Kitchener at Brampton
The Rangers came out strong against the Wolves last night in Kitchener and held on for a 3-2 win. Kitchener scored twice on the powerplay in the first period and then hit paydirt again in the second period for a commanding 3-0 lead. Sudbury finally solved Vienneau in the third period scoring at 7:20 and then again at 18:12 but ran out of time to tie the game. The win allowed the Rangers to keep in touch with the Attack who still lead them by 4 points in the standings.
Brampton has won 3 in a row and is 2 points ahead of Sudbury in the fourth spot of the Eastern Conference. Their last action was Friday night in Mississauga. For the final time as the Brampton Battalion they would invade the Hershey Centre in the regular season. They would leave the first period with a 1-1 tie. A goal in the second period by Clarke (#19 on the year) would be all that was needed for the win. An empty net marker by Foglia would produce the final 3-1 tally.
My prediction Kitchener 3 at Brampton 2 (OT)
Kingston at Erie
The Frontenacs will play their 6th road game in a row in Erie this afternoon. They are 2-3 on the trip and look to beat the Otters, who have recently been eliminated from the playoffs. The Ice Dogs beat Kingston last night in St Catharines, by a score of 4-1. Christopher Festarini came up big, especially in the third period to lead the tired home team to a big victory. The loss, coupled with the Petes loss in Belleville, means that the Fronts retain the 8th and final Eastern Conference playoff spot. They remain 2 points up on the Petes, with 2 games in hand.
Top NHL prospect, Ryan Kujawinski was a late scratch for last night's game, and may have been slightly injured at practice this week. He will hopefully be back in today's lineup. Forward, Jean Dupuy is recovering from knee surgery, and may be able to play late this season particularly if Kingston makes the playoffs.
The Otters are playing out the string. They have lost 4 straight, and 8 of their last 10 games. Sarnia humbled the Otters by the score of 13-3 on Friday night. The game was never in doubt, as the Sting netted 6 goals in the first period. The loss compounded comments made by Otters' owner Sherry Bassin earlier in the week questioning the commitment level of some of some of his players. Bassin promises to evaluate his players, and make some changes in the offseason and expects nothing less than a playoff contending team next season. Some players that are needed to perform include first overall OHL pick in 2012, Connor McDavid, and three NHL drafted players in Connor Brown, Oscar Dansk, and Adam Pelech.
My prediction Kingston 4 at Erie 3
Sudbury at Guelph
The Wolves were in Kitchener yesterday afternoon and didn’t quite have enough firepower to keep up with the Rangers. They would give up 2 powerplay goals in the first period and then surrender another goal in the second period. Harris would finally solve their former goalie Vienneau at 7:20 of the third period – followed by Campagna’s twentieth goal of the season at 18:12. The Wolves would run out of time for the comeback and dropped the game with a score of 3-2. Sudbury remains two points behind the Battalion for the #4 spot in the Eastern Conference.
Guelph skated past the Icedogs on Friday night but could not generate anything on the scoreboard Saturday night in Barrie. They would outshot the Colts 44-35, but Sparks would be victimized once in the second period and once in the third period to give the final score of 2-0 Barrie. The loss keeps Guelph sandwiched in the middle of the Western Conference action at the #5 spot. They are still 2 points ahead of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds and the Sarnia Sting (Sarnia has 3 games in hand on both teams).
My prediction Sudbury 3 at Guelph 2 (OT)
Saginaw at London
The Spirit were in Owen Sound last night. They kept pace with the Attack early in the game and would finish the first period down 2-1 (Owen Sound scored shorthanded as well as on a penalty shot). Locke would score his 40th of the season early in the second period to knot the game at 2-2. Owen Sound would then erupt with 4 goals (2 on the powerplay) to blow the game open and produce the final score 6-2. Saginaw still has an 11 point lead on the Spits for the final playoff spot.
London was not in action yesterday, but they did host the Greyhounds on Friday night. The Knights would score the first 2 goals of the game in the first period for an early lead. The Visitors would then fire back 3 goals of their own by the middle of the second period for a lead of their own. Tierney’s 16th goal at 12:52 of the second period would complete the regulation scoring. The overtime winner was by Broadhurst (his 19th) – he has 53 points in his first season in the league.
