Wednesday March 13 2013 Ontario Hockey League Game Day Previews
Pictured is Malcolm Subban of the #1 Belleville Bulls. He is an action tonight against the streaking Oshawa Generals squad. Subban has the best GAA average (2.19) in the league and the second best save percentage (.932) in the league.
London at Erie
As the Knights finish their schedule on the road – what better way to get back on track than to meet the cellar dwelling Erie Otters? London was humiliated on the road in Windsor on Sunday 8-1. They would have great difficulty getting any rubber past Windsor’s Pavelka despite the 45 shots sent his way during the game. Both teams had many powerplay opportunities due to the ‘scrappy’ feel to this game – London was 0/6 in this category. There are many areas for improvement based on this game – look for a better effort tonight in Erie. Centre Chris Tierney is sitting at 99 career points in his 177 games in the league.
Erie will finish with the second worst record in the league this year even if they lose their remaining three games. They have lost their last 2 and only won 2 of their last 10 games. Their last action was a weekend thumping at Owen Sound where they would lose on consecutive nights 9-1 and 6-4. The second game was much better – in fact their three third period goals might ‘put some wind in their sails’ for this contest. Connor MacDavid’s two goals in this game pushed his season total to 62 points, just one shy of top rookie Nikolay Goldobin of the Sarnia Sting.
My prediction London 5 Erie 1
Kitchener at Guelph
This is a preview of their upcoming first round playoff matchup which starts next week. Based on points, Kitchener has a lead of 2 over Guelph and would have home ice advantage if the series started today. Each team has 3 games remaining this weekend to decide the playoff schedule.
Kitchener’s last played on Sunday when they hosted the Greyhounds. After the first period the Rangers had built up a 3-1 lead. A scoreless second period left the visitors with lots of work to do. They would score 4 straight on John Gibson to run away with a 5-3 victory (last goal was empty net). Reider scored twice and Puempel added the other goal.
The Storm were last in action on Sunday as they visited the Sarnia Sting. After two ties (1-1 and 2-2), Guelph was able to pull away for good at the 12:26 mark of the second period. An empty net goal by Richard would wrap the game up. News of rearguard Matt Finn being out for 4-6 weeks with a knee injury is a significant setback to the team.
My prediction Kitchener 2 Guelph 4
Oshawa at Belleville
The Generals are really rolling now as they have clicked off 7 straight victories heading into the final weekend of the regular season. If they win all three games this weekend and if Belleville loses all three of their games during regulation, then the Generals have a chance at claiming the overall league championship (depending on what Barrie does of course).
Belleville was last in action on Monday night in a rescheduled tilt against the Kingston Frontenacs. The Bulls grabbed a first period lead (2-0) just to give it back in the next period. Belleville would score twice more though for the 4-2 road victory. One penalty was assessed during the entire game. Malcolm Subban was named first star based on his 39 /41 save performance. The Bulls will complete their schedule at Mississauga on Friday night before they host the Wolves on Saturday night.
My prediction Oshawa 4 Belleville 3
Plymouth at Sault Ste Marie
Can the Whalers continue their strong play and post another win vs. the Greyhounds? They are coming off 5 wins in a row. Their most recent action was back to back wins vs. the Saginaw Spirit by scores of 4-l and 7-5. Garrett Meurs led the way offensively on Sunday with 3 goals and an assist. He has 30 goals and 30 assists this season and 9 points in his last 5 games. Leading point getter Vincent Trochek has goals in 5 straight games as well as recording at least one point in his last 18 games for the Whalers. They will conclude their schedule with a home/home series vs. the mysterious Windsor Spitfires.
The Greyhounds have a very difficult home stand to conclude the regular season, but definitely a taste of what will be needed for a long playoff run this year. After this game vs. the #2 Whalers, the Hounds will host the #4 Rangers on Saturday and then conclude their schedule vs. the Knights on Sunday. They are starting the weekend in the #6 spot, leading Sarnia by 2 slim points. After the weekend, they could finish as high as fifth and as low as seventh place. Nick Cousins is tied for second in scoring with 101 points this season. Charles Sarault leads both Cousins and Trochek by 3 points.
My prediction Plymouth 3 Sault Ste Marie 4 (OT)