Toronto, ON – The second half of the Ontario Hockey League schedule continues with 26 games beginning tonight through Sunday.
Here’s a look at what’s going on around the league:
AT THE RINKS:
Raddysh brothers poster night, canned food donations in Erie on Thursday: Fans attending Thursday’s Otters home game against Barrie can go home with a free poster featuring brothers Darren and Taylor Raddysh! Otters fans can also get $10 off their ticket when they bring canned food donations for the Erie Food Bank.
Superheroes Night in Kingston: Ever want to dress up as your favourite super hero just for fun? Well, here’s your chance! Friday is Superheroes Night with the Kingston Frontenacs as they take on the Flint Firebirds. Dress up as your favourite character and get out to the rink!
Bulldogs host First Responders Night: This Friday the City of Hamilton and the Bulldogs pay tribute to all Hamilton First Responders (police, fire and EMS). The Bulldogs are set to face-off against the Barrie Colts at 7:30pm. Don’t miss the First Responders repel from the ceiling and a performance by the Hamilton Police Female Choir. There will also be honour guards, exhibits, Touch-a-Truck and so much more!
Coach4FoodDay in North Bay on Sunday: The top boys and girls minor hockey teams that contributed the most to this year’s Coach4Food campaign will be recognized prior to puck drop on Sunday when the Battalion host the Sudbury Wolves. These hard working teams will also receive a practice run by the Battalion coaching staff!
Petes test out their sledge hockey skills: The Peterborough Petes tested out their sledge hockey skills on Monday, squaring off against the Kawartha Blazers sledge hockey team. Brandon Prophet, Nick Grima, Eric Cornel, C.J. Clarke, Steven Lorentz, Daniel Nikandrov, Hunter Garlent, Logan DeNoble and Dylan Wells had their hands full against the Blazers, who showed the Petes a thing or two during the game. Fans participated in a fundraising raffle that included prizes such as four tickets to a Toronto Maple Leafs game, four tickets to a Toronto Marlies game and two tickets to a Petes game.
Wolves help launch Coldest Night of the Year event: Six members of the Sudbury Wolves paid a visit to the Samaritan CentreTuesday evening to help kick-off the fourth annual “Coldest Night of the Year” winter walk event. The players helped serve dinner to the less fortunate at the Samaritan Centre, which is comprised of the Elgin Street Mission, Blue Door Soup Kitchen and Corner Clinic. For more on the story please visit sudburywolves.com.
Spitfires prepare for Outdoor Classic Series: The Windsor Spitfires are preparing for the Outdoor Classic Series at Lanspeary Park this coming Saturday that will include a team practice from 11am-12pm open to the public. There will be an exclusive season ticket holder skate with the Spitfires following the practice from 12-1pm followed by a number of minor hockey games featuring teams that have purchased or sold the most tickets to the Spitfires’ January 21st clash against the Flint Firebirds. For more information please visit windsorspitfires.com.
COLTS’ KEVIN LABANC TAKES WEEKLY HONOURS:
San Jose Sharks prospect Kevin Labanc of the Barrie Colts is the Pioneer Energy OHL Player of the Week for the second straight week ending January 10 after leading the league with nine points in three games scoring five goals with four assists and a plus-minus rating of plus-3. Labanc becomes the first back-to-back award recipient and first three-time winner this season after taking over the lead in the OHL’s scoring race and helping the Colts stay atop the Central Division standings with a pair of victories. His week was highlighted by a six-point performance on Thursday earning first star honours with his second hat-trick in three games while adding three assists in a 7-4 win over the second place Mississauga Steelheads.
SPITFIRES’ DIPIETRO NAMED VAUGHN CHL GOALTENDER OF THE WEEK:
Michael DiPietro of the Windsor Spitfires is the Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week for the week ending January 10 after posting a 2-0-0-0 record including a shutout victory with a goals-against-average of 1.00 and save percentage of .969. DiPietro made 62 saves in two games backstopping the Spitfires to a pair of victories extending their lead in the OHL’s West Division where they carry a 25-11-5-0 record. He earned his second shutout of the season on Friday night making 30 saves as first star of a 5-0 win over the Owen Sound Attack, then stopped 32 shots on Sunday helping the Spitfires grab a 4-2 win on the road against the Oshawa Generals.
TIP TOP TAILORS OHL PLAYS OF THE WEEK – WEEK 15:
Sarnia Sting forward Travis Konecny headlines the 15th edition of the Tip Top Tailors OHL Plays of the Week with a sweet little toe-drag to complete the hat-trick! Be sure to vote for Travis as he represents the OHL in this week’s CHL Fan Choice vote!
Watch and vote at fanchoice.ca.
GETTING ON THE BOARD: FIRST OHL GOALS IN 2015-16:
Check out the players who have scored their first OHL goal in the past week! 131 different players have accomplished the milestone this season! Click on a player’s name below to watch his first OHL goal!
