Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Sunday March 11 2012

Okay – so I went for Erie winning last night – and they were close vs. the Rangers but eventually dropped the contest 6-4. Is Kitchener starting to pull things together in time for a playoff push?  Saginaw shuts out the Sting – Mike Halmo was head hunting against Nail Yakupov – some suggesting a lengthy suspension forthcoming. Barrie outlasts and shuts out the Belleville Bulls.

Pictured is Tobias Rieder who had 2 goals, 2 assists and a +3 rating last night vs. Erie.

 

Oshawa at Brampton

Both teams were idle yesterday. Oshawa is very close to clinching their playoff berth for the season, but not entirely sure where they will land. Currently they are in 8th place trailing Belleville by 1 point and Mississauga by 3 points. Both of those teams have played one more game than the Generals.  Oshawa started last weekend with a loss at London 7-2 but then rolled off two wins – a 5 to 1 victory at Barrie and then a home victory against the top Knights team.  Their remaining games are against the struggling Petes (2X), Bulls and Majors.

Brampton is in fourth place in the Eastern Conference 4 points behind Barrie – and they lead Sudbury by 3 points in the standings. On Thursday at home vs. the Petes they controlled most of the play until late in the third period. Peterborough scored twice in the last 4 minutes of the game to make the score 3-2 but Brampton would hold on for the win. Carrick, Watters and Lewis were the goal scorers.

The last time these teams tangled was back on January 28 at Oshawa when the Generals led 2-1 after one period but were not able to finish the deal and lost 3-2.

 My prediction Oshawa 3 Brampton 2

 

Niagara at Kingston

After the day off yesterday the Icedogs should be well rested for this contest. On Friday night they went into Ottawa’s building and dominated that contest coming out with a 5-1 victory. That pushed them to a 3 point advantage over the 67’s for top spot in the Eastern Conference standings. Freddie Hamilton had a great game with 3 goals and a +2 rating. Joel Wigle and Captain Agozzino had the other goals.  Agozzino is #7 in the league in scoring and Freddie Hamilton is in the #8 spot with the same point total (82) but fewer goals. 

Kingston has lost their last 5 games – and has struggled with the defensive end lately.  In the 4 games this month, Kingston has been outscored by 18 goals. On Friday they were dominated by Mississauga 9-0. The last time the Fronts were shutout was on Nov 18 vs. these same Niagara Icedogs.  On Feb 26 when these teams last hooked up it was the Dogs with a big 9-3 victory in St. Catharines.                

 My prediction Niagara 7 Kingston 2

 

Mississauga at Ottawa

The Majors conclude their Eastern road trip with a stop in the nation’s capital. They are riding 2 consecutive shutouts – Thursday night’s 2-0 victory at Niagara and then a 9-0 clinic at Kingston on Friday night.  Brandon Maxwell was in the nets for those games and has won 6 of his last 8 games played. Mississauga has clinched a playoff spot – currently sitting in sixth spot with 67 points on the season. Next weekend they will finish their season with games against Barrie, Oshawa and Niagara.

Ottawa is eager to get back on the ice and prove their detractors wrong. In their last game the Icedogs came into town and dominated most areas of the game.  Freddie Hamilton would score 3 times and Mark Visentin would only allow one goal as the 67’s were humbled by the 5-1 score.  Steady defenceman Cody Ceci would be scoreless and end the game with a -3 rating – Sean Callaghan and Tyler Toffoli would share the same stats.  To finish their regular season the 67’s will host the Wolves, then visit the Battalion and the Icedogs.

 My prediction Mississauga 5 Ottawa 3

 

Owen Sound at Plymouth

The Attack will be hard pressed to continue their winning ways without the services of the offensive leader Mike Halmo. He is likely to be suspended by the league for a headshot against top draft prospect Nail Yakupov last night at Sarnia.  The Attack were only able to manage 3 shots on goal in the first period last night and only 23 in the game. They allowed Sarnia to score twice in the second and twice in the third period for a 4-0 loss.

