OHL Weekend Notebook: Jan. 30, 2023

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The OHL Weekend Notebook recaps the weekend that was with news, information and interesting facts from both on and off the ice.

Sting surge into home ice territory
The combination of four straight victories paired with eight consecutive Saginaw Spirit losses has the Sarnia Sting up into fourth place in the Western Conference to start the week. The 23-14-4-2 Sting defeated Sault Ste. Marie and Saginaw in a pair of road wins last week, outscoring the two opponents 13-4. Ty Voit sits one point back of Windsor’s Matthew Maggio for the OHL scoring lead, producing 67 points (12-55–67) in 43 games. Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Luca Del Bel Belluz scored his first two goals in a Sting uniform in Saturday’s 8-2 win over Saginaw. Veteran centreman Cooper Way also had a productive weekend, scoring three times. The Sting now prepare for a Tuesday night road matchup with the Kitchener Rangers.

Bulldogs best pair of East Division contenders
The Hamilton Bulldogs have a new look these days, but they’re still finding success. The Dogs skated to a thrilling 5-4 overtime win over former captain Logan Morrison and the Ottawa 67’s at home on Saturday as 2023 NHL Draft prospect Cole Brown scored a highlight reel OT winner. Overage forward Sahil Panwar was the game’s first star with two goals and an assist while draft-eligible winger Nick Lardis had a goal and a helper. Panwar and Lardis were at it again on Sunday, helping the Bulldogs defeat their former club, the Peterborough Petes, 7-4 on the road. Panwar racked up a career-high five points (2-3–5) as Hamilton improved to 21-20-4-0 for sixth place in the Eastern Conference. Hometown product Patrick Thomas leads the Dogs with 39 points (14-25–39) in 45 games.

Colts take four points in Michigan
The Barrie Colts had a successful trip south of the border, rebounding from Friday’s 6-3 loss in Kitchener to defeat the Flint Firebirds 6-4 on Saturday night before a 4-1 triumph over the Saginaw Spirit on Sunday. LA Kings prospect Brandt Clarke had a big weekend on the blue line, with seven points (5-2–7) to give him 20 points (10-10–20) in nine games since returning to Barrie from his gold medal experience at the World Juniors. Clarke recorded his first career OHL hat trick in Sunday’s win over Saginaw. The Colts hold down third place in the Eastern Conference with a record of 25-13-4-2.

Bears keep winning streak going
The Owen Sound Attack stretched their current winning streak to four, defeating the Guelph Storm 6-3 on Friday before returning home to edge the Sudbury Wolves 4-3 on Saturday. 2023 NHL Draft prospect Colby Barlow continues to be a factor for the Attack, scoring once on Friday and twice on Saturday to give him goals in 13 of his last 15 games. His 36 tallies on the season lead the OHL, with 10 of those coming as game winners. Corbin Votary has taken on more minutes in the Attack crease, extending his current winning streak to five with both this past weekend. The 18-year-old is 10-6-3-0 on the season with a 3.64 goals-against average and .886 save percentage. Owen Sound remains three points up on Sarnia for third place in the Western Conference, owning a record of 25-15-4-1.

Successful weekend in Erie
The Erie Otters treated a packed house to a big win on Saturday night as Liam Gilmartin and Carey Terrance both scored twice in a 6-4 victory over the Kitchener Rangers on Hockey Fights Cancer Night. A crowd of 6,563 was on hand for the win as draft eligibles Ondrej Molnar and Pano Fimis also had goals. The Otters scored six more on Sunday as San Jose Sharks prospect Gilmartin lit the lamp two more times in a 6-2 win over the Niagara IceDogs. Columbus Blue Jackets prospect Nolan Lalonde was in net for both victories, his first since back on November 24th. The Otters, who were under the command of interim coaches Vince Laise and Wes Wolfe, prepare to enter the Stan Butler era with a record of 16-24-1-3, four points out of a playoff spot in the Western Conference.

Oster shuts the door, Gens remain in playoff hunt
The Oshawa Generals rattled off a pair of wins, with Jacob Oster locking down back-to-back shutouts in blankings of Kingston and North Bay. The Generals sit two points back of the Sudbury Wolves for the final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference, and helped themselves with solid defensive play against a pair of Eastern Conference foes. 2023 NHL Draft prospect Calum Ritchie provided both goals in Friday’s 2-0 win over the Frontenacs before Ryan Gagnier as the star in Sunday’s 4-0 win over the Central-leading Battalion, recording a hat trick along with an assist.

Knights grind out four points on eastern swing
The road trip didn’t start great, but the London Knights salvaged things with consecutive shootout victories in Ottawa and Kingston. The Knights were blanked 3-0 by the Peterborough Petes on Thursday before Ottawa-area product Zach Bowen turned in a first star performance at TD Place on Friday as the Knights defeated the first place 67’s 2-1 on a shootout winner by Ruslan Gazizov. George Diaco scored the shootout winner in Saturday’s 3-2 victory over the Kingston Frontenacs after Brett Brochu stopped 28 and all three Kingston shooters he faced. London holds a six point edge over second place Owen Sound in the Midwest Division, owning a record of 30-13-1-0.

Pinelli lighting the lamp for Rangers
The Kitchener Rangers continued their up-and-down season over the weekend, defeating the Barrie Colts on Friday before losing to the Erie Otters on Saturday, but captain Francesco Pinelli has kept the goals coming of late. The LA Kings prospect has goals in six consecutive games, contributing to 27 goals, 27 assists and 54 points in 35 games this season. The Rangers captain was the OHL Player of the Month in December, and sits tied for the team lead in scoring with teammate Francesco Arcuri.

Wright sidelined, Spits see mixed results up north
The Windsor Spitfires were without star centreman Shane Wright this weekend as he was sidelined with a lower body injury. The Spits were challenged in both North Bay and Sudbury, dropping consecutive decisions before unloading for nine goals on the Soo Greyhounds to collect two points on Sunday. Overage captain Matthew Maggio moved into the OHL scoring lead with six points on the weekend (1-5–6), giving him 68 (35-33–68) this season. The Spits also missed Montreal Canadiens prospect Daniil Sobolev on the blue line to injury while netminder Mathias Onuska remains injured, resulting on Joey Costanzo continuing his run of 10 consecutive starts.

Tough weekend at home for Greyhounds:
While the Saginaw Spirit (eight straight losses) and Flint Firebirds (back-to-back defeats) also struggled this weekend, the Soo Greyhounds weren’t able to gain any ground in their hunt for the Western Conference’s final playoff position. The Hounds wrapped up a five-game home stand with a pair of losses, falling 5-2 to Sarnia on Friday and 9-4 to Windsor on Sunday. Theย 14-19-7-5 Hounds set out for four of their next five on the road. They remain without talented draft eligible blueliner Andrew Gibson, who was forced to miss the Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game as a result of injury.

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