Just checked into the hotel and I ran into two friendly Rangers fans who made the trek from K-town. Small world.
Riddle me this? How is there a moutain of frozen snow big enough to sink the Titanic still in front of my house in Kitchener but everywhere else on the way here is snow free?
Heading to the rink in a bit. But for the reader who was wondering why forward Josh Sterk has been a healthy scratch - it's a numbers game. Three goals since Jan. 13th hasn't helped his cause.
I'm certain we'll see Sterk and Darby Llewellyn at some point this weekend.
And to answer another post, playoffs go 2-2-1-1-1.
Road trip tunes playlist: Gary Clark Jr., 16 Horsepower and then heavy on some Canadian indie bands in Elliott Brood, Constantines, Caribou, Gold and Youth, Ghost is Dancing, DVAS, Shotgun Jimmie and We Hunt Buffalo.
As per OHL vice president Ted Baker, there will be no supplementary discipline dished out to Saginaw winger Terry Trafford for his hit on Kitchener Rangers' blueliner Ben Fanelli.
Fanelli suffered a head injury -- but not a concussion -- on the play and hasn't played since.
It'll be interesting to see what kind of reception Trafford gets tonight.
Ben Thomson-Tobias Rieder-Josh Leivo
Matt Puempel-Radek Faksa-Justin Bailey
Brent Pedersen-Matia Marcantuoni-Derek Schoenmakers
Domenic Alberga-Curtis Meighan-Eric Ming
Ryan Murphy-Frank Corrado
Evan McEneny-Max Iafrate
Jared Gilbert-Owen Stewart
John Gibson (16-9-0-1) starts.
Eric Locke-Garret Ross-Jimmy Lodge
Andrey Alexeev-Justin Kea-Nick Moutray
David Perklin-Brandon Lindberg-Terry Trafford
Jeremiah Addison-Dylan Sadowy-Ramon Lopez
Jason Shaw-Nathan Glass
Jacob Ringuette-Dalton Young
Brandon Prophet-Marselis Subban
Nikita Serebryakov (6-10-1-1) starts.
- Kitchener netminder John Gibson was named best puckhandling goalie and best shootout goalie in the OHL's western conference in the annual coaches poll. Gibson is 3-1 in four shootouts this year.
- Ryan Murphy finished third in best stickhandler category in said poll. Hard to believe he didn't make top three in the best skater category.
- Both Josh Leivo's goals were off backhands.
- Derek Schoenmakers almost duked it out with Terry Trafford, while Ben Thomson was jawing with him pretty hard in the first period. Trafford is the forward who delivered a hard hit that sidelined Kitchener's Ben Fanelli last week.
- Saginaw has "ice girls" who clean the frozen pitch at stoppages. Only rink in the OHL that has the clean-up crew, to my knowledge.
- Playoff dates have not been finalized but Game 1 will definitely run Friday at the Aud at 7:30 p.m. and Game 2 goes Sunday at 7 p.m. After that, the rumoured schedule is Tuesday and Thursday at the Sleeman Centre, Friday at the Aud, Sunday back in Guelph and Monday in Kitchener, if necessary.
- I have to say it's a slick games operations staff all around at the Dow Event Center. From DJ to contests to game night volunteers. A really good atmosphere in the rink.
- Matt Puempel picked up his second hat trick of the year. Hard to believe Kitchener has scored a hat trick just three times (Tobias Rieder got the other one).
JB's top three Rangers: Matt Puempel, John Gibson, Josh Leivo