Pictured is Carter Verhaeghe of the Niagara Icedogs. He scored twice last night in Belleville including the game winner in overtime for the 5-4 victory. This was his first career game winning goal. Carter has 18 goals in 124 career games.
Ottawa at Brampton
It looked as though the 67s were going to end their 7 game losing streak in Peterborough on Thursday night, as they held a 3-0 lead on the Petes in the 2nd period. Early in the 2nd period Nick Czinder finally beat Clint Windsor, who was outstanding in goal for the 67s, The Petes scored twice shorthanded in the 3rd to send the game to overtime and eventually a shootout. Jonatan Tanus connected with just over a minute to go in regulation to tie it, and scored the only shootout goal to ice it. Captain Sean Monahan, John Urbanic, and Taylor Fielding had given the 67s the 3-0 lead after 1 period.
Brampton was defeated in Oshawa on Friday night by a 3-2 score. The game was very evenly played, and the difference came down to specialty teams. The Gens went 2-5 on the powerplay, getting goals from Boone Jenner (40th) and Tyler Biggs (25th). Each goalie faced 23 shots in a cleanly played, tight checking, playoff type, game. Brampton's goals came from two former 1st round picks by the team. Brandon Robinson, Brampton's first rounder in 2011, (7th overall), and Barclay Goodrow, their first rounder in 2009 (17th overall) scored their 16th, and 33rd goals of the season. The Battalion should be able to beat the 67s playing their style of game.
My prediction Ottawa 2 at Brampton 4
Kitchener at London
The Rangers are a slim one point behind the Owen Sound Attack in the standings before play today. Their last action was Friday night’s 2-1 shootout victory at Owen Sound. Jared Gilbert scored the lone Ranger goal in regulation (his first OHL goal in 71 career games over 2 seasons). Faksa and Reider both scored in the shootout to give the Rangers a 2-1 edge and pushed the final score to 2-1.
The Knights continue to reign atop the OHL standings with a solid 6 game winning streak and an 11 point lead on the #2 team in the conference. London’s last action was Friday night at home vs. the Sarnia Sting. Late game goals by Zadarov and Dome would tie the game up late in the third period followed up by goals in the shootout by Horvat and Broadhurst. The Knights continue their winning ways without top scorer Seth Griffith (injury) and Matt Rupert (suspended until 2nd playoff game).
Last time these teams met was Feb 10 in Kitchener. The Rangers were able to outlast the Knights 4-3 in regulation. Tobias Rieder held the hot hand with 2 goals – Leivo and Puempel added 2 points each.
My prediction Kitchener 3 at London 2
Plymouth at Mississauga
Both teams were not in action last night. Plymouth is on the heels of dominant wins at Erie on Friday night (7-2) and at Niagara on Thursday (7-1). The Whalers continue to hold down the #2 seed in the Western Conference and have opened up a 9 point lead over the Greyhounds for top spot in their division. They have been the hottest team in the OHL over their past 10 games 9-1-0-0. Vincent Trocheck is #3 in league scoring – trailing Cousins by 1 point and 5 points behind Charles Sarault’s 102 total this season. After this game they will have home/home series’ with Saginaw and Windsor – a game at Sault Ste Marie is sandwiched between those games.
The Steelheads have not helped their playoff cause with 4 straight losses and only 2 wins in their past 10 games. They and the Frontenacs each have 55 points and a slim 4 point lead on the average Peterborough Petes. Their last win was an 8-2 drubbing of the inconsistent Icedogs squad on Feb. 21. Friday night they were gracious hosts in handing the Colts a 2-1 victory. Saturday night they were victimized at Owen Sound 6-1. The Attack were 3/7 on the powerplay. Riley Brace was ejected for abuse of an official in the second period.
My prediction Plymouth 6 Mississauga 2
Windsor at Niagara
The Spitfires were in Erie last night in the battle of the basement in the Western Conference. Turned out to be a great game to take in with lots of scoring and lead changes. The Spits actually had a 4-2 lead early in the third period but they would surrender 2 goals to allow the Otters to tie the game up. Spencer Abraham would score on Jordan DeKort only 31 seconds into the overtime frame. Khokhlachev was the third star based on his 2 goals in this game. Salvaging one point in this game continued to give the Spits a faint hope on playoff dreams but their time is definitely running out.
The Icedogs were at Belleville last night and arrived back in town early in the morning. They will be riding high after knocking off the #1 team in the Eastern Conference 5-4 in OT. Brett Ritchie had 2 goals and Carter Verhaege had the OT game winner for his second goal of the game. They have a home record of 16-12-1-1 but have only won 3 of their last 10 home games. They have opened up a five point gap in the standings against the fast approaching Fronts and Steelheads.
