Pictured is Brendan Lemieux of the Barrie Colts. He has 5 points in his 26 game rookie season. The Colts are in action at Sarnia this afternoon.
Plymouth at Brampton
Last night at home, the Whalers would easily handle one of the top teams in the Western Conference – the Owen Sound Attack. The first period was back and forth with a 2-2 tie at the end of the first period. The Attack were up 3-2 after Cameron Brace’s penalty shot success but then the Whalers took charge. They would rattle off 5 straight goals including an empty net marker producing the final tally of 7-3. Tom Wilson scored for the first time in almost a month, notching 2 goals and 2 assist in the game. Ryan Hartman had 4 assists. The win pushed them to the top spot in the division and thus the #2 seed in the conference. The Greyhounds are one point behind and the Sting are 2 behind.
Brampton’s last action was in Sudbury on Friday night. They would skate with the Wolves through regulation and overtime knoted at 1-1. The shootout would go their way as Blake Clarke would score the only goal – and Matej Mahalak had a much better game after surrendering 5 goals vs. the Greyhounds. The win keeps the Battalion in the middle of the pack in the Eastern Conference standings. They have 59 points and trail Sudbury by 2 points – extending their lead over the slumping Icedogs by 5 points.
My prediction Plymouth 5 Brampton 2
Windsor at Kingston
The Spitfires are finishing up a 3 game eastern road trip, made longer by a long bus trip in a snow storm to Ottawa on Friday, only to have their game postponed for 24 hours. Last night in Ottawa the 67s scored an 8-5 victory over the Spits. Jaroslav Pavelka lasted a little over 5 minutes in Windsor's net. He gave up 3 goals on 5 shots, to put the Spitfires behind the eight ball early. Highly ranked NHL draft prospect, Sean Monahan had a big night for Ottawa with 3 goals and an assist. Alexander Khokhlachev had a goal and two assists for Windsor, in a losing cause.
Kingston really needs a win this afternoon. Peterborough has closed to within 2 points of the Frontenacs, with a win over Sault Ste Marie last night, after trailing by as many as 16 points earlier in the season. The Fronts lost 4-1 in Mississauga on Wednesday night, extending their losing streak to 12 games. They were outshot 37-17, with Darcy Greenaway scoring Kingston's only goal. Kingston will need to stay out of the penalty box this afternoon, as the Spits have 5 powerplay goals in their last two games, going 4 for 6 in Peterborough, on Thursday night. Kingston's penalty killing has been porous giving up 7 powerplay goals in their last 3 games, including 3 in Mississauga on Wednesday night.
My prediction Windsor 3 at Kingston 4
London at Kitchener
Both teams were off on Saturday and both teams lost on Friday night. London was at home vs Owen Sound on Friday night. The Attack playing with the lead for the entire game except for a 3 minute span in the second period. London could not respond in the third period and were handed a 4-3 loss. Seth Griffith had a goal and an assist - Domi and Broadhurst each had 2 assists. Their record in their last 10 games is a mediocre 4-5-1-0 but their still lead their conference by 12 points over the Owen Sound Attack.
Kitchener suffered their third shootout home loss in 28 games on Friday night vs the Guelph Storm. Each goalie would stop 40 of 43 shots. The Storm had the victory in their hands until Ryan Murphy dashed their hopes with only 55 seconds remaining in regulation. Auger and Dickson each scored for Guelph in the shootout and neither Leivo or Rieder could get one past Garret Sparks. Earlier in the week the Rangers pushed around the Storm as they skated to a 5-2 victory in Guelph. The Rangers are one point behind the Owen Sound Attack for the #3 spot in the conference.
My prediction London 3 Kitchener 1
Belleville at Ottawa
The Bulls and the 67s are each coming off big, home ice, wins over Western Conference opponents last night. Belleville beat Erie 4-1. Former 67, Tyler Graovac scored twice for Belleville, and Malcolm Subban stopped 38 of 39 shots in this one. The Bulls will be without former 67, defenseman, Jake Cardwell, who will be serving the 2nd game of his 10 game suspension, for getting into an altercation with a fan in Oshawa last Sunday afternoon.
Ottawa defeated Windsor last night, 8-5. Sean Monahan scored a hat trick, and had an assist. Joseph Blandisi, Brett Gustavsen, and Brendan Bell each had a goal and 2 assists.
The Bulls have won all 4 meetings between these two teams, the last two by shutouts, 3-0 on Nov 25th in Belleville, and 2-0 on Dec 12th in Ottawa. This will mark the first time these two teams have played each other since Belleville acquired Cardwell, and Tyler Graovac from the 67s.
My prediction Belleville 6 at Ottawa 3
Barrie at Sarnia
The Colts fell behind early at Saginaw allowing the Spirit a 4-0 advantage at the halfway point of the second period. A Goalie change would bring in Niederberger who would not allow a goal on 14 shots. The Colts would score the next 3 goals, but couldn’t push through to get the equalizer – giving up an empty net goal for their efforts. Nevertheless, the Colts continue to lead the conference with a 4 point cushion on the surging Belleville Bulls and a 6 point lead on the Oshawa Generals.
The Sting are involved in a dog fight with the Whalers and the Greyhounds for top spot in their division. These three teams continue to rise to the #2 spot in the conference and then are pushed back down to the #6 and #7 slots. The Sting have the worst record of these three teams recently – only 4 wins in their last 10 games. In their last action they were blasted by the Saginaw Spirit 6-2 – Reid Boucher with both of their goals.
My prediction Barrie 4 Sarnia 3
Sault Ste Marie at Oshawa
The Greyhounds lost a close one yesterday in Peterborough 3-2. Defenseman, Ryan Sproul had a goal and an assist for the Soo. The Greyhounds powerplay went 1 for 3, and they outshot Peterborough 42-34. With last night's loss and the Whalers' win over Owen Sound, the Greyhounds dropped from 2nd in the Western Conference down to 6th. The Hounds are 1 point behind the Whalers, and 1 point ahead of the Sting in the incredibly close West Division.
Oshawa defeated Niagara 4-2 last night in St Catharines. Leafs' first rounder, Tyler Biggs scored twice for Oshawa, and Flyers' first rounder, Scott Laughton had a goal and 2 assists. The win allowed the Gens to keep pace with the Bulls, and remain 2 points behind the East Division leaders, and 6 points behind the Barrie Colts for top spot in the Eastern Conference.
My prediction SSM 3 at Oshawa 5