Wednesday, January 30, 2008

Plymouth at home for three this weekend

The Plymouth Whalers will be participating in a first in their history this weekend when they host Ottawa on Friday at 7:05 p.m., Sault Ste. Marie on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. and Kingston on Sunday at 2:05 p.m. at Compuware Arena.

The Whalers have never played three consecutive games at home over a weekend since joining the Ontario Hockey League in 1990. The upcoming weekend wasn’t scheduled at the start of the season, but became a necessity when the OHL postponed Kingston’s game against the Whalers at Compuware Arena on Dec. 1 after a traffic accident injured a couple of Frontenac players and a staff member on Nov. 30.

Here’s a look at the upcoming weekend:

FRIDAY – Ottawa (22-22-2-2) at Plymouth (26-18-2-2), Compuware Arena, 7:05 p.m. The Whalers and 67’s meet for the first of two meetings this season. They’ll complete the series on Feb. 8 in Ottawa. The 67’s are led by Hall of Fame head coach Brian Kilrea, who leads the OHL with 1,146 victories over 31 seasons. Ottawa is led offensively by San Jose draftees Jamie McGinn (21-24-45) and Logan Couture (17-28-45), while defenseman Tyler Cuma (4-24-28, +6) is ranked 15th overall by the National Hockey League Central Scouting Bureau among North American prospects. The Whalers are led offensively by Chris Terry (33-43-76, +12 fourth in OHL scoring), Andrew Fournier (27-29-56) and AJ Jenks (22-18-40). The Whalers are getting a lift from center Joe Gaynor (five goals in January) and defenseman Michal Jordan (4-15-19, +13). Goaltender Jeremy Smith remains among the league leaders in goals against average (2.72) and save percentage (.922).

SATURDAY – Sault Ste. Marie (32-13-1-3) at Plymouth, Compuware Arena, 7:05 p.m. The Greyhounds have won two of three meetings against Plymouth so far this season and come into the weekend in first place in the OHL West, five points ahead of second place Windsor (27-13-5-4) and 12 points up on Plymouth. Veteran goaltender Kyle Gajewski (2.43, .912) is having his best year in the OHL and leads the league with 28 victories. The ‘Hounds have eight players scoring in double figures so far this season with Pittsburgh prospect Dustin Jeffrey (21-42-63, +10) and Los Angeles draft pick Wayne Simmonds (23-26-49) leading the way. Washington prospect and defenseman Josh Godfrey (15-21-36) has one of the hardest shots from the blue line in the Canadian Hockey League.

SUNDAY – Kingston (13-31-0-1) at Plymouth, Compuware Arena, 2:00 p.m. The Frontenacs are going through a tough season and are tied with Sudbury for ninth in the Eastern Conference race. Kingston is rebuilding with young players and left wing Josh Brittain (17-13-30, 118th by Central Scouting) and center Nathan Moon (17-22-39, 114th by Central Scouting) are worth watching.

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