My prediction Windsor 3 at Niagara 4
Kingston at Oshawa
Coach Gill was clearly pleased after the Frontenacs defeated their arch rivals, and potential first round playoff opponents, the Belleville Bulls on Friday night 3-1. The first period was relatively even, but the Bulls had a 1-0 lead after 1. It was all Kingston the rest of the way, as they got their forecheck going and just "went at them" in Coach Gill's words. They seemed to win every puck battle, and kept the puck from the Bulls' potent offensive players. Gill called it a character win for his team, and asked his players to remember how it feels to leave everything on the ice. Rookie defenseman, Dylan DiPerna tied the game at 1, as he let loose a rocket from the point which clearly beat Malcolm Subban just under the crossbar. It was his 2nd goal of the season. A pair of Sams scored the remaining two goals for the Fronts. Sam Povorozniouk in the 2nd, and Sam Bennett in the third rounded out the scoring for the Frontenacs. It was the third time this season that Kingston's #1 goalie Mike Morrison has beaten the Eastern Conference leading Bulls.
The Generals - on goals by Boone Jenner, Lucas Lessio, and Tyler Biggs - defeated the Battalion for their 4th consecutive win on Friday night. It was Jenner's 40th goal of the season. He leads the Gens with 37 assists and 77 points, good for 11th in the OHL. What makes this more impressive is that Jenner has tallied these points in just 52 OHL games this season. He would likely be amongst the OHL leaders if not for stints with Canada's World Jr Team, and a long look by the Columbus Blue Jackets at the start of the NHL shortened season.
These two teams met in Kingston last Wednesday night with the Gens prevailing 4-1. Boone Jenner was the game's first star with 2 goals. It took Kingston nearly 55 minutes to solve Oshawa's backup goalie Ken Appleby who really wasn't tested much in this one. Mike Morrison was clearly the best Frontenac, as he stopped 31 of 34 shots fired his way.
Good news on Friday for the Fronts - leading point getter Henri Ikonen passed a concussion test, and practiced with the team on Saturday. He was hit hard by Erie's Hayden Hodgson, who was assessed a 10 game suspension by the league. Henri's participation in this afternoon's game depends on how he felt after Saturday's practice. Ryan Hutchinson will be eligible to return to the Fronts' lineup, after serving his 2 game suspension for his tirade in Erie, after Ikonen was hit.
My prediction Kingston 3 at Oshawa 4
Guelph at Sudbury
The Storm continue their northern Ontario road trip with a stop in to battle with the Wolves. On Friday night they would come back from 1-0 and 3-1 to post a strong 6-3 victory over the Greyhounds. 2 of the Greyhounds three goals were via the powerplay. Tanner Richard led the way with 3 assists and a +4 rating. Mitchell, Leslie, Dickinson and McGinn all had multipoint games. The Storm continue to lurk in the middle of the pack in the Western Conference – at #5 they are 5 points behind the Kitchener Rangers and 3 points ahead of the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds.
The Wolves were able to handle the Peterborough Petes at home on Friday night. After building up a healthy 4-0 lead on the home side let up a little and the Petes would score 3 straight to make the score 4-3 late in the third period. They Wolves would score with a little more than a minute to play and then added another goal via the empty net. Campagna had 2 goals – Kubalik, Harris, Pancel and Silk each had 2 points on the night as well. Sudbury continues to enjoy their slim 2 point lead over the Brampton Battalion for the #4 spot in the Eastern Conference (with a game in hand).
My prediction Guelph 4 Sudbury 3 (OT)
Peterborough at Sault Ste Marie
The Petes enter this game 4 points behind the Mississauga Steelheads for the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They have just 6 games to play, the Steelheads have 7, and Frontenacs have 8 left. The most number of points that the Petes could accumulate is 63, which means that the Battalion and the Wolves have clinched playoff spots. The Fronts and Steelheads would only have to gain 9 points, in their remaining games to eliminate the Petes, even if the Petes "win out."
Peterborough began their mini northern road swing on Friday night, with a 6-3 loss in Sudbury. Rookie defenseman Nelson Armstrong had his best game in the OHL with 2 goals, and an assist for the Petes. Armstrong was Sarnia's 10th Rd selection in the 2009 OHL Priority Selection, and never played for the Sting. The 19 year old has played in 19 games with Peterborough, since being acquired and has 3 goals and 4 assists.
The Soo are very tough on home ice (18-8-2-2) and are in a "dog fight" in the Western Conference playoff race. They are currently 6th in the Conference, 3 points behind the Guelph Storm. If the playoffs were to start tonight, the Greyhounds would match up against the 3rd place Owen Sound Attack, so they are motivated to try and move up to 5th. The Storm opened up the 3 point cushion, as they beat the Greyhounds, in Sault Ste Marie, 6-3 on Friday night. The Soo had a 3-1 lead halfway through that hockey game, only to allow 5 consecutive goals to the Storm. Their early powerplay success was nullified (scored twice on six chances)
My prediction Peterborough 3 at Sault Ste Marie 4