Bennett buries four: Kingston Frontenacs graduate Sam Bennett became the first Calgary Flames player since Jarome Iginla in 2003 to score four goals in a game as he fueled a 6-0 win over the Florida Panthers. Bennett scored a hat-trick in the first period, becoming the youngest NHL player to do so since Washington’s Bobby Carpenter in 1982. Bennett also became the youngest player in Flames history to register a hat-trick. The fourth overall pick in the 2014 NHL Draft continues to make a strong impression in his rookie NHL campaign with 10 goals, nine assists and 19 points in 41 games. Bennett accumulated 65 goals, 90 assists and 155 career points in 128 regular season games with the Frontenacs from 2012-15.
Domi nets first NHL hat-trick: Max Domi stole the show in Arizona on Tuesday, burying his first NHL hat-trick to lead the Coyotes over the visiting Edmonton Oilers 4-3 in overtime. The natural hat-trick featured a second period goal before he connected twice in a span of three minutes in the third. Domi is enjoying a sensational rookie season in the NHL, registering 13 goals, 18 assists and 31 points through his first 42 games. Arizona’s 12th overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft, Domi enjoyed a solid four year career with the London Knights, winning a pair of OHL titles and a World Junior gold medal while collecting 126 goals, 205 assists and 331 career points over 244 regular season games.
Anderson scores first NHL goal: London Knights graduate Josh Anderson found the back of the net for the first time in his NHL careeron Saturday, finishing on a feed from fellow OHL grad Kerby Rychel. Anderson’s first goal came in his 11th career contest and fifth of the season as the Burlington, ON, native has spent the majority of his time with the AHL’s Lake Erie Monsters, putting up nine goals, nine assists and 18 points in 26 games. Columbus’ fourth round pick in 2012, Anderson won two OHL championships with the Knights after being a free agent addition at the start of the 2011-12 season. The big winger scored 62 goals, added 61 assists and had 123 points in 191 career regular season contests from 2011-14.
Mrazek NHL’s second star of the week: Ottawa 67’s graduate Petr Mrazek is making his mark in the NHL and has been named the league’s second star of the week after going 3-0-0 with a 0.67 goals-against average, a .978 save percentage and one shutout. The 23-year-old Ostrava, Czech Republic, native owns a 15-8-3 record in 28 appearances this season. He ranks sixth in the NHL in save percentage (.930) and places 10th in goals-against average (2.16). Mrazek spent three seasons in Ottawa from 2009-12, going 75-37-5-5 with a 2.87 goals-against average, .916 save percentage and 10 shutouts in 132 career regular season games. He was a Calder Cup Champion with the Grand Rapids Griffins in 2013.
Kuhnhackl makes NHL debut: Niagara IceDogs graduate Tom Kuhnhackl made his NHL debut on Saturday as the Pittsburgh Penguins defeated Montreal 3-1. Kuhnhackl’s debut comes at the age of 23 after he has spent the last three seasons in the minors, largely with the AHL affiliate Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Landshut, Germany native had seven goals, eight assists and 15 points in 23 games with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton so far this season. Kuhnhackl reached the OHL Finals with the IceDogs in 2012 after spending much of his OHL career in Windsor. He skated in 97 regular season games, collecting 47 goals, 50 assists and 97 points over two seasons from 2010-12.
Binnington recalled by Blues: With an injury to starting goaltender Jake Allen, the St. Louis Blues have called up Owen Sound Attack graduate Jordan Binnington from the AHL’s Chicago Wolves. Binnington is currently 8-6-2-0 with a 2.57 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage through 17 games in his sophomore AHL season. An OHL champion with Owen Sound in 2011, Binnington was the OHL’s Goaltender of the Year in 2013, also receiving the Dave Pinkney Trophy for being on the team with the league’s lowest goals-against average. The Gravenhurst, ON, native went 86-61-3-11 with a 2.90 goals-against average and a .910 save percentage in 157 career regular season OHL contests all spent with Owen Sound from 2009-13. He was St. Louis’ third round pick in 2011.
Bigras recalled by Avalanche: Owen Sound Attack graduate Chris Bigras has been called up by the Colorado Avalanche. The 20 year-old is in the midst of an impressive rookie campaign with the AHL’s San Antonio Rampage, netting six goals, 13 assists and 19 points in 37 games. Colorado’s second round pick in 2013, Bigras played four seasons in Owen Sound from 2011-15, recording 35 goals, 120 assists and 155 points in 234 regular season games. Bigras was an OHL First Team All-Star last season and also won gold medals at both the Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament and the World Under-18 Hockey Championship during his OHL career.
