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February 23rd - Game Day Previews

by Dwayne Williams

Only action in the league last night was the back and forth contest at Owen Sound.  Gavrus scored twice for the home side and three different players scored for the Sting. The game went to overtime where Jay Gilbert scored his 9th goal of the year (17 in his career). Both teams are now tied for fourth place with the Sting earning one point for going into overtime.  I had the score right, but picked the wrong team.

Niagara at Sault Ste Marie
The Icedogs are back in the 905 area code for this weekend after going 2-1 last weekend. Part of that northern road trip saw the Icedogs drop into the Essar Centre to play these same Greyhounds on Sunday.  In that game Mark Visentin continued his dominance anchoring a 3-0 victory. That put the Phoenix Coyotes property in the record books with 14 shutouts this season – and also helped give him recognition on the national stage as the CHL goalie of the week.  The Dogs are in a back and forth battle with the nationally ranked Ottawa 67’s squad – currently trailing them by 1 point in the standings.  My hunch says to look for Strome and F Hamilton to get on the scoreboard in this game.
The Greyhounds have been up and down recently – having  a record of 4-4-2-2 in their past 10 games. They are in a back and forth battle at the bottom of the Western Conference standings against the Guelph Storm.  The Greyhounds have 52 points and the Storm have 51 points (and haven’t been helping themselves with only 2 wins in their past 10 games).  Nick Cousins was on an offensive tear before the Dogs came to town – he had scored 4 goals and 5 assists in the previous 4 games.  The Greyhounds are the 5th most penalized team – and the Dogs are clipping along with the #1 OHL powerplay  (28%) – so this could be the difference in the game today (Greyhounds are #9 Penalty kill squad – 80.3%).  Goalie Jack Campbell has been disappointing with only 11 wins in the 27 games that he has played since THE TRADE.
My prediction Niagara 5 Sault Ste Marie 2

Barrie at Peterborough
The Colts are the hottest team in the OHL right now with a 8-1-0-1 record in their past 10 games.  Last weekend they defeated a strong Kitchener team and then pushed past the Generals twice. They scored 5 goals twice and 6 goals once – allowing 7 goals total on the weekend.  They sit in fourth place in the Eastern Conference 3 points behind Brampton and 3 points ahead of Sudbury.  Pearson leads the team with 80 points (tied for second in the league) and 7 points in 8 games this month. Colin Behenna has 10 points in those games as well.  Goalie Niederberger has 6 wins, 1 loss and 1 shootout loss this month to go along with a stingy 1.63 GAA to go along with a .949 save %.
Peterborough is in charge of their own fate this weekend – they are clinging to a 1 point lead over the Belleville Bulls for the eighth and final playoff position in the Eastern Conference.  Recent play has not helped their fortunes – with a 3-7-0-0 record in their past 10 games.  The Petes only victory of the weekend was a 5-3 shocker against the #1 Eastern Conference 67’s. They also dropped a 3-1 game vs. Brampton as well as a 5-4 squeaker against Kingston a week ago.  Quine had only 2 assists last weekend but a solid 11 points in the 9 games played this month – Yogan has 13 points in that span as well (and a career high 57 points this season).  Two upcoming games vs. the Bulls and 2 against the Generals will be important on their calendar, but they have to work hard to get a point or two from every game possible.
My prediction Barrie 5 Peterborough 1

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