Game day previews are brought to you by D Williams (@notsoheavyd) and J Duncan (@frontsfocus) Yesterday we correctly predicted 7 of 9 games in the OHL – getting the Oshawa score exactly and coming close on the Niagara score (predicted 4-2, actual was 4-1). Two games jump out at us today. The Sarnia vs. Peterborough matchup is a game between two teams that are struggling – the Petes have won one game in their last 10 games and the Sting have not won in their last 5 games. The other matchup is London vs. Owen Sound in the battle for first place in the OHL. London has won 10 in a row and Owen Sound has won 7 of their last 10 games (3 wins via shutout).
Kitchener at Erie
Last night in Kitchener, the Rangers were able to hold off the struggling Sarnia Sting. The Rangers managed 32 shots on net, whereas the Sting on mustered 23 shots (5 in the third period). Matt Puempel led the way offensively with a goal and 2 assists. Ryan Murphy also notched 2 assists. Franky Palazzese notched his first career OHL shutout in 81 games played. The Rangers continue to stay in the top portion of the Western Conference. They are in fifth place – one point behind Guelph and have 15 wins in 24 games played this season.
Erie may be in last place, but they are playing an exciting up tempo brand of hockey. They continue to draw respectable crowds on the road. Last night in Guelph the Storm would have their largest attendance of the year (4,927). The result of this back and forth game was in question until late in the game. Guelph scored the only goal of the third period and held the visitors to just 8 shots on net for the 3-2 victory. Otter goal scorers were McDavid(14th of the year) and Hodgson(2nd of the year). Oscar Dansk continues to get the lion’s share of appearances in net.
My prediction Kitchener 4 Erie 1
Ottawa at Guelph
The Ottawa 67s (7-16-0-2) received word prior to last night's divisional game with the Oshawa Generals, that their leading offensive producer - Sean Monahan - iss suspended for 10 games. Ottawa is also without forwards Brent Gustavsen, and Tyler Graovac (lower body injury). As a result, the 67s dressed five 16 year olds last night. Oshawa beat them 4-2. The 67s are 2-8 in their last 10.
Guelph (15-8-0-3) beat the Erie Otters last night, 3-2. Scott Kosmachuk scored twice for Guelph, and Brock McGinn had the other. The Storm are 4-4-0-2 in their last 10 games, and are 3rd in the toughest division in the OHL, the Midwest, and 4th in the Western Conference. Tanner Richard leads the team with 30 points, 28 of which are assists, which puts him one behind the assist and point leader in the league, Ryan Strome of the Ice Dogs. The Storm have balanced scoring, as they have 14 players with 10 or more points.
Ottawa has 10 players with 11 or more points, but Ottawa has difficulty keeping the puck out of their net.
My prediction Ottawa 2 at Guelph 6
Sudbury at Niagara
The Wolves scored first last night vs. the Greyhounds but then found themselves behind 4-1 late in the second period. The Wolves would claw their way back with 3 straight goals before the Greyhounds would score near the end of the third period for the 5-4 visitors win. Sudbury goal scorers were Desrochers, Corrado, Leivo and Baptiste.
Last night the Icedogs hosted the Belleville Bulls. The Icedogs would score early on Subban (Theoret only 31 seconds into the game) but the Bulls would recover with a goal from Curtis to knot the game at 1-1 after the first period. The second period was scoreless but not lacking in action as both teams would not shy away from big physical hits and tight checking. The Dogs would continue to press and pull away in the third frame with three goals to take the game 4-1. Belleville was limited to only 23 shots in the game.
The Icedogs are in fourth place, but only one point behind the Colts and the Steelheads for top spot in the Eastern Conference. The Wolves are struggling with only 2 wins in their last 10 games and find themselves in the eighth spot just ahead of the 67’s and the Petes.
Sudbury’s top scorer (Leivo – 26 pts) would be a distant fourth if he were on the Icedogs squad. The high octane #1 line of Strome (46 pts), Ritchie (40 pts) and Theoret (25 pts) are too big of a load for most teams to handle. Dougie Hamilton (30 pts) leads all defencemen in scoring this season, but hasn’t been as gritty on the defensive end of his game. Brett Ritchie leads the team with 8 powerplay goals.
