Games To Watch:
Thursday, Sept. 29
Mississauga at Niagara: This will mark the first regular season meeting since the two teams met in last year’s Eastern Conference Final which Mississauga won in five games. The IceDogs entered this season as the favourites for the OHL title but the 2-0 Majors will be looking to prove that they will not be an easy team to dethrone.
Friday, Sept. 30
Barrie at Niagara: The Colts finished dead last in the entire league a season ago but have gotten off to a quick start winning their first two games in convincing fashion. The IceDogs better not let up after their Thursday showdown with Mississauga because this is a different Barrie team this year.
Owen Sound at Mississauga: These two battled through a classic seven-game series in last year’s OHL Championship and met again at the Memorial Cup. Some of the star players from last year are missing but there are still plenty of familiar faces and it shouldn’t take long for the two to get reacquainted with one another.
Saturday, Oct. 1
London at Plymouth: This will be the first meeting of the season between the top ranked teams in the Western Conference. The match-up features a boat-load of stars on either side with both teams also having no shortage of grit, so it shouldn’t take long for the dislike to set in and a rivalry to begin.
Peterborough at Barrie: Two last place teams a year ago have gotten off to good starts with both looking vastly improved. If the Colts get Mark Scheifele back they could be legitimate contenders while Matt Puempel and Austin Watson look capable of carrying the Petes this year.
Ottawa at Windsor: Ottawa’s three-game Southern-Ontario trip ends with a stop in Windsor which is never an easy place to play. The 67’s are another team off to a surprising start even without the services of Tyler Toffoli. Bad news for Windsor, Toffoli will be back in the line-up on Sunday.
Players To Watch:
Tanner Pearson, Colin Behenna, Zach Hall (Barrie): The Barrie Colts trio lit up the scoreboard in their two games on opening weekend combining for a remarkable 20 points. Pearson currently leads the league with eight points while Behenna sits second with seven and Hall fifth with five points. It might not be as easy this weekend in games against Owen Sound and Niagara.
Max Domi (London): The highly touted rookie put on quite a show in his debut last Friday registering a hat-trick and an assist in his first OHL game. He was held pointless in his second game but he made himself heard with three minor penalties. Expect him to come to the fore at some point during Saturday night’s contest in Plymouth.
Dougie Hamilton (Niagara): The IceDogs lost their lone game last weekend as they played without many of their star players, but help is on the way. 2011 first-round pick Dougie Hamilton, possibly the best defenseman in the OHL, will be in the lineup Thursday after he was released from the Boston Bruins training camp. Hamilton’s return should make the IceDogs a much different team this weekend.
Jack Campbell (Windsor): The Spitfires looked bad in their first two games last week in losses to Guelph and Kitchener. Sunday wasn’t supposed to be much different except that star goalie Jack Campbell was back between the pipes. The Dallas Stars first-rounder stopped 28 shots in a shutout win over the high-flying Sarnia Sting and the likes of Nail Yakupov and Alex Galchenyuk. If the Spits hope to make some noise in the Western Conference it is likely that Campbell will have to have an MVP type season.