Plymouth at Niagara
The Whalers are the second hottest team in the league right now (aside from the sizzling Bulls) with a record of 8-2 in their past 10 games. They are first in their division and second seed in their conference behind the London Knights. Plymouth lost their last game at Windsor 6-5 despite outshooting the Spits 43-28. Wilson had 2 goals – Rakell and Trocheck had 2 points in the contest as well. Vincent Trochek is #3 in the league scoring race trailing suspended Nick Cousins by 7 points. Friday the Whalers will travel to Erie and then they will conclude their road trip with a stop in Mississauga on Sunday afternoon. They have scored 38 goals in their past 6 games for an average of 6.33 goals per game.
The Icedogs continue their quest for playoff positioning as they try to hold off the Steelheads (3 points behind) and the Frontenacs (5 points behind). The Icedogs have won 4 of their last 10 games as have the Fronts – the Steelheads have only won 3 of their last 10 games. Niagara continues to lack reliable secondary scoring so they will have to keep the opposition ‘in check’ to have a chance in this game. The Icedogs will travel to Belleville on Saturday and then play a desperate Spits squad on Sunday afternoon.
My prediction Plymouth 5 at Niagara 4
Ottawa at Peterborough
This will be the first time that the 67s will miss the playoffs in 18 seasons, dating all the way back to the 1994-95 season. That’s an incredible feat based on the cyclical nature of Junior Hockey. They are in “full rebuild mode”, and coach Chris Byrne is looking forward to next year.
During the current stretch, the 67s haven’t tasted victory since February 9th, a stretch of 7 games. In their most recent loss, the Subban brothers lead the Bulls to a 6-3 victory over the 67s on Sunday afternoon. Defenseman, Jordan Subban had a goal and an assist to extend his point scoring streak to 5 games, and brother Malcolm made 34 saves for the victory.
The Peterborough Petes have an opportunity to move to within 2 points of the 8th place, Kingston Frontenacs with a win tonight. They have just announced contract extensions for GM Mike Oke, and coach Jody Hull, who have done exceptional jobs to lead the Petes back from 16 points back of the Fronts when Hull took over. The Petes now have 8 regular season games to make up the remaining 4 point deficit. Kingston has 9 games remaining. The Petes have missed the playoffs the last two seasons.
The game tonight is of particular importance to the Petes, since they will be heading to northern Ontario to take on the Wolves, and the Soo this weekend. Josh Maguire will miss tonight’s game to attend his grandfather’s funeral, but should be back in for Sunday’s game at the Soo. Steven Trojanovic is ill and will not play this weekend. Jr. B callup, Tyson Baker will make the trip north in case someone gets injured, or ill.
My prediction Ottawa 3 at Peterborough 5
London at Windsor
The Knights have a healthy 10 point lead on the Owen Sound Attack but they would like to enter the playoffs in a positive fashion. London has put together a tidy 4 game win streak after a rough spell in their previous 5 games. The will finish their weekend schedule hosting the Sarnia Sting on Friday night and the Kitchener Rangers on Sunday afternoon. The schedule makers have not been kind to the defending champs as they only have 2 home games in their last 9 games and will finish the season way up north in Sault Ste Marie after being in Erie, PA four days earlier.
The Spits have been decimated by injuries and suspensions. Recently Head Coach/GM Bob Boughner suspended Clark and Bowen for this week’s games for disciplinary reasons. The Spits are also without Sieloff and Bateman due to injuries. They are clinging to playoff dreams as they currently trail the Saginaw Spirit by 9 points with 8 games remaining in their schedule. They will be at Erie on Saturday followed up by a visit to Niagara on Sunday.
Last time these teams met was Jan 18 when the Spits would embarrass the Knights 5-3 in London. Jake Paterson was victimized 3 times on 8 shots in the first 10:58. These teams will meet up again in Windsor on March 10.
My prediction London 4 at Windsor 1
Owen Sound at Barrie
The Attack will be without the services of hearty forward Daniel Zweep for the next 5 games since the league has suspended him for his cross check on the weekend. Owen Sound continues to lead the league in PIM with 1104 this season – Windsor is next in line with 979 PIM. The Attack continue to sit in the #3 spot of the conference a full 10 points behind the London Knights. They are watching their backs a lot more since the Kitchener Rangers have closed the gap and now only trail by 2 points – Kitchener has one game in hand. In their last game Daniel Catenacci had the best offensive game of his season with 2 goals and 3 assists after not scoring in the previous 2 games. He leads the team with 34 goals and 38 assists – Cameron Brace is second on the team with 31 goals and 30 assists.
The Colts have faltered lately and have a record of 4-4-2-0 in their last ten games. News that Mark Scheifele is suspended will not help their fortunes down the stretch, but the return of solid D-man Aaron Ekblad after his 2 week stink on the injured list is certainly welcomed. They currently trail the Belleville Bulls by 6 points for top spot in the conference after leading for much of the season. The Brampton Battalion trail the Colts by a healthy 7 points for top spot in the division so I would expect the Colts to maintain their #2 seed in the conference the rest of the way. Barrie’s recent 4 straight losses were ‘bookended’ by shutouts of Guelph 2-0 and Mississauga 3-0. Their brief weekend schedule will conclude tomorrow night when they travel to Mississauga.
My prediction Owen Sound 3 at Barrie 2