Pictured is Connor Brown of the Erie Otters. He is the Otters’ team leader in points and also leads the OHL in powerplay goals (11). Erie hosts the Whalers tonight.
Plymouth at Erie
The Whalers are in first place in their division and thus are in second place overall in the conference. If they were in the other Western division, they would be in fifth place (same as the Otters). The Whalers have 12 wins, 8 losses, 2 overtime losses and 1 shootout loss in their 24 games this season. This season they have scored 7 more goals than they have surrendered (ie 86 vs. 79). Last Wednesday they hosted the Windsor Spitfires and were able to shut them down to the tune of 3-0. On Friday night they would host the Kingston Frontenacs and outshoot them 53-34. The Whalers built up a 5-2 lead, but it would evaporate in front of their eyes as the Fronts would escape with a 7-6 victory.
Rookie Ryan Hartman has 10 points in 12 games this month. Stefan Noesen is the team’s goal scoringleader (14) and has notched 7 goals in the past 7 games. Rickard Rakell has 10 points in 10 games this month.
Erie continues to hold down last place in the Western Conference with only 7 wins in their 26 games this season. Last week they lost to Belleville in a shootout and then fell to Guelph by only one goal. They would also lose to Kitchener by 2 goals. Connor Brown leads the team with 16 goals and 17 assists. He also leads the league with 11 powerplay goals (6 others tied with 8 goals each). After this game, the Otters will play at Sault Ste Marie on Friday night and then visit Sudbury on Sunday afternoon.
My prediction Plymouth 4 Erie 1
Niagara at Belleville
The Niagara Icedogs (17-8-1-1) are one point behind the Barrie Colts for 1st in the Eastern Conference. They defeated the Bulls, last Friday night, 4-1. The game was tied at one through the first two period, but the Ice Dogs' superior offense took over in the 3rd period, scoring 3 unanswered goals. Ryan Strome continues to lead the OHL, with 51 points, in 27 games. Teammate, Dougie Hamilton leads all defensemen, with 27 assists, and 34 points.
Saturday night would be the comeback of the season for the Icedogs. They were trailing to the Sudbury Wolves in the third period 5-1. Four unanswered goals were potted by Niagara including the game tying goal with only 7 seconds on the clock. Dougie Hamilton would notch the game winner in the shootout.
The next day the Oshawa Generals defeated the tired Ice Dogs, in Oshawa 3-1. Boone Jenner scored 2, andassisted on the other one for the Gens. Oshawa was full value for this win, as they outshot the Ice Dogs 38-25.
Belleville (14-8-3-0) is two points behind the Generals for first in the East Division, despite having scored only 60 goals on the season. The reason they have remained competitive is that they have only given up 61 goals. The primary reason for that has been the great play of future World Junior Canadian goalie, Malcolm Subban. He has a 0.929 SV% and a 2.25 GAA.
The Bulls shut out the Ottawa 67s on Sunday afternoon 3-0. They totally dominated an undermanned, 67ssquad, outshooting them 53-23. The game could have been a blow out, if not for the solid play of newly acquired Clint Windsor in the Ottawa goal. Ottawa dressed five 16 year olds in this one, because of injuries, and one key suspension to Sean Monahan.
Expect a low scoring game, as Belleville does not give up much on home ice. They've keep their opponents to 3 goals in regulation time, or less, in every home game this year, except against the Oshawa Generals, who seem to have their number, and one game in which Charlie Graham gave up 6 to Mississauga.
I expect Belleville to get their revenge on the Ice Dogs, and Malcolm Subban to lead the way.
Niagara 2 at Belleville 3
Sudbury at Sault Ste Marie
This is a rematch of last week’s game in Sudbury. In that game the Greyhounds were able to build up a 4-1 lead late in the second period. The Wolves responded before the second period ended and edged closer 4-3. Sudbury was then able to tie the game at the 10:50 mark of the third period before re-issued Ryan Sproul wouldnotch the game winner for the visitors at the 14:54 mark.
The Wolves have only won 2 of their last 10 games. They sit in the last potential playoff position with 10 wins in their last 27 games. The Greyhounds have that same record of 2 wins in their past 10 games. They have 11 wins in their 26 games this season and are in ninth place in the Western Conference only 1 point behind Saginaw. The Wolves away record is 4-9-0-2 whereas the Greyhounds home record is 5-6-2-0.
After this game the Wolves will return home to host the Owen Sound Attack and the Erie Otters. The Greyhounds will remain at home and will host the Erie and then the Attack.
My prediction Sudbury 2 Sault Ste Marie 5