OHL Weekend Notebook: Jan. 23, 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.

Bears rebound on Hockey Day weekend in the Sound
It was a miserable start to the weekend, but the Owen Sound Attack turned things around with wins over East Division contenders on Saturday and Sunday. The Bears were on the wrong end of a 9-1 drubbing on Friday night in London, returning home Saturday for Hockey Day in Canada to defeat the Peterborough Petes 7-4. After scoring a pair with Attack legend Bobby Ryan in attendance on Saturday, Colby Barlow struck for his 33rd of the season in Sunday’s 4-1 win over the league-leading Ottawa 67’s. Corbin Votary came up big with first star honours in Sunday’s win, making 32 saves as the Attack improved to 23-15-4-1 for third place in the Western Conference.

Steelheads light the lamp in three straight wins
The Mississauga Steelheads’ youth movement continues to yield positive results as the Trout won three straight games over the weekend. Fresh off recently setting the club’s career goal and point records, James Hardie was a force with two goals, eight assists (seven of them primary) and 10 points over four contests last week, joining forces with sophomore winger Zander Veccia who put up nine points (5-4–9) of his own. The Trout took a 6-2 road win in Niagara on Thursday, defeated the Central Division-leading North Bay Battalion 5-4 on Friday and sent 57 shots on goal Sunday afternoon to defeat the IceDogs 5-4. Porter Martone scored his first goal in a Steelheads uniform and Luke Misa recorded three straight two-point outings as the Fish improved to 21-18-4-0, three points back of fourth place Peterborough in the Eastern Conference.

Storm swirl to back-to-back six-goal victories
The Guelph Storm were firing on all cylinders offensively, lighting the lamp six times before a national audience on TSN Friday night as Braeden Bowman had a pair of goals and an assist in a 6-4 win over the Peterborough Petes. Bowman stretched his point streak to eight games with a pair of assists in Sunday’s 6-2 win over the Kingston Frontenacs while Max Namestnikov scored his 17th and 18th goals of the season. Patrick Leaver is now 3-0 since joining the Storm at the OHL trade deadline, helping Guelph return to .500 with a record of 19-19-4-1 for seventh place in the Western Conference. Boston Bruins prospect Matthew Poitras sits fifth in OHL assists with 39 through 38 games this season.

Sting win a pair at the hive
The Sarnia Sting had the hive buzzing over the weekend with wins over Erie and Kitchener. Dallas Stars prospect Christian Kyrou burned his former team with the third period game winner on Friday night as the Sting got the best of the Otters. After a goal and an assist on Friday, Nashville Predators prospect Nolan Burke came out hot on Saturday against Kitchener, scoring twice while adding an assist in a 4-2 win over the Rangers. Recent acquisition Ethan Del Mastro has five points (1-4–5) through his first five games on the Sting blue line as Sarnia sits fifth in the Western Conference with a record of 21-14-4-2.

Spitfires in pair of shooting matches on the road
It was a high-scoring weekend on the road for the Windsor Spitfires, who prevailed 8-7 over the Barrie Colts on Friday night as Colton Smith scored the difference-maker midway through the third period. Boston Bruins prospect Brett Harrison had a big night at the Sadlon Arena, scoring three times while adding two assists while rookie blueliner Anthony Cristoforo was a standout with two goals and two helpers. The Spits weren’t so fortunate on Sunday in Oshawa, suiting up without Daniil Sobolev and Oliver Peer in a 9-5 loss to the Generals. Oshawa product Liam Greentree scored his first OHL hat trick in front of friends and family as the newly-turned 17-year-old has 17 goals in 41 games this season. Spits captain Matthew Maggio climbed into the OHL goal-scoring lead over the weekend as the New York Islanders prospect now has 35 on the campaign. Joey Costanzo split duties with Ian Michelone on Sunday, being pulled before re-entering the game, keeping his run of 11 consecutive wins alive as Michelone took the loss. Windsor leads the Western Conference with a record of 28-10-3-1.