My prediction Sudbury 2 Niagara 5
Peterborough at Sarnia
The news for the Peterborough Petes (5-17-2-1) went from bad to worse for the Petes, as overage forward, Derek Schoenmakers, picked up in a trade with Windsor, decided not to report. At least not yet. 18 year old defender, Brandon Devlin, acquired in the same trade, played his first game for the Petes, in London last night. Head Coach, Mike Pelino expected Schoenmakers to add some offense and some grit up front, and Devlin to become a steadying influence on the Petes blueline. It was clear that the Petes needed a shake up, but it remains to be seen if they gave up too much for what they got from Windsor, especially if Schoenmakers doesn't report.
One thing is clear - the Petes will need to turn things around soon if they hope to make a push for the playoffs, in the Eastern Conference. They have lost 2 straight, and 9 of their last 10 games.
Sarnia (12-11-0-2) went into last night's game in Kitchener having lost 4 straight. The news that Craig Hottot had left the team sent shock waves through the arena prior to this game. Clearly shaken up, the Sting were shut out 5-0. Five different goal scorers found the back of the net for Kitchener, and goaltender Franky Palazzese recorded his first OHL shutout, in front of over 7200 fans.
My prediction Peterborough 3 Sarnia 2
Kingston at Saginaw
The Kingston Frontenacs (13-10) surprised the Plymouth Whalers last night, with a 7-6 victory. 19 year old, 2nd year OHL forward, Darcy Greenaway scored a hat trick for the visiting Frontenacs. Billy Jenkins had a pair of goals, as well. Rookie, goaltender, Colin Furlong was very good, stopping 47 shots for Kingston. What makes the victory all the more impressive was the fact that Plymouth had just beaten the Fronts 8-3 in Kingston. The Fronts played without one of their better defenseman, Michael Moffat, who was suspended for last night's game for abuse of an official at the end of Kingston's game in Ottawa on Tuesday night.
Saginaw (10-13-2-1) lost in Windsor last night, 2-1. Jaroslav Pavelka was outstanding in Windsor's goal, stopping 43 of 44 shots. The Spirit missed out on a chance to overtake the Spitfires, and move into 3rd in the West Division. Instead they are last in the closest division in the league. In fact 5 points separates first and last in the division. If the playoffs were to start tonight Saginaw would be on the outside looking in, as they are 9th in the Conference.
The Frontenacs are coming in on a high, after last night's victory. They were behind 5-2, just past the 13 minute mark of the 2nd period, and battled back for the 7-6 victory.
Kingston is 4-6 on the road, and will likely start veteran goalie, Mike Morrison tonight, in a game that is very winable for them. Last time these teams tangled, Kingston beat Saginaw 5-4, in a SO on Remembrance Day at K-Rock Centre.
My prediction Kingston 4 at Saginaw 3
Sault Ste Marie at Barrie
The Greyhounds visited Sudbury last night for the second of six meetings this season. After building up a 4-1 lead near the end of the second period, the Wolves fought back wit three straight goals to tie the game at 4-4. Sault Ste Marie’s Ryan Sproul would score with 5:06 to play for the game winning goal. The win gives the Greyhounds points in their last three games but they are still below .500 with a record of 11-12-2-0 this season. After this game, the team has completed their action for the weekend.
Barrie has now lost 2 in a row. Earlier in the week they would run into a brick wall in the form of Jordan Binnington. He anchored the Owen Sound Attack to their third straight shutout victory. Thursday night the Colts would run into a surging Brampton Battalion squad. Barclay Goodrow continued his torrid streak with 3 goals. The Colts would add a late powerplay marker to make the score 3-2 for the Battalion. The Colts are tied for first place in the Eastern Conference, but take the tiebreaker vs. Mississauga in the standings. The Colts will venture on a 2 game western road trip next weekend.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 0 Barrie 3
London at Owen Sound
London is the hottest team on the planet right now with 10 victories in a row. The Owen Sound Attack have three shutouts in a row to their credit. The London Knights have a record of 9-2 away from their home ice – and the Owen Sound Attack have a home ice record of 11-3. London is #1 in the conference with 38 points in 25 games – Owen Sound is #3 in the conference with 37 points in 24 games this season.
Seth Griffith is the Knights’ top scorer with 18 goals and 25 assists this year including a team leading 6 powerplay goals. Second on the team is Max Domi who has 13 goals and 22 assists and an on ice rating of +16. Import Defenceman Nikita Zadorov has a team leading +17 rating.
Daniel Catenacci leads the Attack offensively with 15 goals and 22 assists. Cameron Brace has 18 goals and 11 assists. Gemel Smith has 13 goals and 15 assists including a team leading 7 powerplay goals. Defenceman Nathan Charlitti has only 8 assists but a team leading +25 rating.
My prediction London 2 Owen Sound 4