19 OHL grads named to AHL All-Star Rosters: Nineteen OHL graduates will compete in the AHL All-Star Classic in Syracuse, NY, onJanuary 31st and February 1st. Graduates named to rosters include Mike Angelidis, Andre Benoit, Peter Budaj, Connor Carrick, Trevor Carrick, Nick Cousins, Barclay Goodrow, Seth Griffith, Ryan Hartman, Dustin Jeffrey, Michael Leighton, Josh Leivo, Michael McCarron, Matt Murray, Cal O’Reilly, Nick Ritchie, Kerby Rychel, Rob Schremp and Anthony Stolarz. Former OHL coaches Sheldon Keefe and Mike Stothers were also named to rosters. For more information visit TheAHL.com.
Combs finds a home with Wolf Pack: OHL graduate Jack Combs has played in a total of 17 cities since his OHL days with the Kitchener Rangers and Saginaw Spirit ended back in 2009. The former 100-point OHL scorer has settled in with the AHL’s Hartford Wolf Pack after beginning the season with the ECHL’s Greenville Swamp Rabbits. Combs is skating alongside fellow OHL grads Nicklas Jensen, Tyler Brown and Tommy Hughes in Hartford. TheAHL.com has a great feature on the well-traveled Combs, documenting a few of his hockey adventures.
KEY WEEKEND MATCHUPS:
Barrie Colts (24-14-0-1) vs. Erie Otters (34-5-1-0)
Thursday January 14th at Erie
The high-powered Barrie Colts featuring new additions Dylan Sadowy and Greg DiTomaso will face an immediate test up against the league-leading Erie Otters. The Colts, whose 154 goals lead the Eastern Conference, are trying to settle back into a groove with Canadian World Junior goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood back in the fold. OHL leading scorer Kevin Labanc is in the midst of a 10-game point streak and has goals in each of his last seven outings. The Otters have won eight of their last 10 contests and defeated the Colts in their only other meeting this season back on October 29th as Dylan Strome had two goals and an assist in a 4-3 victory.
Mississauga Steelheads (21-17-1-3) vs. Kitchener Rangers (28-6-4-0)
Friday January 15th at Kitchener
Two clubs jostling for position in their respective divisions meet up in Kitchener on Saturday as the Rangers host the up and coming Mississauga Steelheads. Mississauga enters the weekend three points out of first place in the Central Division after having lost a pair of recent games against divisional opponents in North Bay and Barrie. A tough three-in-three weekend features visits to Kitchener and London before returning home on Sunday to face the East Division leading Kingston Frontenacs. The trout will continue to lean on rookie phenom Alex Nylander who has points in his last six games. The Rangers, who lost to Mississauga in overtime back on October 11th, have won their last two contests and feature two players on lengthy point streaks. Arizona Coyotes prospect Ryan MacInnis enters the weekend on a 15-game trend while draft eligible forward Adam Mascherin has points in his last 13 contests.
Niagara IceDogs (21-13-3-2) vs. Kingston Frontenacs (25-12-2-1)
Saturday January 16th at Kingston
A clash of two Eastern Conference powers sees the Niagara IceDogs visit the Kingston Frontenacs on Saturday. The IceDogs trail Barrie by two points in the Central Division, and hope to continue nipping at their heels as they ride a four game winning streak into the weekend. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic has been at the top of his game since joining Niagara, going 4-1-0-0 with a 1.59 goals-against average and a .939 save percentage. The Frontenacs hope to have injured winger Lawson Crouse back in the lineup sooner rather than later but they haven’t allowed that to slow them down, having taken wins in four of their last five games. New acquisition Michael Dal Colle has made an immediate impact in black and gold, scoring five goals and five assists through his first four games with the club.
Thursday, January 14
Barrie at Erie – 7:00pm
Sault Ste. Marie at North Bay – 7:00pm
Flint at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Oshawa at Windsor – 7:05pm
Friday, January 15
Flint at Kingston – 7:00pm
Niagara at Ottawa – 7:00pm – CHL on Sportsnet
Sault Ste. Marie at Sudbury – 7:00pm
Oshawa at Sarnia – 7:05pm
Owen Sound at Guelph – 7:30pm
Barrie at Hamilton – 7:30pm
Mississauga at Kitchener – 7:30pm
Saginaw at London – 7:30pm
Saturday, January 16
Sarnia at Hamilton – 7:00pm
Niagara at Kingston – 7:00pm
Mississauga at London – 7:00pm
Ottawa at Peterborough – 7:05pm
Kitchener at Saginaw – 7:05pm
North Bay at Barrie – 7:30pm
Erie at Owen Sound – 7:30pm
Sunday, January 17
Sudbury at North Bay – 2:00pm
Erie at Owen Sound – 2:00pm
Peterborough at Guelph – 3:00pm
Kingston at Mississauga – 3:00pm – CHL on Sportsnet
Flint at Ottawa – 3:00pm
Windsor at Saginaw – 4:00pm
Sarnia at Oshawa – 6:05pm
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