Shorthanded 67’s challenged on the road
The Ottawa 67’s hit the road without injured forwards Logan Morrison and Vinzenz Rohrer and return to the nation’s capital with two of a possible six points, defeating Barrie before losing in both Kitchener and Owen Sound. Max Donoso earned Thursday’s first star honours with 36 saves in Barrie before they managed to outshoot Kitchener on Friday only to lose 4-2. Ottawa outshot Owen Sound 33-19 in Sunday’s 4-1 loss as Anaheim Ducks prospect Pavel Mintyukov, who put up 54 points (16-38–54) in 37 games before being acquired from the Saginaw Spirit, was limited to one assist on the weekend. The Barber Poles return to The Arena at TD Place Friday night, taking on the London Knights before heading out for another five straight on the road.

New additions fitting in nicely with Bulldogs
The Hamilton Bulldogs were in northern Ontario over the weekend, defeating the first place North Bay Battalion 4-3 in overtime on Thursday, falling 5-2 to the Sudbury Wolves on Friday and closing out the weekend with a 5-4 shootout win over the Soo Greyhounds. 2023 NHL Draft prospect Nick Lardis, who heads to the Kubota CHL/NHL Top Prospects Game in Vancouver this week, had a goal and an assist on Thursday’s overtime winner before scoring in Sunday’s game before later converting in the shootout. Lardis has 13 points (7-6–13) in eight games with Hamilton while fellow Peterborough Petes carryover Sahil Panwar has nine points (1-8–9) in eight games as a Bulldog.

Day sees three straight starts in Flint crease
Entering the weekend having played 14 of the Flint Firebirds’ 40 games this season, Nathan Day got the nod in all three contests this past week and helped the Birds pick up four points in the standings. The 2023 NHL Draft eligible turned in a second star performance on Friday in Sault Ste. Marie, making 26 saves in a 5-1 win. Day was the game’s third star back at home on Saturday as he made 27 stops in a 4-2 win over the Saginaw Spirit. Head coach Ted Dent went to Day a third time on Sunday as he made 23 saves in Flint’s 5-2 loss to the Erie Otters. The 17-year-old from Grimsby, Ont. was the 14th-ranked North American goaltender on NHL Central Scouting’s midseason rankings.

Fronts add to short blueline
The Kingston Frontenacs added a 19-year-old veteran to their defence corps ahead of the weekend, adding former Charlottetown Islanders rearguard Raine Nadeau to the back end from the OJHL’s Stouffville Spirit. The Fronts have battled injuries on the blueline all season, with overager Alec Belanger being limited to 17 games, Ian Lemieux appearing in just once since being acquired from the Barrie Colts, Maleek McGowan still recovering from a freak injury suffered on Dec. 2nd and more recently, 2023 NHL Draft prospect Quinton Burns being sidelined. The Fronts have moved forward Paul Hughes back to the blueline for the time being, and also added Cal Uens, a native of nearby Napanee, Ont., in a trade with the Owen Sound Attack. The Fronts defeated Oshawa and Niagara before falling to Guelph on Sunday. They’re 21-20-1-1 for sixth in the Eastern Conference. They’re a hopeful to host the 2024 Memorial Cup presented by Kia next year.

Spirit slide to sixth straight loss
The Saginaw Spirit remain winless in the post-Mintyukov era, being doubled-up by both Sault Ste. Marie and Flint last week. The Spirit have lost their last six, dropping to fourth in the Western Conference with a record of 24-16-2-0. Underage talent Michael Misa leads the Spirit offensively with 45 points (20-25–45) in 36 games while other first-year competitors Joey Willis (9-16–25) and defenceman Zayne Parekh (14-10–24) should give Spirit fans plenty of optimism heading into next season when Saginaw hopes to host the Memorial Cup presented by Kia. The Spirit have an extended break until Saturday when the Sarnia Sting visit the Dow Event Center, an opponent that always provides plenty of entertainment when they square off against the Spirit.

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