Amidst the allure of the NHL All-Star festivities this past weekend, it was a flashy few days for some of the OHL’s elite players. First, Max Domi scored the shorthanded alley-oop of a highlight-reel goal above, prompting this friendly response from Sarnia Sting goalie Taylor Dupuis, who made the mistake of leaving his net a tad too early.
Don’t fret, Taylor. Highlight-reel goals are kind of Domi’s thing, as he discussed with Hockey Central earlier today.
And the dynamic duo of Connor McDavid and Dylan Strome was back in full force for the first time since early November. Five points for McDavid, four for Strome, and three for new guy Remi Elie in a 7-3 romp over Owen Sound that included five goals on the power play.
Keep an eye on the IceDogs
In keeping with teams that came out on top in raging seven-goal games, Niagara’s Josh Ho-Sang had a five-point contest of his own in a 7-4 toppling of the Barrie Colts. Jordan Maletta and Brendan Perlini scored three points each as well. What a weekend.
The IceDogs are now tied for fifth place in the Eastern Conference with a game in hand on Belleville. The Bulls were winless playing three-in-three without Jordan Subban (flu), Brett Welychka, (knee) and Niki Petti (back) for parts of the weekend.
If the playoffs were to begin tomorrow, the IceDogs would square off against the Ottawa 67’s. I don’t know about you, but that’s a match I’d thoroughly enjoy. Ottawa is red hot as of late thanks to a four-game winning streak, but I wouldn’t count out Ho-sang, Perlini, and the rest of the Dogs for one second. They’re 8-0-2 in their past 10 games.
Ottawa is also only three points behind North Bay. The East is certainly getting interesting.
Struggling Steelheads see a win
The New Year has not been kind to the Mississauga Steelheads. They’ve fallen to eighth place in the East, and this past weekend snapped a six-game losing streak with a 2-1 win over the Kitchener Rangers. That leaves the Steelheads only four points ahead of the Peterborough Petes—who have three games—for the final playoff spot. Kingston sits seventh, tied with Mississauga at 41 points with three games in hand. While that drama plays out, the Oshawa Generals sit comfortably at the top, 18 points up in the East awaiting an opponent.
And there are others on the Otters
Erie has been an obvious contender all season, and we knew GM Sherry Bassin would buy into some big players earlier this month (even after swiping Nick Baptiste earlier on). Remi Elie ended up being one of those big names, and according to McDavid, who I caught up with in St. Catharines prior to the Top Prospects Game, he and centreman Jake Marchment have brought intangibles with them.
“He brings speed, and that grit that we’ve been missing up front,” says McDavid of Elie, who has 12 points in seven games with Erie. “Marchment helps so much. What he does in the faceoff circle, he’s hard on the forecheck, he penalty kills well, and even brings a little bit of offensive flare. Picking those two guys up at the deadline is going to help, for sure.
“We have a lot of depth. That comes with having a guy like Dylan Strome, who plays on that so-called second line. He plays with Elie and Betz, and they seem to score basically every night. Even our third line scores a lot, and we have a fourth line that’s been very good too. To be honest, if one line isn’t going, chances are the other three will be.”
The Otters sit second in the West three points behind stacked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds with a game in hand, and their lineup whole again.
Three Stars of the Week
Josh Ho-Sang, RW, Niagara IceDogs As mentioned above, Ho-sang could (and should, but only time will tell, as Niagara has been unpredictable) be a threat in the next few crucial weeks. Looping Perlini in on this, too.
Tyler Bertuzzi, LW, Guelph Storm Bertuzzi also joined the multi-point club on more than one occasion this past weekend, surpassing the 30-goal mark. No Robby Fabbri in the lineup? No problem.
Anthony DeAngelo, D, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds Three wins for the Soo, three multi-point nights for DeAngelo, who’s been on fire with his new team (13 points in seven games), as have Justin Bailey and Nick Ritchie. All were big-time scorers beforehand, but the opportunity to bounce points off one another is going to help them to staggeringly high numbers, as well as a surefire spot in the post-season, something none were assured of with their former teams.