My prediction Saginaw 3 at London 4
Sault Ste Marie at Mississauga
The Greyhounds were last in action Friday night in London. They would fall behind 2-0 to the Knights, and then clawed back quickly. Goals by Tolchinsky, Fritsch and Schumacher would give the Greyhounds a short lived 3-2 lead. London would knot the game at 3-3 just 1:31 later in the second period. The third period was scoreless. London scored in the overtime frame, but the Greyhounds would salvage a much needed point to add to their team total. They are tied with the Sting for #6 and are only 2 points behind Guelph for the #4 spot in the Western Conference.
The Steelheads started the weekend strong with a 5-3 victory over the Icedogs on the road. They followed that up with a disappointing result at home vs. the Brampton Battalion on Friday night. The Battalion would score midway through the first period, but Riley Brace would tie the game up in the closing minutes of the frame. Clarke would score to close out the second period. An empty net goal would seal the game up for the Battalion 3-1. Machovsky would shut the door on the Steelheads for the 2 goal cushion. The Steelheads enter today with a 4 point cushion on the Fronts and trail the Icedogs by 3 points.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 5 at Mississauga 3
Belleville at Ottawa
The Bulls have rattled off 7 straight wins, and have won 9 of their last 10. They will travel into the Nation's Capital without several injured and suspended players. Carter Sandlak picked up an instigator penalty late in last night's 5-2 home ice, win over the Petes, and will sit two games since this happened in the last 5 mins of the game. Jake Cardwell is nearing the end of his 10 game suspension. Michael Curtis, Niki Petti, and Stephen Silas are all injured.
Belleville were trailing the Petes 1-0 mid way through last night's game, but late 2nd period powerplay goals by Tyler Graovac, and Daniil Zharkov gave the Bulls the lead going into the third. Graovac and Zharkov would each score again early in the third to put this one away. Belleville's powerplay went 3 for 5. It was the second game in a row that Belleville has scored three powerplay goals.
The 67s have lost 6 straight, and have won only twice in their last 10. They will be mathematically eliminated from the playoffs with a regulation loss, or a Kingston win in Erie this afternoon. This will be the 7th of 8 meetings between these two teams. Belleville has won the previous 6, including an 8-5 win in Belleville, last Wednesday. In that game, Ottawa had no answer for Alan Quine, who scored 3 goals and had an assist. Former 67, Tyler Graovac had a goal and 3 assists.
My prediction Belleville 5 at Ottawa 2
Plymouth at Windsor
The Whalers have their heads up real high these days with the strongest record in the OHL this month. They and the Belleville Bulls have 8 straight wins and 9 wins in their past 10 games. They have easily distanced themselves from the #2 and #3 teams in their division with an 8 point cushion. Their last action was last night against the Sarnia Sting. They would put together another balanced team effort and skated to a 4-0 victory. Only 2 players would record multiple points (Levi and Rakell with 2 points each) and Nedeljkovic would record his first career shutout in his rookie season.
The Spits were hapless on Friday night against this same Plymouth team. Windsor had no answers for the strong Whalers squad and would trail 5-0 until they ruined the shutout with their only goal at the 0:46 mark of the third period (Aleardi’s 24th of the season). Goalie Jordan DeKort was left out to dry and would surrender 9 goals on 51 shots. Windsor’s playoff hopes are fading fast as they trail the Saginaw Spirit by 11 points. Their mathematical chances are still alive, but they are practically eliminated.
My prediction Plymouth 4 at Windsor 2
Peterborough at Oshawa
Peterborough has closed to within two points of 8th place Kingston. They held a lead until just past the 17 min mark of the 2nd period last night in Belleville, only to eventually lose 5-2 to the Bulls. They missed an opportunity to tie the Fronts for the 8th and final playoff spot in the East, as the Ice Dogs defeated Kingston 4-1 last night.
Big Derek Mathers, usually not known for his offensive skills, potted 2 goals and had two assists in Peterborough's 6-3 victory over the Generals on home ice Thursday night. It was the first time that the Petes had beaten their Division rivals in Peterborough since October of 2010. Oshawa held a 2-0 lead early in the game.
On Friday night, the Oshawa Generals outshot the 67s 50-16 en route to a 4-1 win. Boone Jenner scored his 37th and 38th goals of the season in this game. The Gens sit comfortably in 3rd place in the Conference with 72 points in 59 games. They were the 3rd team to clinch a playoff spot, and lead 4th place Brampton by 7 points. Brampton has 10 regular season games left whereas Oshawa's has 9 left to be played.
This will be the 8th and final meeting between these rivals, with Oshawa having the advantage. The Gens have won 5 of the 7 previous meetings this year.
My prediction Peterborough 2 at Oshawa 4