Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Wednesday February 29 2012

Yesterday’s morning ‘education game’ was a real crackerjack ....starting with 2 fights for the young schoolchildren to witness (cheer the fights, but don’t fight boys and girls ....) ending with a 4 goal period by the
Plymouth Whalers who win the game by 2 goals.  HEY ... I predicted a 2 goal win by Plymouth. 1 for 1 so far this week .... but lots more work to do this week ... here we go


Guelph at Erie

 Guelph has a slim lead of 1 point over the Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds for the final playoff spot in the  Western Conference  (London appears to be the opponent).  They have helped their cause by winning 2 of 3 last weekend – including victories over Kitchener and Owen Sound sandwiched between a loss at Sarnia.  Zack Mitchell leads the team with 31 goals and 66 points, Menard has 53 points and Kosmachuk has 50 points. Gritty Defenceman  Andrey Pedan is averaging a point per game this month to go along with 28 PIM in 12 games. Hunter Garlent is 9th in rookie scoring with 32 points – 3 points in his last game.

Erie has only 12 wins this season – their last ‘W’ was 4 games ago at Belleville.  Rookie Connor Brown has been averaging a point per game in Erie’s 12 games this month. His -12 rating this month gives him a team worst -63 rating – he is second on team for scoring with 20 goals and 24 assists.  With a clear statement from league commissioner Branch quashing any rumors of the team moving next season, the fans and players can now focus more of their energy on gaining experience and getting ready for next year.

  My prediction Guelph 4 Erie 2


Barrie at Owen Sound

The Colts and Battalion are in a leapfrog contest in the standings – each jockeying for the #3 spot in the Eastern Conference. Barrie has 72 points and is currently in fourth place 1 point behind Brampton. They are one of the hotter teams in the OHL now with a record of 7-2-0-1 in their past 10 games.  Last  weekend they had 2 one goal victories as well as a one goal loss.  Tanner Pearson is #3 in scoring in the OHL with 33 goals and 82 points.  His last goal was 5 games ago.  Goalie Niederberger has won 4 of his last 5 games played – the backup goalie Fotinos played on Feb 24 and registered a win of his own.  Barrie boasts the second best road team powerplay in the OHL.

Owen Sound is in 5th place with 67 points in the Western Conference – they trail Sarnia by 2 points and are ahead of Windsor by 5 points. The Attack and Icedogs share the league best 8-2-0-0 record in their past 10 games.  Last weekend Guelph spanked the Attack 6-2 and then rebounded with a one sided  home victory vs. the Rangers 7-1. Mike Halmo continues to lead the team in goals (38) assists (41) +/- (25) and PIM (144).

  My prediction Barrie 3 Owen Sound 5


Kingston at Belleville

The Fronts up and down season continued last weekend as they stopped in to visit the Icedogs on  Sunday. In that game they were dominated 9-3 on the scoreboard and 54-27 in the shots on goal department. Kujawinski and Smith both had a goal and an assist.  (Smith’s first career goal). Last weekend they also squeaked by Erie 4-3 but were shellshocked at home vs. the strong Knights team 10-3. They are almost at the point of being  officially eliminated from the playoffs.  Rookie Greenaway has 23 goals and 48 points – Cody Alcock is second on the team with 23 goals and 44 points.

Belleville is locked up with the Peterborough Petes in a tie for 8th place in the Eastern Conference.  (Both teams are 1 point behind Oshawa.) The Bulls have been mediocre with a record of 5-5-0-0 in their last 10 matches.  On Feb 10 Belleville beat Kingston 3-2 (OT). In that game both teams scored shorthanded and the powerplay
units were busy not very effective – Bulls were 1/6 and the Fronts were 0/7.

 My prediction Kingston 3 Belleville 4 (OT)

Sarnia at Sault Ste Marie

The Sting are in fourth place in the Western Conference with 69 points. They lead the scrappy Owen Sound Attack by 2 points. Sarnia has been playing very well despite having their defensive corps and part of their
forward lines depleted due to injuries.  In their last 4 games they have 3 regulation wins and one overtime
loss.  Nail Yakupov has been steady with 8 goals in his past 8 games –Ryan Spooner has tallied 15 points and Brett Thompson has also been steady with 11 points in 10 games this month.  The Sting have an away record of
13-14-1-2.  Five of their remaining eight games are at home – some of their games watch for in the coming weeks are against Owen Sound, London and Plymouth.

The Greyhounds are in battle for playoff action as they currently trail the eighth place Guelph Storm by only one point (and Guelph has played 2 fewer games).  Sault Ste Marie has not helped their cause much by earning only 3 wins in their past 10 games.  Peterborough comes for a visit on Friday and then the rest of their games are against Western Conference teams – Sarnia once again, Windsor twice as well as Kitchener, Plymouth and Saginaw.  Their home record for the season is 13-13-0-0

 My prediction Sarnia 3 Sault Ste Marie 1