Pictured is Ryan Strome of the Niagara Icedogs who will be in action tonight when his team host’s the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds. He has scored in 8 of the 9 games that his team has played this month. Surprisingly he has only 1 powerplay goal (of his team’s 5 PP goals). Last year vs. the Hounds he had 2 goals and 2 assists in 2 games.
Sault Ste Marie at Niagara
The Greyhounds have been up and down more than the lift bridges that criss cross St. Catharines. They lost their last 2 games (both at home) vs. the Bulls last Thursday 5-3, and then were dominated by the Guelph Storm 7-1. It will be interesting to see their giants on defence adjust to the small confines of the historic Jack Gatecliff Arena – such as 6’5” Darnell Nurse who is frequently paired with 6’2” Alex Gudbranson. Flyers (NHL) draft pick Nick Cousins is doing the heavy lifting on offence with 7 goals and 12 assists this season to go along with his 24 PIM. He has been steady in the past 4 games with 1 goal and 2 assists. Brandon Alderson was on my short list of players who would have a break-out season – but he has yet to emerge. Sault Ste Marie sits alone in
fifth place in the Western Conference with 7 wins in 13 games played. They have not played in overtime this season.
The Icedogs continue to rely on their #1 line of Strome(17 pts), Ritchie(14 pts) and Theoret(8 pts). Dougie Hamilton continues to enjoy his offensive freedoms and has tallied 14 pts - including 2 assists in Saturday night’s home victory over the Fronts. Newly acquired Lemmon continues to make his presence known in the corners with his feisty physical play. Niagara is alone in second (Oshawa and Barrie tied for first) with 8 wins and 17 points this season in 13 games played.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 2 Niagara 5
London at Peterborough
With 5 players chosen to play in the Subway Super Series, the London Knights (7-3-0-1) have plenty of star power. Forwards Max Domi, Seth Griffith, Ryan Rupert, and defenseman Scott Harrington have been selected to represent the OHL, while defenseman Nikita Zadorov will play for Russia in one of the games.
Last Friday night the Knights suffered a home ice loss 4-3 to the Erie Otters in the nationally televised Sportsnet Game of the Week. They followed that up with one goal road wins in Barrie on Saturday night, and in Sudbury on Sunday night. Earlier in the season the Knights suffered home ice losses to Kitchener and Guelph. Their only road loss of the season came in Oshawa, so certainly they are very comfortable playing away from home.
The Peterborough Petes (2-6-2-1) should be no match for the Knights, despite the improved play of defenseman Slater Koekoek, who was selected to play for the OHL in the Super Series, as well. Francis Menard, acquired from the Guelph Storm in the offseason, has played well for the Petes, and is used to playing London 8 times a year. The Petes acquired WHL overager, Andrew Rieder, off waivers, in a rare league to league transfer move. Rieder cleared waivers in the WHL, and was made available to the rest of the CHL. The former Regina Pat, and Regina native, was the victim of being on a team which had their full compliment of overagers already (3). Rieder is a hard-working forward, who can kill penalties, and may chip in offensively, as well. Coach Mike
Pelino expects Rieder to be in the line-up tonight against the Knights. Rieder becomes the 3rd Pete overager, after Menard, and Brett Findlay, who was acquired from the Greyhounds in June.
My prediction London 5 at Peterborough 2
Windsor at Sarnia
The Spits have steadily climbed up to compete with the teams at the top of the Western Conference. Their 6 wins and 3 shootout losses in 13 games gives them 15 points and second spot overall in the conference. Last weekend they would win twice(home and away vs. last place Erie) and lose once(home vs. Niagara). This next stretch of games vs. tough Western Conference teams will be a surefire test of how resilient this team really is.
They will play at Guelph, at Owen Sound and at Kitchener – sandwiched in their is a home game vs. the always tough London Knights. Kerby Rychel (11 pts – 4 PP goals)was selected to participate in the Subway
Super Series – supported by his 7 goals in 8 games this month
The big news in Sarnia is not about the current team, but that former Sting superstar Nail Yakupov will be in the lineup for Russia to play at the Subway Super Series when it comes to town in a few weeks. Last weekend this team would drop three consecutive games 2 at home (Mississauga & Kitchener) and at Guelph. Alex Galchenyuk continues to lead the way for the team in offensive categories with 5 goals and 10 assists in 12 games this season. The Sting’s .458 winning percentage places them alone in eighth place with 5 wins and 11 points.
My prediction Windsor 3 Sarnia 4 (OT)
Brampton at Barrie
After being beaten in overtime at Niagara a week ago, the Battalion put together two solid 4-1 victories at home (vs. Windsor and Barrie). In the Brampton victory over the Colts on Sunday Blake Clarke was given first star honours due to his 3 point game – he is now the offensive stats leader (10 pts in 13 games played). Defenseman Miller was also solid with 2 assists and a +2 rating. The Battalion have been close in many games this season, but only have 5 wins to show in 13 games played. 14 points puts them alone in sixth place. Brandon Robinson will be a game time decision.
Barrie will not be interested in a repeat performance of Sunday’s 4-1 defeat in Brampton. Ekblad had the lone Colts goal very early in the first period via powerplay. Alex Fotinos was the goalie of record in that loss – look for Niederberger to start the contest this time around. Barrie and Oshawa sit on top of the Eastern conference standings with a record of 9-3-0-1. Their 19 points equals the total of the Western Conference’s Guelph Storm for top spot in the OHL.
My prediction Brampton 3 Barrie 5