USING NUMBERS TO LOOK AT THE NHL'S FUTURE STARS
The No. 1 ranked Oshawa Generals started their quest for an OHL title – and Memorial Cup appearance – on Friday when they hosted the Peterborough Petes.
While the Petes are hardly equal on paper, this is one of the best rivalries in junior hockey, and Game 1 did not disappoint in terms of entertainment.
Oshawa certainly has more notable players, so I tracked three Generals and just one Pete. For Oshawa I kept my eyes on prized Islanders forward prospect Michael Dal Colle, as well as draft eligible forward Anthony Cirelli, and draft eligible defensemen – and potential 1st round pick – Mitch Vande Sompel. For Peterborough I tracked draft eligible defensemen Matt Spencer.
Final score: 7-2 Oshawa
Anthony Cirelli is one of the younger players on Oshawa, but he is trusted by head coach D.J. Smith. His defensive zone start totals weren’t high because the Generals dominated this game, but starting eight of nine shifts outside of the offensive zone helps illustrate Smith’s confidence in Cirelli’s two-way play.
Michael Dal Colle is one of the best offensive talents in the CHL, so naturally he was given a decent chunk of offensive zone starts. Dal Colle was given more defensive zone starts late, as Peterborough played Oshawa pretty even in the 3rd.
Mitch Vande Sompel is the best puck mover on Oshawa’s blue line – and was the CHL’s points per game leader among draft eligible defensemen in the regular season – so it was hardly a surprise to see him spoon fed offensive zone starts.
Matt Spencer started more shifts in the offensive zone than defensive zone, but I don’t think head coach Jody Hull was overly concerned with where he started his shifts.
Given he started 88% of his shifts outside of the offensive zone, it was surprising that Cirelli only had one entry attempt considering he is a good skater, and possesses solid puck skills.
Dal Colle didn’t have many entry attempts, either, but he made the most of them going perfect on the night. I don’t have the exact numbers, but I believe Sens prospect Tobias Lindberg did the heavy lifting in terms of zone entries for that line.
Vande Sompel jumped into the play regularly, but seemed more interested in distributing the puck to a winger at the line rather than carrying it in himself. Still, he showed the ability to do so.
Spencer’s Petes didn’t generate much offense at all, so Spencer took it into his own hands and tried to rush the puck up ice himself on a couple occasions.
Cirelli’s ice time was somewhat limited, and he only had one offensive zone start, but he came out positive in terms of possession. I’m sure Oshawa is happy with that from their bottom-6.
Dal Colle was excellent in this game, and generated chances almost every time he was on the ice. I believe his line had 10 or 11 shot attempts for before they finally allowed one. He had three assists to go with his dominant possession numbers.
Vande Sompel was sheltered in terms of zone starts, and his possession numbers reflect that. He kept things moving in the right direction, though, and contributed a pair of points on the man advantage (one goal, one assist). It was a pretty solid game all things considered.
Spencer was matched up against Dal Colle’s line a lot early, but those two squared off less frequently as the game went on. Oshawa dominated the game from start to finish – they outshot Peterborough 41-20 – so to come out almost even in possession is rather impressive.
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