Pictured is Erie goaltender Oscar Dansk. He has been called upon to be the workhorse for this young squad – usually giving the Otters a chance to win, but frequently getting bombarded by the opposition. He is #3 in the OHL in the saves category – he has stopped 670 of 740 shots on goal this season.
Belleville at Erie
The Belleville Bulls (12-7-3-0) continue to have difficulty scoring goals, but they remain in first place in the EastDivision of the Eastern Conference. They are scoring at a rate of 2.36 goals a game but have only scored 5 goals twice, and 4 goals once this season, despite having won 12 games. Obviously their defensive play has been stellar, as they have given up the second fewest number of goals in the league. Malcolm Subban has been outstanding.
They won their last game 3-2 in OT on home ice, over the Plymouth Whalers on Saturday night. Newest Bull, Jake Cardwell, was the hero, in this one. The goal was his 4th of the season, and team leading 18th point. Second year defenseman, Jordan Subban is second in team point scoring, with 16 just 4 shy of his total from last season. Brendan Gaunce remains the only Bull forward to score double digits in points this season.
The Erie Otters (7-13-1-2) have a bright future. Second year forward, Connor Brown leads the team with 16 goals and 31 points. He has to be considered as one of the most improved players in the OHL this season. Last year, Brown was a minus-71 on a team which didn't win it's 7th game until leap year day (February 29th), and finished the season with just 10 wins. This year, Brown is a plus-1. It is another Connor who has received the most attention, and until recently, led the team in point scoring as a 15 year old. That of course is Connor McDavid, who leads all rookies by a wide margin with 30 points.
The goalie who got the win on Feb. 29th was overage, Russian netminder, Ramis Sadikov. This season, Swedish Import goalie, Oscar Dansk has carried the load, for the Otters, appearing in 19 games and winning all 7 of the Otters' games, so far.
My prediction Belleville 2 at Erie 3
London at Sarnia
The Knights are the hottest team in the OHL right now with 8 wins in a row. They have 16 wins now in 23 games played this season. Owen Sound is just ahead of them with one more game played and 3 more points earned for the top spot in the Western Conference. Seth Griffith leads the offence with 40 points including 6 powerplay goals. He has 19 points in the Knight’s 9 games this month. Draft eligible Max Domi has also done well thisseason with 32 points including 5 goals and 5 assists in the last 5 games. Kevin Baille is in the top 5 in goalie save percentage and goals against average.
Sarnia had a forgettable set of games last weekend in the 705 area code. They would lose at Barrie 5-3, lose in a shootout at Sudbury 3-2 and then get run out of the building in Sault Ste Marie 9-2. This slip has pushed them down to the #6 spot in the Western Conference and a .565 winning percentage.
They were on a solid winning streak before this northern trip, so they are eager to get back in the ‘W’ column, but London will probably too big an order for that to happen.
My prediction London 5 Sarnia 2
Brampton at Barrie
Brampton has a .562 winning percentage – 11 wins in their 24 games this season – good for fifth place in the Eastern Conference. They have won 5 of their last 5 games !! During this streak they have recorded 4 goals four times and 5 goals once. Their streak started against the Barrie Colts on November 10 with their 4-3 victory. In this game, the Battalion would score 4 goals in a row before the Colts would respond in the last minute of the third period to make the score sound closer than it felt.
The Colts were in Owen Sound last night for the battle of the best (in the OHL) last night. Barrie were able to put 36 shots on net but ran into the very hot Jordan Binnington who would post his third straight shutout. (He was the OHL player of the week for his spectacular numbers last week.) The Colts continue their solid season though as they have recorded 17 wins in 24 games this season.
My prediction Brampton 3 Barrie 5