Where will the Storm winds blow?
Last week the Storm went 2-2 defeating the Owen Sound Attack on Wednesday and beating Kitchener on Family Day but suffered losses to Owen Sound on Friday and Saturday they were defeated by Plymouth.
The Western Conference is beginning to take shape with 3 teams already clinching playoff spots (London,Owen Sound, & Kitchener). Guelph sit in 5th place but the Soo GreyHounds and Sarnia Sting are both within 2 points of the Storm. Guelph do have a game in hand on the Hounds and 3 on the Sting.
Guelph will play all their games against Eastern Conference opponents this weekend. They will be at home tonight against Ryan Strome and the Niagara Ice Dogs, Saturday they will travel to Barrie and on Sunday back at the Sleeman Centre to take on the Wolves.
Niagara Ice Dogs- (26-28-2-2) for 56 pts- 6th in the Eastern Conference.
-Niagara has been struggling lately losing their last 3 games. They've been out scored 16-5 in that stretch. In their last 10 games the Ice Dogs are 3-7.
-After Ryan Strome and Brett Richie were sent back to Niagara many believed they wouldn't take much of a step back because of the offense that Strome and Richie would be bringing back with them. But as stated above they have struggled to get a foot hold in the conference and have begun a slide. They will still make the playoffs because of their good start and how bad of a start Peterborough and Ottawa got off too. It also helps that Kingston has been sliding too.
-The only other time they have played one another this year seen the Dogs win 9-4. Garret Sparks was yanked and Jason DaSilva faired no better. Robbie Fabbri scored his 1st 3 goals of the year in that game. Also the guy I said to watch in my preview for the game was Niagara's Brett Richie, he had an ok game. He finished with 4 goals and 2 assists.
Player to Watch:
Anthony DiFruscia is a kid to keep your eye, especially if you're a draft junkie. DiFruscia is draft eligable this year and is averaging just under a point every 2 games. I have only seen him once this year but as Peter Knuelman points out, every time he see's him he scores.
Barrie Colts- (36-18-2-2) for 76 pts- 2nd in the Eastern Conference.
-Guelph won the only game they played against one another 3-2. Scott Kosmachuk had a pair of goals in the win. But Barrie was without some guy named Mark Scheifele. Scheifele of course was sent back to Barrie after playing a few games with the Jets in the NHL.
-Barrie is coming off an OT loss to Owen Sound last night and will face the Sudbury Wolves tonight. Scheifele had both Colts goals in the 3-2 loss. Barrie has faltered a bit lately, they are 4-4-2-0 in their last 10 and lost to both Belleville and Brampton earlier in the week.
-Despite their recent struggles the Colts remain just 2 points out of 1st place in the Eastern Conference, Belleville is currently the top dog and have 2 games in hand on Barrie.
Player to Watch:
Keep an eye on Detroit Red Wings prospect Andreas Athanasiou. He has been a great addition to the team this year since coming over in the off season from London and continues to raise his offensive point totals. He has 24 goals 33 assists for 57 points, all are career highs.
Sudbury Wolves- (25-21-4-7) for 61 pts- 5th in the Eastern Conference.
-After dealing Joel Vienneau, Frank Corrado, and Josh Leivo and picks to Kitchener many thought the Wolves would began to circle the drain and plummet near the bottom of the conference. It's has been the complete opposite though for Sudbury who have reaped the rewards of some great goaltending from Franky Palazzese who was a piece that came back from Kitchener. The Wolves are entrenched right in the middle of the playoffs and have showed signs that they can be a threat.
-The Wolves offense is being lead by draft eligible Matthew Campagna. Campagna has career highs in all offensive categories and holds the longest point streak in the OHL 18 games from Nov 24th-Jan 12th. Campagna was Sudbury's 5th overall pick in the OHL draft in 2010.
-Saverio Posa will be eligible to return in this game for Guelph. Posa will help shore up the back end and will be welcomed back by his teammates with open arms. Posa has been a solid deadline pickup for the Storm, the former Windsor captain has stepped in and been a veteran leader and has helped with the on ice leadership that has been lost because of the Storm's current captain, Matt Finn's battle with Mono.
Player to watch:
Matthew Campagna has been a treat to watch this year. I have only seen him once but he was hard to miss. Do yourself a favor and keep an eye on him you won't be disapointed. Campagna may not be a top prospect in this years draft but someone will get a decent prospect when they select him.
Thanks for reading, you can follow on Twitter @ChrisMcDonald91.