With the NHL lockout on it’s way to being resolved, a big question mark hangs over this league. How far will the current OHL trade deadline be pushed back? Which top end players will be invited to NHL training camps? Will teams trade for players that will attend camps? Will NHL teams still keep players for up to 10 games before returning them to the Junior clubs? It will definitely be an interesting few weeks around the league.
Ottawa at Brampton
The 67’s have dropped their last 2 games and will continue to have a challenging time without their #1 offensive threat Tyler Graovac. More trades are being discussed so the players may be looking over their shoulder in the coming days. Ottawa finds itself in the basement of the Eastern Conference with 11 wins in 41 games this season. Quite a change from the 40 win season last year.
The Battalion fell behind 4-0 at Sudbury after two periods of play on Friday night. Two of the Wolves’ goals were on the powerplay. In the third period, the Battalion came out with a different battle plan and peppered Sudbury with 24 shots and three goals. This last ditch effort wasn’t enough as they would fall 4-3 to the Wolves. Brandon Robinson was sharp with 2 goals and an assist – Patrik Machac had a goal and an assist. Brampton has lost their last two games and now sits in fifth place in the Conference only 1 point ahead of the Mississauga Steelheads and two points behind the freefalling Icedogs.
My prediction Ottawa 1 Brampton 3
Sault Ste Marie at Kingston
The Greyhounds complete their Eastern Ontario road trip with a stop to the K-Rock Centre to tangle with the Frontenacs this afternoon. Last night in Belleville, they would score the first two goals of the game before surrendering a late first period marker giving them a 2-1 lead after one period. The wheels fell off in the second period as they would give up three goals in a 3:31 window to allow the Bulls to ‘blow up’ this contest. Justin Nichols would come in for third period action, but would not be the difference maker here as the Greyhounds eventually lost this game 6-2. Shots on net favoured the visitors 32-27 but Charlie Graham continued his solid play in the absence of Malcolm Subban. The Greyhounds have 20 wins in 40 games this season and are in seventh spot in the Western Conference with 42 points. They have won 7 of their last 10 games.
Kingston was last in action on Friday night. They hosted the Oshawa Generals. This game was similar to other contests where Kingston would look for scoring from any source – all six of the Fronts’ goals were scored by different players. Kujawinski, Ikonen and Vainonen would have multipoint games. Mike Morrison stopped 27 of 30 shots fired his way. The Fronts are in the #8 spot in the Eastern conference only 6 points from the #4 spot – a comfortable 13 point lead on the surging Peterborough Petes.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 4 Kingston 3 (OT)
Sudbury at Mississauga
The Wolves last action was on Friday night vs. the Battalion. They were led by 2 goals each by Harris (#10 and #11) and Leivo (#17 and #18) including 2 of the 4 goals coming via the powerplay. After 2 periods they would lead the visiting Brampton squad 4-0. A flurry of activity from Brampton in the third period would produce 24 shots on Vienneau and three goals. The Wolves would hang on for a 4-3 victory. Sudbury has now gained points in their last 9 games – a streak only rivalled in the league by the London Knights.
Mississauga was in action on Friday night as well as they would host the struggling Niagara Icedogs. Three goals in a 1:24 window in the second period would be the difference in this game. Mississauga would outshoot the visitors 39-20 en route to a comfortable 5-2 victory. Dylan Smoskowitz would add 2 goals to his team leading 27 goals this season. The Steelheads are in the thick of the Eastern Conference standings – currently in sixth place with 43 points only 4 points out of the #3 slot.
My prediction Sudbury 2 Mississauga 4
Sarnia at Niagara
The Sting were in Erie last night where they would meet all they could handle in the upstart Otters squad. Sarnia was without their top goalies (injuries) so they started Knicholas Dawe for his second career OHL game. The emergency backup was Ryan Hergott who has no OHL experience to date. Sarnia would succeed on 2 of 3 powerplay chances in the game to keep pace with the Otters. Reid Boucher and Nikolay Goldobin each had three points. Charles Sarault had a goal and an assist as well as the game winner in the fifth round of the shootout. The Sting continue to lead their division over Plymouth (3 points) and thus have the second seed in the Western Conference. They have won their last three games.
Niagara’s last action was at Mississauga on Friday night. The Dogs would jump out to a quick 1-0 lead after the first period via Stephen Shipley’s 20th goal of the season. They would stay with the Steelheads for the first half of the game but then things slipped away on them. They would surrender 3 quick goals in a span of 1:30 in the last portion of the second period . The team looked disorganized and unsure about their defensive coverages. The edge in shots on goal – 20 vs 39 was an accurate representation of the game. Niagara has now lost their last 2 games and slips to fourth place in the Eastern Conference with 46 points in 40 games played this season.
This game marks the return of newly acquired Jordan Maletta to his hometown – he is sure to draw a warm reception this afternoon.
My prediction Sarnia 4 Niagara 2
Guelph at Saginaw
The Storm complete their Western road swing with a date against the Spirit. Last night in Plymouth the Storm would score the first two goals of the game but not hit the back of the net the rest of the game. The Whalers chipped away and tied the game up in the second period. In overtime Connor Carrick would score at the 2:29 mark to give the home side the victory. Keegan Wilson continues to patrol the nets for the Storm – he would stop 26 of 29 shots sent his way in this game. With the overtime loss, the Storm now have 47 points and are tied with the Kitchener Rangers in the #4 spot. They take the tiebreaker (currently) as they have played 1 fewer game. Plymouth trails both teams by 1 point.
Last night the Spirit were all over one of the top teams in the conference – the Owen Sound Attack. They would score 2 goals in each period en route to the 6-2 victory. Nikita Serebryakov would stop 31 off 33 shots sent his way. Justin Kea had a big game with 2 goals and an assist. Locke and Lodge each had a goal and an assist. Saginaw clings to the #8 spot in the standings with 37 points in 40 games. They are 3 points ahead of the struggling Windsor club and 5 points behind the Greyhounds.
Today is a faith day at the arena with activities starting at 2 pm followed by the game at 4 pm. To encourage attendance they also have a special $5 promotion to select games throughout the season – redeem yours from the team website.
My prediction Guelph 5 Saginaw 3