursday night 5-3. In that game the Colts scored 3 in a row and then 2 in a row to cruise to the victory.  Their powerplay was 2/6 in that game and now have the 2nd best powerplay in the league at a 21.8% success rate.  The Colts are tied with Niagara for having the best record in their past 10 games – 8 wins and 2 losses. Goalie Niederberger had a solid February notching a GAA of 1.72 and a save percentage of .946.

 My prediction Oshawa 1 Barrie 4


Kingston at Owen Sound

Kingston has not thrown in the towel on the season – as they continue to play with pride and hard work. They have lost their last 3 in a row and only registered 4 ‘W’s in their past 10, but there are some bright flashes along the way. Last night they dropped a 6-3 game at Guelph where they were outshot 45-31. Riley Jacob was scored on four times to end the first period which put the team down 4-2 at the first intermission.  Darcy Greenaway scored twice and had a +1 rating on the night (his last goal was Feb 16).

Owen Sound continues to play steady hockey with a 7-3-0-0 record in their past 10 games.  Wednesday night they dropped a very tight checking game 3-1 to the visiting Barrie Colts. The only goal scored by the Attack was by Daniel Catenacci 3:48 into the game on the powerplay.

Owen Sound is in fifth place only 2 points behind Sarnia and ahead of the struggling Saginaw Spirit by 3 points.

 My prediction Kingston 3 Owen Sound 5