Thursday, December 06, 2007

Whalers host Spits, Colts this weekend

The Plymouth Whalers are home this weekend in their final two home games at Compuware Arena before the Christmas break, hosting Windsor on Friday and Barrie on Saturday. Both games start at 7:05 p.m.

Here’s a closer look:

Friday – Windsor (19-6-1-3) at Plymouth (16-8-1-2)
The high-flying Spitfires are off to one of the best starts in their history and are ranked seventh overall in the Canadian Hockey League Mosaik Mastercard Top 10 Rankings. Windsor has defeated Plymouth in three of the four games played between the two teams so far this season.

WHO’S HOT FOR WINDSOR: Former Whalers goaltender Michal Neuvirth (pictured) is 5-1-0-0 since coming over to Windsor in a trade on Nov. 13 and defeated Plymouth, 5-3, on Nov. 16. Neuvirth is second in the OHL with a .928 save percentage. Veteran Bradley Snetsinger (team leading 18-27-45) has five goals against the Whalers this season over four games. Calgary draft choice and Windsor captain Mickey Renaud (12-12-24) and first-rounder Taylor Hall (17-11-28) have also played well against Plymouth this season. Windsor rookie defenseman Ryan Ellis (5-19-24) – a second-round pick - leads all first-year OHL defensemen in scoring.

WHO’S HOT FOR PLYMOUTH: Goaltender Jeremy Smith posted a 7-2-0-1 won-loss record, 1.97 goals-against average and .944 save percentage in November and was named to the United States World Junior Championship team. Smith leads the OHL with a .931 save percentage. Co-captains Chris Terry (18-29-47, 9-14-23 in November) and Andrew Fournier (20-20-40, 10-11-21 in November) led Plymouth in scoring last month. NHL scouts will continue to evaluate AJ Jenks (15-6-21), who is currently ranked ninth overall by the National Hockey League’s Central Scouting Bureau in their preliminary rankings. Carolina prospect Brett Bellemore (3-6-9, team-leading +14) and veteran Wes Cunningham (4-26-30) lead an underrated Plymouth defense.

Saturday – Barrie (16-11-1-1) at Plymouth
It’s Teddy Bear Toss night at Compuware Arena. Fans are encouraged to bring a new stuffed animal to the game and throw it on the ice when the Whalers score their first goal of the evening. The animals with be picked up and, with the help of Plymouth United Way, will find a new home for the holidays.

The Whalers defeated Barrie, 4-1, on Oct. 11 at the Molson Centre.

WHO’S HOT FOR BARRIE: Andrew Perugini (2.75 GAA. .927 save percentage – third in the OHL) is one of the more underrated goaltenders in the OHL. Overager Vladimir Nikiforov (19-27-46) rivals Plymouth’s Vern Cooper as one of the fastest players in the OHL. New York Islanders draft pick Tomas Marcinko (11-9-20 in 18 games) has a history of playing well against the Whalers. Head coach Marty Williamson has done a good job keeping Barrie competitive in the OHL’s Central Division as the Colts have been banged up all season.

Photo by Walt Dmoch/Plymouth Whalers

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