Plymouth continue to roll along and are tied for the best active win streak in the OHL right now at 8 victories in a row.  The Whalers are 2 points behind the #1 London Knights with one game in hand.  Friday night they travelled to Kitchener and were able to come away with a 5-2 win.  The Whalers would rattle off 4 straight goals before the home side would pot 2 goals in the third period. Leading scorer for the Whalers – Noesen – would pocket an empty net goal to finish off the Rangers.  The Whalers remaining 2 games are at Sault Ste Marie on Wednesday and then finish the season at home vs. Sarnia on Saturday night.

 My prediction Plymouth 6 Owen Sound 2

 

Sarnia at Windsor

Sarnia had many powerplay chances in this rough contest vs. the Attack last night.  The Sting would score twice in the second period and then twice on the powerplay in the third period.  Much of the talk from the game would be about the headshot that Mike Halmo would lay onto Nail Yakupov in the first period – supplementary discipline to the game misconduct should be handed out early in the week. Lost in the game might have been the 99th career victory for goalie JP Anderson.  Sarnia is now in fourth place – 2 points ahead of the Attack.

Windsor has only earned 1 point of a possible 6 points in their past 3 games.  They currently sit in 7th place a slim one point lead over the Guelph Storm and the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds – the Hounds having played one more game than the other 2 teams.  After this game the Spits will host the #1 Knights and then finish the season on the road at Saginaw and at Sault Ste Marie.

 My prediction Sarnia 4 Windsor 2

 

Guelph at Erie

Here is a chance for the Storm to really help themselves out if they are to make a push to get into the playoffs this year. They are currently tied with Sault Ste Marie in eighth place in the Western Conference – only 1 point behind the Windsor Spitfires. Guelph has lost their last three games by scores of 5-1, 4-1 and 5-1. Leading scorer Zack Mitchell has no points in his last 4 games – Francis Menard has 3 assists in his past 6 games. After this game the Storm will host the Otters and then play a home/home series with the Attack to finish the regular season.

 Erie is playing with a pair of 3rd string OHL goalies, and a young depleted lineup (last night they would play with only 15 skaters).  The Otters have won twice in their last 10 games.  They have scored 21 times in their last 4 games – so putting the puck in the net has not been the problem. Defence has been the problem – as they have surrendered 37 goals in that same time frame. Part of those stats include the 13-4 game where the Otters played with a goalie (Connor Crisp) that hadn’t played in net for more than a decade.  Stephen Harper has put together a solid rookie campaign with 24 goals and 11 assists – fellow rookie Connor Brown is also having a solid rookie season with 24 goals and 27 assists.

 My prediction Guelph 4 Erie 3 (OT)

 

London at Kitchner

London at Kitchener

The Knights did not play yesterday but were successful on Friday at Guelph. In that game they were able to score 3 powerplay goals in the first period to put the game out of reach early – they were 3 for 6 on the powerplay.  Harrington had a strong game with 1 goal and 3 assists – McKegg, Athanasiou, Tierney and Namestnikov with the other markers.  Houser has 5 wins in his last 6 apperances.  The Knights continue to lead the Western Conference with 95 points. Plymouth trails by 2 points and has played one more game than London.  After today’s game the Knights will play at Windsor, host Sarnia and then finish their fabulous regular season on the road at Erie.

Kitchener was successful in their little road trip down to Erie last night.  The Rangers were tied with the  Otters to finish the first period – then continued to score 3 more goals in the third period – eventually winning 6-4. Rieder and Faksa each with 2 goals and 2 assists and a +3 rating.  John Gibson with the win and Jack Moylan in the backup role.  Kitchener is wedged into third place in the standings with 82 points. Plymouth is 11 points ahead and Sarnia is 9 points behind – they can not advance on anyone and no one can advance on them – so they look at the standings to try and figure out who their first round opponent will be.  Next weekend the Ranges will host the Otters and then finish the season on the road vs Saginaw and then  Sault Ste Marie.

 My prediction London 5 Kitchener 3