Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Tuesday March 13 2012
Sunday was a solid day of predictions – 5 of 7. I did go against the Kitchener Rangers but they played a very shrewd defensive game against the #1 Knights and came away with the 1-0 victory.
Pictured here is Kirby Rychel who had a big home game victory on Sunday vs. the Sarnia Sting – scoring twice and gathering 2 assists as well
Oshawa at Peterborough
Oshawa has now clinched a playoff spot – the question is whether they will be in the #8, #7 or #6 spot. They have certainly ‘taken care of business’ themselves by winning three games in a row. In their last game on Sunday they were able to get by the Brampton Battalion 5-2 (Porowski scored for Brampton with 53 seconds left to make the score sound closer than it actually was). Oshawa has received reliable scoring from their top players this month – Thomas, Lessio, Jensen and Laughton. Andreoff was recently honoured for playing his franchise leading 277th game played (unfortunately he has only scored once in the past 8 games). Interesting that starting goalie Kevin Baille has one shutout all season (Jan 22 vs. Barrie).
Peterborough is clinging to playoff dreams – but they will need to win all three of their games and have Belleville drop all of their remaining games. If there is a tie for eighth place there will be a sudden death playoff game to determine which team will go on. They have not been up to the challenge lately – losing 4 in a row and only winning 2 of their last 10 games. Overager Yogan leads the team with 71 points and is on the cusp of an impressive 40 goal season (37 currently). His +4 rating is the best on the team (Nick Ritchie with -22 is at the bottom end of things). They will be without the service of their steady left winger Nick Ritchie as he had a confrontation with a referee near the end of their last game. After this final home game the team finishes their schedule with tough games at Niagara and at Oshawa.
My prediction Oshawa 4 Peterborough 2
Barrie at Sudbury
The schedule makers got it right for sure here – these two teams are very close in the standings and have had some good battles lately. They last hooked up on March 8 at Barrie where the Colts dominated the Wolves. Barrie would score 4 times in the first and 3 times in the second to put the game way out of reach. The Wolves would push hard in the second with 20 shots on net – then seemed to throw in the towel and only mustered 1 shot on net during the third period. Mathias Niederberger would record his third shutout of the season and 4th win in 5 games. The rookie goalie has a record of 3 wins and 2 losses vs. Sudbury this year.
Barrie is playing solid hockey with a record of 8-2 in their past 10 games (Niagara has same record – only Plymouth is better at 9-1). They will finish their season with games at Mississauga on Friday and then host Brampton on Saturday. Tanner Pearson continues to have a strong season with 36 goals and 51 assists – good for third place in the scoring race BUT there are 3 players with 85 points and another 3 players with 84 points. Fourth year player Colin Behenna had a -42 rating last year despite scoring 88 points - this year he has a +2 rating with 74 points.
The Wolves are not quite playing at the Colts’ level though – the Wolves have 35 wins and 75 points (5th in the conference) vs. the Colts’ 39 wins and 82 points(3rd in the conference). Sudbury will host their final regular season game tonight – including an auction for an autographed Hedley jersey and dozens of free T-shirts during intermission promotions. They will finish their schedule on the road at Ottawa on Friday and then at Belleville on Saturday night. In their last 10 games they have a record of 5-4-1-0 and they sit only 3 points behind fourth place Brampton Battalion. Brampton and Sudbury will play each other in the first round – the question is who will have home ice advantage. [The Wolves could be caught by the Majors if the ‘perfect storm’ happens, but Sudbury would win the tie-breaker for fifth place]. Michael Sgarbossa continues to challenge for the league scoring title – he currently is 1 point behind Tyler Toffoli for the #1 spot in the league (96 pts for TT, 95 pts for MS). Sgarbossa has 11 points in the 5 games the Wolves have played this month.
My prediction Barrie 3 Sudbury 5