Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews for Wednesday November 14 2012

Pictured is Jason Shaw who was recently acquired by the Saginaw Spirit in a trade for a 7th round pick with Belleville.  He is in his overage year – and brings zero goals and 4 assists in 19 games played this season.   He will be in action tonight as his Saginaw Spirit host the strong Plymouth Whalers squad.


Niagara at Erie

The Icedogs are coming off an up and down weekend where they had one win and one loss. Their fourth round pick – Hughes was at practice this week and will likely see some action this week. Coach Marty Williamson had
defenceman Jesse Graham playing up front last game to ‘change things up’. Will this experiment continue?  Dougie Hamilton, Ryan Strome and Brett Ritchie are all coming off successful representation at the Subway Super Series.  The Dogs were #10 in the CHL last week but have slipped a little due to their loss last weekend vs. Mississauga.  Their record is now 13-7-1-0 as they sit in the #4 spot in the Eastern Conference.  Niagara continues its search for scoring from a source other than their top unit of Strome, Ritchie and Theoret. Chris Festarini should get the start against his old squad.

Erie’s hottest player is Connor Brown – he tallied 7 points in two games last weekend – he now has 28 points to put him in the top 15 in scoring in the league. The Otters sit in the basement of the Western Conference with a record of 6-11-1-2.  Oscar Dansk has been a workhorse in the nets for Erie recently – noteably 90 saves in their
2 wins in their last 2 games. Look for Devin Williams to get at least one start this weekend at Kitchener or at home vs. Guelph.

 My prediction Niagara 5 Erie 2


Guelph at Belleville

The Guelph Storm (12-8-0-1) attempted to shore up their goaltending situation this week by trading a 7th Round pick to the 67s for OA Keegan Wilson. Wilson needed a change of scenery after winning only 4 of his 15
starts for Ottawa. Storm starter and Leafs' prospect, Garret Sparks, has started every game so far for Guelph. He has looked spectacular and has also looked terrible at times. Youngster Jason Da Silva will now be allowed to
develop more slowly for Guelph, and with the possibility that Sparks could join Team USA for the World Jr Championship, Wilson will sorely be needed.  The Storm are 6-3 on the road this year, despite losing their last road game, 5-1 in Brampton, on Remembrance Day. Of note, in that game, Guelph's powerplay went 0-7.

The Bulls (10-6-3-0) are 4-3 on home ice. The recently acquired OA defenseman Jake Cardwell, from the 67s, is expected to be in the Bulls' lineup tonight. To make room for him, Bulls' GM George Burnett sent OA  defenseman Jason Shaw to Saginaw. Burnett is looking for some grit from Cardwell, but also a little
offense from the back-end, especially on the powerplay.

This is a potential World Jr goalie preview, when Canada plays the US over the Christmas break.  Malcolm Subban (Bruins), and Garret Sparks (Leafs) will likely lead their teams into battle at Yardman Arena in Belleville tonight.

 My prediction Guelph 3 at Belleville 2

Plymouth at Saginaw

Last weekend the Whalers had a win and a loss in their 2 game homestand.  On Friday night they would outlast Windsor 5-3, and then on Saturday night they would be embarrassed by the visiting London Knights 5-0.  Top scorers on Friday night were Noessen with 2 goals and 2 assists and Meurs with a goal and an assist.  The Whalers continue to keep in touch with the Western Conference leaders – their record is 10-6-2-1 good for 23 points.   After this game, they will travel to Belleville and Ottawa this weekend for a pair of games.

 Saginaw has been on a bit of a roll with 5 points in their last 3 games. Last weekend on their Eastern Ontario road trip they would defeat Ottawa 8-3 and then get past Belleville 4-3 in overtime.  On Sunday they would lose in a shootout to Kingston 5-4.  The Spirit are currently tied with the Greyhounds for the eighth spot in the Western Conference with 19 points.  Jake Paterson has had the lion’s share of work in the nets – his record
is 8-7-2 with a .902 save % and 3.43 GAA.  Top scorer for the club is Vincent Trochek – he has 11 point in 6 games this month and now sits with 221 career points in 222 career games.

 My prediction Plymouth 4 Saginaw 2


Brampton at Sudbury

The Troops take their dismal road record of 1-5-3 to the north for a series of games this weekend. Their first stop will be in Sudbury, followed by games in Sault Ste Marie on Friday night and then Saginaw on Saturday night.   Overager Derek Froats was recently waived and will have season ending wrist surgery.  Rookie Blake Clarke continues his strong campaign and leads the team in points (18) and assists (13). Captain Blake
Goodrow leads the team in goals (12) with 5 on the powerplay.  The team is an even .500 this season with a record of 8-8-3-2. They are sandwiched between Belleville and Kingston in the #6 spot in the Eastern Conference.

Sudbury lost three games last week and has now dropped 4 in a row.  Included in those loses is a 4-2 defeat at the hands of the Battalion on Nov 4 in Brampton.  Sudbury only managed 12 shots combined in periods 2 and 3 for a game total of 24.  Huether and Silk scored for the Wolves.  Joel Vienneau has started 16 of the teams 21 games and has a record of 6-9-0-1

A promotion tonight will be a program insert featuring North Bay born Danny Deroschers. The Battalion are in the midst of relocating to North Bay.  Word is that there will be hundreds of fans at this game from North Bay to support their new team.  Bell Canada is also supplying bells to the first 500 fans, so this game should be a real hum-dinger!

  My prediction Brampton 4 Sudbury 3 (OT)