Games to Watch:
Friday, Nov. 11
Sault Ste. Marie at London: Two of the elite teams in the Western conference square off for the second time at the John Labatt Centre in London on Friday. In the first meeting between the two clubs, the Knights came out on top by a score of 4-1 and will hope to enjoy similar success against a veteran Greyhounds team.
The top ranked team in the CHL, London has not lost in regulation since October 16 in Sarnia; a span of eight games and have only lost once at home all season. They are sure to get a strong effort from the well-balanced Greyhounds who continue to be solid at both ends of the rink.
Peterborough at Barrie: Both the Colts and the Petes have shown enough this year to be considered contenders in the East, but both teams are still capable of playing more consistent hockey. Barrie in particular is a team that features enough talent up front to match up with any team in the league, but they are yet to assert themselves as a real powerhouse in the Central division.
6-5 winners in the first meeting between the two teams, Peterborough will hope that reigning OHL player of the week Matt Puempel can continue his scoring ways as the Petes may find it hard to keep the likes of Mark Scheifele and co. off the scoreboard.
Sunday, Nov. 13
Ottawa at Brampton: Mired in a rare two-game losing streak, the 67’s will look to get back on track against the defensive minded Battalion on Sunday afternoon in Brampton.
The Battalion beat Ottawa on the road in early October and will rely on the league’s stingiest defense to stop the likes of Tyler Toffoli, Sean Monohan and Shane Prince if they plan on being victorious again. The club continues to make believers out of anyone who still questions if they are for real or not as they currently sit just a single point behind the Central leading Mississauga Majors.
Sarnia at Mississauga: An out-of-conference showdown between two division leaders should be a tasty treat for any junior hockey fan as Nail Yakupov and the Sting invade the Hershey Centre to take on the Majors.
Outside of the London Knights, Sarnia has been the OHL’s most impressive team through the first month and a half of the season.
The early season loss of center Alex Galchenyuk has allowed for new stars to emerge and Charles Sarault and Reid Boucher have become the new running-mates with Yakupov. They will be up against a Mississauga team comes into the game on a three-game losing skid and have seen their division lead narrowed down to a single point.
Players To Watch:
Daniel Catenacci (Owen Sound): Acquired from the Soo in the off-season, the speedy Catenacci is showing why he was a first-overall selection in the OHL Priority Draft. The 18-year-old leads the defending OHL champion Attack in scoring with 25 points in 21 games and is coming off a hat-trick in his last outing against Kingston.
The Buffalo Sabres third-round pick was considered to be a bit of an under-achiever during his two seasons with the Greyhounds but he has found his comfort zone in Owen Sound. His play has likely put himself on the radar of Hockey Canada, and although he is unlikely to make the World Junior squad this year, he is putting himself in position to crack next year’s roster.
Boone Jenner (Oshawa): The captain of the Generals, Jenner is known more for his solid two-way play but he is proving that he possesses the offense to compliment his leadership and defensive ability. A second-round pick of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Jenner ranks eighth in the league with a team best 26 points.
The 18-year-old center is showing the way for an Oshawa team that has some impressive talent up-front. Playing alongside the likes of Niklas Jensen, Christian Thomas and Lucas Lessio, Jenner is the glue that holds the Gens together and it is that stability that makes him a candidate to grab a forward spot on team Canada for the WJHC.
Michael Houser (London): As the starting goaltender on the top team in Canada, it is no surprise that Michael Houser is putting up some impressive numbers between the pipes. The undrafted 19-year-old has won a league best 14 wins in his 17 starts and ranks in the top five in both goals against and save percentage.
The exposure of playing for the best team in junior hockey is certain to give Houser a lot of looks from NHL teams that will be interested in acquiring the Pennsylvania native’s services.
Cody Ceci (Ottawa) The 2012 draft-eligible Ceci has performed as one of the league’s top defenseman since the first game of the season. The big 6’3, 210 pound rear-guard ranks second behind Niagara’s Dougie Hamilton in scoring among defensemen with 20 points in 18 games and is the back-bone of the underrated 67’s blue-line.
Ceci’s draft stock is one that is definitely on the rise. His impressive size, offensive ability and improving defensive awareness makes him one of the top defensive prospects and a possible top-10 pick in the 2012 draft.
Resident of Windsor, Ontario. Extensive knowledge of both the NHL and junior hockey in Canada, particularly the OHL. Writer for THW covering the Winnipeg Jets and the OHL as well as covering Phoenix Coyotes prospects for Hockey’s Future.