Here’s what you need to know coming in to this weekend’s games…
The Colts come into this week looking to kickoff another win streak after falling to the Kingston Frontenacs Monday afternoon 6-4, despite multi-point efforts from Andrew Mangiapane, Kevin Labanc and Michael Webster. Prior to Monday, the Colts had won 8 consecutive games while registering a point in 11 straight. With their loss, Kingston is now 4 points ahead of the Colts for the Eastern Conference’s top seed.
With their recent surge, the Colts have distanced themselves from the crowded Central Division, as they are 8 points clear of the 2nd place North Bay Battalion. The Colts’ can accredit their success to their special teams as their power play ranks 5th in the OHL, converting on 21.1% on their chances while the 82.9% success rate of their penalty kill ranks tied for 6th.
Barrie Colts @ London Knights (39-12-2-1)
Friday night marks the first and only visit the Colts will make to London as they take on the Knights. The game has the potential to go the distance as the top two scoring teams in the OHL square off. The only meeting between the two took place on December 10th with the Knights besting the Colts 6-3. Both teams were without key players that game due to various reasons as the Knights were missing co-captain Mitch Marner while the Colts were without Kevin Labanc, Andrew Mangiapane, Julius Nattinen and Mackenzie Blackwood.
Through 54 games, the Knights have a record of 39-12-2-1 where they’ve complied 81 points. London is currently 2nd in a competitive Midwest Division that sees them trail the Erie Otters by 4 points and are 3rd in the Western Conference, behind only Erie and the West Division leading Sarnia Sting. Undoubtedly, the Knights have the league’s best special teams as they rank 1st in power play success, converting on 28.9% of their advantages while their penalty kill ranks 2nd, operating at an 83.6% success rate.
As mentioned before, the game has the potential for a number of goals. That primarily has to do with the fact that 5 of the top 7 scoring leaders will be playing, including the top 3 comprised of Kevin Labanc, Christian Dvorak and Mitch Marner. Labanc is currently in first with 103 points, which is 7 more than Dvorak’s 96 and 14 more than Marner’s 89. Matthew is 5th in league scoring with 81 points while Andrew Mangiapane is 7th with 78. Mangiapane and Dvorak lead the league in goals as Dvorak is first with 42 while Mangiapane is a close second with 41. Max Jones has been London’s most productive rookie as he has recorded 40 points in 49 games. His 21 goals are second amongst rookies as he only trails Mississauga forward in that category.
Barrie Colts vs. Oshawa Generals (20-28-3-4)
The Colts and Generals will face off for the fourth and final time this season Saturday night at the Barrie Molson Centre. The two met two weeks ago on February 4th in Barrie where the Colts beat Oshawa 4-1. Andrew Mangiapane, Cordell James, Giordano Finoro and Dylan Sadowy each scored while Mackenzie Blackwood stopped 25 of 26 shots to pick up the win.
Through 55 games, the Generals have accumulated a record of 20-28-3-4 where they’ve tallied 47 points. They are currently tied with the Hamilton Bulldogs for both 4th place in the East Division as well as the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Oshawa’s power play is ranked 9th in the OHL at 19.5% while the penalty kill has struggled as it is tied for 17th with the Guelph Storm at a 76.4% success rate.
Oshawa’s leading scorer this season is Anthony Cirelli. The native of Woodbridge has recorded 16 goals and 30 assists in 50 games. On January 28th, following the trade of Michael Dal Colle, the Tampa Bay Lightning prospect was named captain of the Generals. Kenny Huether has also been an offensive leader for Oshawa, recording 44 points in 51 games while his 22 goals leads the team. Mitchell Vande Sompel has been the Generals’ most productive defenceman, posting 5 goals and 20 assists in 34 games. Domenic Commisso is Oshawa’s top rookie as he managed 15 goals and 20 assists in 53 games. Commisso’s 35 points is tied for 7th with Sudbury’s Dmitry Sokolov in scoring amongst rookies.