Minor League Hockey

OHL Roundup: Houser's scoring binge paces London

By Mackenzie Liddell, Contributing Editor

Toronto, Canada (Sports Network) - A look at some storylines from around the Ontario Hockey League:

NIAGARA NOT GOING AWAY

The IceDogs certainly have more bite to their game this season.

After finishing the week 3-0-0 with wins over Belleville, Ottawa and Oshawa, Niagara continues to be one of the best stories of the early 2010-11 campaign.

Besides the team's temporary perch atop the Eastern Conference standings, the IceDogs also have individual bragging rights as sophomore forward Ryan Strome is the new OHL scoring leader.

Strome already has 20 points in 10 games and sits seven shy of what he put up all of last year while splitting his rookie season between Barrie and Niagara.

While Strome has emerged as the top dog in Niagara, the supplementary scoring provided by Alex Friesen, Andrew Agozinno and Freddie Hamilton has been equally important for the team's winning ways.

OTTAWA, OSHAWA BATTLE IT OUT

The Oshawa Generals rode into the week carrying an impressive 4-1-0 record and plenty of confidence. That is until they were toppled by the surging Ottawa 67's.

Since then, it's been a tale of two teams temporarily moving in opposite directions.

Ottawa finished the week 3-1-0 and inched past the Generals, who went 1-3-0, for top spot in the East Division.

Despite boasting some high-end talent in Tyler Toffoli, Ryan Martindale and Cody Lindsay, the development of Shane Prince (5-12-17) has made a good 67's team into a major threat in the East.

But they will continue to face a stiff challenge from the upstart Generals who have looked like the real deal in the early going.

The Ottawa, Oshawa battle should continue to provide plenty of entertainment as the season progresses.

OTTERS' DEFENSE ON THE ROCKS

Considering they are the third highest-scoring team in the Western Conference, the Erie Otters' bottom-dwelling status is not the result of inconsistent offense.

And while goaltender Ramis Sadikov has looked brilliant at times, the onslaught of shots he's faced on a nightly basis has taken its toll.

It's easy to throw a goalie under the bus when your team has allowed a conference-high 46 goals against, but that is not the case in Erie.

Sadikov is second in the OHL in saves and has bailed out his porous defense on numerous occasions.

While the backend looks good on paper, they have not been able to get the job done. If the Otters are to crawl out of the Mid-West division basement, they'll need to eradicate their defensive deficiencies immediately.

SAVES AND SNIPERS

London Knights netminder Michael Houser and Attack forward Garret Wilson are vital components to their team's success.

With Joey Hishon, the super-skilled first-round pick of the Colorado Avalanche, battling injuries, Wilson has stepped up in a big way, leading the Attack's OHL-best offense with 12 goals and 17 points in nine games.

Owen Sound completed a flawless 3-0-0 week and Wilson was nothing short of perfect himself, racking up an outlandish seven goals over that span.

When the Knights announced the acquisition of colossal Russian netminder Igor Bobkov earlier in the season, it was expected he would challenge and eventually steal the starter's role in London.

But in order to usurp the incumbent, you need to play better than him - a tough task considering Houser is among the best in the league so far.

The Knights have enjoyed tremendous success in recent years, but have fallen short in the playoffs, while the lack of clutch goaltending was seen as the team's Achilles heel.

If Houser maintains the pace he has set, it will be tough for ´┐ŻBig Bob' to become the Knights' king of the crease.

NOTES

Kingston Frontenacs' center Nathan Moon received OHL and Canadian Hockey League player of the week honors for the period ending Oct. 10 after compiling three goals and nine points in three games.

The over-age forward ravaged the Generals for six points, including a hat trick en route to an 8-7 Kingston victory Oct. 8. His six-point performance is the highest single-game total in the OHL this season.

10/18 11:47:21 ET

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