CHLTVGOTW: Five players to watch — Storm @ Otters
The Guelph Storm (32-27-5) make a trip south of the border tonight to visit the Erie Otters (20-37-7) in a Saturday night CHLTV Game of the Week.
After a slow start to the season, that saw Guelph start the season 1-8-1, the Storm have bounced back in the second half to secure its spot in the OHL Playoffs for the fourth year in a row.
With just four games left in their schedule, the Storm, with some significant help, can still clinch home ice advantage in the first round. Led by Boston Bruins prospect Matthew Poitras, the Storm are 8-3-0 in their last 11.
On the flip side, a difficult season for the Otters sees them miss the playoffs for the fourth straight season and means they have yet to make the postseason since they were crowned champions in 2016-17.
However, with 15 players born in 2004 that made significant contributions this season, that includes top NHL Draft prospects Carey Terrance and 05-born Ondrej Molnar, the Otters appear to be on the upswing as they begin to look ahead to 2023-24.
Tonight is the fifth of six meetings this year between the two sides and it’s one that the Storm have dominated; they’ve won all four previous matchups and outscored Erie 18-10.
Cam Allen — Guelph
The fifth ranked North American defencemen that plays in the CHL ahead of the 2023 NHL Draft, Allen’s second OHL season has seen him register 25 points (five goals) from the Guelph blue line.
After a 37-point rookie campaign a year ago, Allen was the winner of the Emms Family Award as OHL Rookie of the Year. Later that summer, he captained Canada to gold at the 2022 Hlinka Gretzky Cup.
Ondrej Molnar — Erie
Molnar, the fifth overall pick in the 2022 CHL Import Draft, made his OHL debut in mid-December after he began the year in Slovakia’s ExtraLiga where he played 22 games with Nitra MHC.
With Erie, the Slovak native has 16 points (four goals) in 31 games and is the 48th ranked North American skater ahead of the NHL Draft later this year.
Last season, Molnar won the Continental Cup with Nitra.
2023 #NHLDraft prospect Ondrej Molnar rips home a rocket for his first career #OHL goal, bringing the @ErieOtters to within one 🎥 pic.twitter.com/iLi7lZYVMK
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) December 31, 2022
Max Namestnikov — Guelph
The main return from Sarnia in the Sasha Pastujov trade, Namestnikov has been excellent for the Storm since his debut on Nov. 2.
In 43 games, Namestnikov’s 31 goals leads Guelph while his 49 points rank fourth.
Namestnikov, the younger brother of Vladislav who has played 616 NHL games, was the third overall pick in the 2020 OHL Draft.
FOUR goals for @Storm_City's Max Namestnikov through two periods! 🚨🚨🚨🚨 pic.twitter.com/WPObeUw95v
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) February 25, 2023
Carey Terrance — Erie
Another NHL Draft eligible, Terrance has career highs across the board this year.
The Akwesasne, N.Y., native has 30 goals and 46 points in 63 games to lead the Otters in both categories.
NHL Central Scouting ranked Terrance as the 50th best North American skater ahead of June’s draft in Nashville.
🗣️ "ROLL THE HIGHLIGHT REEL, CAREY TERRANCE SHORTHANDED BEAUTY!" @CallMeBednard🎙️
The draft-eligible centreman with a gorgeous move to score his team-leading 19th goal for the @ErieOtters 🎥 pic.twitter.com/2bsh1AynZ6
— OntarioHockeyLeague (@OHLHockey) January 29, 2023
Matthew Poitras — Guelph
One of the OHL’s premier playmakers, Poitras (BOS) has shown his setup skills all season long as his 72 assists are the fourth most in the CHL.
The 54th overall pick by the Bruins in the 2022 NHL Draft, Poitras’ 34 power play assists are the second most in the OHL while 20 per cent of his goals this year have been game-winners.
The 19-year-old is also dominant in the faceoff circle; he’s won 56.7 per cent of his draws this year.
Look at that release from Matthew Poitras! 🥵 #CHLonTSN pic.twitter.com/vlH1VOcZr9
— Canadian Hockey League (@CHLHockey) January 21, 2023
Where to watch
Saturday’s contest can be seen live for free on CHL TV at 7pm ET / 4pm PT.
Available to fans from coast to coast, CHL TV is accessible on the CHL mobile app, in addition to Apple TV, Roku, and Amazon Fire, and online at watch.chl.ca. Each year, CHL TV offers access to more than 2,000 regular-season games covering the CHL’s three Member Leagues and 60 markets across Canada and the United States. Fans can download the free CHL app via the App Store and Google Play.