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February 15th Game Day Previews

by Dwayne Williams

Well the weekend went well for me – capped off with 7 of 8 correct predictions on Sunday. Guessed the PBO @ BAR score correct – and had SAR with the win in OT, but they won in SO.  We are coming down the home stretch of the OHL schedule as teams jockey for playoff position and look to get their special teams ‘in order’.

Niagara at Erie
The Dogs last played on Sunday night at Oshawa. In that back and forth contest – which was tied at 2 after 2 periods – the Dogs eventually prevailed 5-3 (late empty net goal). Ritchie notching the late 3rd period game winning goal.  Aggozino had 2 powerplay goals.  They gave up first place on Sunday for a few hours – leapfrogging the 67’s again to lead them by 1 point.  The Icedogs have 8 wins in their last 10 games which is only matched by the Western Conference leading London Knights.
Erie had a Western road trip last weekend – where they were outscored by Saginaw 5-2 and then the Spits shut them out 5-0.  One week ago they played Owen Sound tough and earned a point by going to a shootout. Devin Williams had the last 4 of 5 starts for the team – getting him ready for next year.
Would be a good touch if Festarini got the start for the Icedogs against his former team.
Niagara 7 Erie 2

Ottawa at Belleville
To start the weekend the 67’s had 2 straight losses. They lost to the Petes 5-4 on Thursday and then dropped a 5-4 match to Guelph.  Ottawa then bounced back with a huge win on Sunday at home vs. the Bulls 9-0. In that game Shane Prince was on fire with 3 goals and 1 assist – Callaghan had 2 goals and Cazzola had 3 assists.   Late breaking news of John MacFarland being out for the season will change the line combinations for the rest of the way.
In the 9-0 drubbing at the hands of the 67’s, Belleville had five players who had a -3 rating. Subban was replaced after 3 goals.  Look for the Bulls to keep the game a little bit closer than Saturday’s nightmare.  Last weekend they won the other games against Kingston (3-2 OT) and home vs. Guelph (3-1).
Belleville is on the outside looking in – trailing the final playoff spot by 1 point (Peterborough and Mississauga) and also trailing Oshawa by 2 points.  All of these teams will be playing playoff type hockey the rest of the way to make it into the post-season.
My prediction Ottawa 6 Belleville 2

Sault Ste Marie at Sudbury
It seems like these teams play each other every week – wait a minute they have.
The Greyhounds came into town on Feb 3 and handed the Wolves at 7-3 beating. The Wolves returned the favour at Sault Ste Marie with a 6-3 pasting on Feb 8.  Sault Ste Marie acquired 3 of 6 points last weekend with a win vs. Saginaw and an overtime shootout loss to Sarnia.  They have not helped their cause much lately in only winning 3 of the past 10 games.  They are currently in the last playoff spot by 1 point (and have 2 games ‘in hand’ compared to the trailing Storm).
Sudbury might have a few more players back – but are still playing short handed.  Last weekend they beat Sudbury 5-3 and dropped a close one to Barrie 4-3.  Michael Sgarbossa continues to shine for the Wolves with 36 goals and 35 assists.  His 15 powerplay goals leads the league.  The Wolves are in the ‘middle of the pack’ in the Eastern Conference with 62 points.  The are tied with the Barrie Colts and both trail the Battalion by 3 points.
My prediction Sault Ste Marie 2 Sudbury 5

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