Sunday Highlights: Spits stay in the race with third straight win
WINDSOR 7 – SUDBURY 1
2017 NHL Draft prospect Gabe Vilardi (26, 27, 28) recorded a career-high five points, including his second hat-trick of the season as the Windsor Spitfires rolled to their third straight win, defeating visiting Sudbury 7-1. The win keeps the Spits just two points behind fourth place Owen Sound for home ice advantage in the Western Conference while first place Sault Ste. Marie holds a four point edge in the West Division. Jeremy Bracco (24), Julius Nattinen (10), Logan Brown (14) and Mikhail Sergachev (10) also scored for Windsor as the Spits outshot the Wolves 35-23 and went 2-for-3 on the power play. Ryan Valentini (17) scored Sudbury’s lone goal as the Wolves dropped their fourth straight game and now trail sixth place Ottawa by one point in the Eastern Conference. Vilardi’s five points are the most in a game by a Spitfire since Slater Doggett on Feb. 1, 2015 vs. Belleville.
OTTAWA 3 – BARRIE 1
The Ottawa 67’s climbed in the Eastern Conference standings as goaltender Leo Lazarev turned aside 31 shots in a 3-1 win over the visiting Barrie Colts. Ottawa’s second consecutive win featured goals from Mathieu Foget (7), Sasha Chmelevski (21) and Austen Keating (19), helping them leapfrog the Sudbury Wolves into sixth place. Ottawa was outshot 32-25 as Barrie’s Roy Radke (22) provided the lone goal for the Colts. Artur Tyanulin and Peter Stratis each had two assists for Ottawa. The 67’s sit on top of an Eastern Conference logjam that features four teams separated by four points with under seven games to go. Barrie was eliminated from postseason contention following the loss, marking the second time in franchise history that the Colts won’t make an appearance in the OHL Playoffs.
NIAGARA 9 – ERIE 7
The Niagara IceDogs and Erie Otters combined for 16 goals in a wild one in St. Catharines. After being on the receiving end of a 10-1 beating by the Otters on Friday, the IceDogs had their revenge as 2017 NHL Draft prospect Kirill Maksimov (13, 14, 15) led the charge with his first OHL hat-trick. The Otters jumped out to a 4-1 lead, but Niagara responded in a big way, scoring four straight goals in the opening half of the second period. Edmonton Oilers prospect Ryan Mantha (15, 16) scored the game winner on the power play 6:47 into the third frame as the IceDogs scored their second win over Erie this season. Mantha finished the game with two goals and an assist while Kyle Langdon (10, 11) scored twice, Oliver Castleman (17) had a goal and two assists and Johnny Corneil (28) had a goal and three helpers. Stephen Dhillon turned aside 53 shots as the Otters reached 60 on the shot clock for the second straight game, outshooting the IceDogs 60-37. Both squads connected for three power play tallies as Erie highlights included Alex DeBrincat (59, 60) with a pair of goals, Taylor Raddysh (38) and Dylan Strome (21) with a goal and two assists each and Darren Raddysh with three helpers. Gera Poddubnyi (9), T.J. Fergus (3) and Warren Foegele (23) also scored for the Otters, who see their lead atop the Western Conference over second place Sault Ste. Marie shrink to three points. DeBrincat becomes the OHL’s first 60-goal scorer since Erie’s Dane Fox netted 64 during the 2013-14 season. DeBrincat also extended his goal-scoring streak to 17 games, two shy of tying an OHL record. With three points, Taylor Raddysh joins DeBrincat as the second OHL player to reach 100 points this season. The IceDogs earn a big two points, climbing to two points ahead of ninth place North Bay for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference.
MISSISSAUGA 3 – SARNIA 2 – OT
2017 NHL Draft prospect Nicolas Hague (18) scored with one second remaining in overtime to give the Mississauga Steelheads a thrilling 3-2 win over visiting Sarnia. Los Angeles Kings prospect Spencer Watson gathered an assist on the game winner as the Trout win their sixth straight game, capturing their 30th win of the season. Owen Tippett (42) and Jacob Cascagnette (19) also had Steelheads goals while overage netminder Matthew Mancina made 30 saves. The Sting gain a point in the hard-fought overtime loss, inching to within four points of seventh place Flint in the Western Conference. Jaden Lindo (20) and Drake Rymsha (30) had goals for Sarnia while St. Louis Blues prospect Jordan Kyrou recorded an assist to stretch his current point streak to an OHL-high 27 games for the 2016-17 season. Aidan Hughes made 26 saves in the loss as the Sting sit eight points ahead of ninth place Saginaw for the final playoff spot in the Western Conference.
HAMILTON 5 – NORTH BAY 4 – SO
Fifth-year veteran Michael Cramarossa scored the shootout winner as the Hamilton Bulldogs scored a 5-4 road win over the North Bay Battalion. Bulldogs blueliner Ben Gleason (5, 6) scored under two minutes apart in the second period to put Hamilton up 3-1, but the Troops would fight back to earn a much-needed point in the shootout loss. Will Bitten (20) and Zachary Jackson (3) also had goals for Hamilton while Kaden Fulcher made 28 saves in goal and denied all three shootout opponents he faced. Rookie forward Brett Hahkala (1) scored his first OHL goal for North Bay while Brad Chenier (7), Max Kislinger (6) and Steve Harland (25) also lit the lamp for the Battalion. The point keeps North Bay within two points of eighth place Niagara in the Eastern Conference. The Troops sit on the bottom of a four team logjam, with only three of those clubs being able to earn an Eastern Conference playoff berth when all is said and done. Hamilton meanwhile, has pulled into a fourth place tie with Kingston for home ice in what could potentially be a first round playoff series between the two clubs.
SAULT STE. MARIE 2 – KITCHENER 1
Boston Bruins prospect Zach Senyshyn (40, 41) scored twice, netting the winner with 2:09 left in the third period as the Soo Greyhounds won for the fifth time in the past six games. Senyshyn becomes the Hounds’ first back-to-back 40-goal scorer since Richard Uniacke in 1996 and 1997, helping his team rise to within three points of first place Erie in the Western Conference. Sault Ste. Marie rookie Matthew Villalta improved to 22-2-0-0 on the season with a 27-save performance, surrendering Kitchener’s lone goal on the afternoon off the stick of Joseph Garreffa (24). The Rangers lead seventh place Flint by three points in the Western Conference though the Firebirds hold a game in hand.