Games to Watch:
Friday, Oct. 14
Peterborough at Guelph: Two surprise teams enter Friday’s contest with identical 4-1-1-1 records with both clubs continuing to make noise within their respective conferences. The Storm have been paced by a balanced attack up front led by the likes of Zack Mitchell, Cody McNaughton, Tanner Richard and Francis Menard with all four players having hit double-digits in points.
The Petes have had a little more trouble scoring but certainly haven’t had any problem keeping the puck out of their own net. Goalie Andrew D’agostini has taken over as the number guy having won all three of his starts and has allowed just two goals on the 81 shots he has faced.
Brampton at Ottawa: A young team with a perceived lack of talent both offensively and defensively, expectations were again low for the Brampton Battalion heading into the season, but a 4-2 record through their first six games has forced people to start taking them a little more serious. A commitment to defense from both the forwards and the defense has led the Battalion to a league-best 15 goals against and a three-game winning streak which included handing Mississauga their first loss of the season.
They will need every bit of that strong defensive play against an Ottawa team that is loaded up front with the likes of Tyler Toffoli, Sean Monohan and Shane Prince leading the way.
Saturday, Oct. 15
Guelph at London: Currently the top two teams in the Midwest Division, Guelph and London will do battle for the first time this year in what should become a pretty good rivalry throughout the year. The Knights suffered their first defeat of the young season last Friday against Windsor but bounced back with an impressive performance against the Soo.
You can bet that coach Dale Hunter and his players will be looking to make a statement to the Storm and show them that all roads to Western Conference supremacy must go through London.
Barrie at Sault Ste. Marie: Barrie’s sensational scoring trio continues to be one of the most talked about stories in all of junior hockey. The line of Tanner Pearson, Zach Hall and Colin Behenna currently sit 1-2-3 in league scoring and appear to be on their way to becoming one of the highest-scoring lines in recent memory.
The Greyhounds also have no shortage of firepower and will be looking to continue their winnnig ways with a two-game homestand starting on Friday against Kingston and ending with what they hope will be a win over the Colts on Saturday.
Sunday, Oct. 16
London at Sarnia: The first meeting of the season between the two current division leaders in the Western Conference, London heads to Sarnia to take on Nail Yakupov and the Sting. Yakupov has continued to score despite the loss of line-mate and fellow top draft prospect Alex Galchenyuk spear-heading Sarnia to five wins out of the club’s seven games thus far.
Stopping the dynamic Russian winger will certainly be the focal point of the Knights game-plan, but it won’t be easy as they will be playing their third game in as many nights.
Players To Watch:
Freddie Hamilton (Niagara): While the IceDogs have endured a dissappointing start to their season, Hamilton has made his best effort in trying to get things turned around. The 19-year-old center is coming off a week that saw him record nine points in three games including a five-point effort against Barrie.
The San Jose Sharks draft-pick has picked up the slack for Ryan Strome who will remain with the New York Islanders for at least another week.
Greg McKegg (Erie): After a bit of a slow start to his season, McKegg broke out in a big way last week. The Toronto Maple Leafs draftee had an incredible six assists against Owen Sound leading the Otters to their first and only win this season.
With games against Mississauga, London and Windsor this week, victories will be hard to come by again for Erie but if they can continue to receive monster performances from their 19-year-old leader they should be in for an improvement the rest of the way.
Alexander Khokhlachev (Windsor): The slick Windsor center has been a consistent performer for the Spitfires having gone pointless in just one of the club’s seven games. The 18-year-old Russian lost his high-scoring linemate Tom Kuhnhackl to injury early in the year but has developed a new chemistry with second-year winger Kerby Rychel.
Khokhhlachev has the potential to produce even more than he has so far this year and will look to do so in Windsor’s three games this week.
Charles Sarault (Sarnia): While the injury to Alex Galchenyuk was a major blow to the Sting, it has allowed for others to step up in his absence. Charles Sarault has taken over as the set-up man for superstar Nail Yakupov and as one would expect; he has benefitted greatly. The 19-year-old has just one goal in seven games but has collected 10 assists and finds himself in the top 20 of league scoring.
If he can continue to receive time alongside Yakupov, look for Sarault to keep racking up the assists en route to a career year in the OHL.