Thursday, February 21, 2008

Whalers host Brampton, Soo this weekend

Due to the tragic death of Windsor Spitfires captain Mickey Renaud, Plymouth’s game Thursday night in Windsor against the Spitfires has been postponed and will be rescheduled at a later date.

The Whalers (31-22-2-2, 66 points, fifth seed in the Ontario Hockey League’s Western Conference race) get back to action this weekend with a pair of games at Compuware Arena:

Friday – Brampton (35-19-1-2) at Plymouth, 7:05 p.m., Compuware Arena: The Battalion march into Compuware Arena in first place in the OHL’s Central Division of the Eastern Conference. Brampton defeated Plymouth, 5-4, on Jan. 27 at the Powerade Centre in Brampton. In that game, Plymouth came all the way back from a 4-0 deficit to tie the game in the third period, but lost on John Hughes’ goal with 2:34 left in regulation.

WHO’S HOT FOR THE WHALERS: With 87 points through 57 games, Chris Terry (37-50) has 11 games remaining on the schedule to become the 14th player in franchise history to record 100 points in a season. The Whalers are getting production of late from a forward line featuring Vern Cooper (14-14-28), Kaine Geldart (10-24) and Joe Gaynor (8-9-17). Whalers’ veteran defenseman and OHL All-Star Wes Cunningham (6-43-49) will miss the rest of the season after undergoing finger surgery, but the Whalers are getting good work from NHL prospect Michal Jordan (5-17-22, +7), Carolina draftee Brett Bellemore (5-16-21, +6) and Ohio native Christian Steingraber (1-14-15, +9) in Cunningham’s absence. Brownstown’s Jeremy Smith (2.80 goals against, .920 save pct.) continues to have an excellent season in goal for the Whalers.

WHO’S HOT FOR BRAMPTON: The Battalion feature Red Wings prospect Cory Emmerton (19-33-52), who was acquired from Kingston earlier this year. Emmerton has a history of playing well at Compuware Arena. He’s been named the game’s first star for Kingston in two victories over the Whalers – Nov. 18, 2006 in a 5-2 win in which he scored two goals and an assist and Nov. 18, 2005 in a 7-5 win over the Whalers in which he also scored two goals with an assist. In all, Emmerton has scored seven goals with five assists for 12 points in seven games against Plymouth over his career.

Brampton also features center Cody Hodgson (35-35-70, +10) and defenseman Bobby Sanguinetti (21-36-57, +10), a New Jersey native who was a first round pick of the New York Rangers in last summer’s National Hockey League Entry Draft.

Saturday – Sault Ste. Marie (36-15-2-4) at Plymouth, 7:05 p.m., Compuware Arena: The Greyhounds are battling with Windsor for first place in the OHL’s West Division and have split four games with Plymouth so far this season.

WHO’S HOT FOR THE SOO: Leading scorer and captain Dustin Jeffrey (24-50-74, +16) is a Pittsburgh Penguins draftee who has already been signed by the Penguins. Los Angeles pick Wayne Simmonds (28-31-59) brings grit and skill to the rink. Defenseman Josh Godfrey (15-28-43, +26) has one of the hardest shots in the OHL and has been signed by his NHL team, the Washington Capitals. Veteran goaltender Kyle Gajewski (2.50, .910) is a National Hockey League free agent playing for a pro contract next season.

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