2014 OHL Playoff Preview (Round 1)

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2014 OHL Playoff Preview (Round 1)

Post by Macker88 on Tue Mar 18, 2014 6:04 pm

Eastern Conference - Round 1

(1) Oshawa Generals Vs (Cool Mississauga Steelheads

The Generals where arguably the surprise of the Eastern Conference this season, if not the whole OHL. They find themselves as the overwhelming favorite going into their first round series against the Mississauga Steelheads. On paper the Generals should crush the Steelheads in a four game sweep. The Generals have a distinct advantage up front an on the blue line, one could even argue they have the advantage in goal, although Mississauga's Spencer Martin does have the ability to steal games. The Steelheads will be in tough to contain the likes of Scott Laughton, Michael Dal Colle, Cole Cassels, Josh Sterk & former captain Dylan Smoskowitz. If the games turn into high scoring affairs the Steelheads have no chance as they only have one player who reached the 40 point plateau (44 Points Bryson Cianfrone). For the Steelheads to have any chance they'll have to convert on all thier offensive chances, stay out of the penalty box, convert on their power play opportunities, get great goal tending by Spencer Martin and execute their smothering defensive game to a T. Seems like a lofty task right, I'd agree. I think the Generals are just to deep for the Steelheads to have any chance. With that being said, don't be shocked if the Steelheads are able to squeak out one victory in this opening round series.
Prediction - Generals in 4

(2) North Bay Battalion Vs (7) Niagara IceDogs

The North Bay Battalion road a 7 game winning streak to win the Central Division and secure the 2nd overall seed in the Eastern Conference. In doing so the Battalion secured a slightly weaker opponent in round 1. Despite a 25 point difference between the two teams, this first round match up could be quiet entertaining as the Battalion are not a high scoring team, and the Icedogs have two 30 goal scorers (Perlini & Ming) and two others who posted 20+ goals (Verhaeghe & DiFruscia). Look for this series to feature a lot of 2-1, 3-2 overtime games, as the Battalion are always tough defensively and creating offense in the tiny Jack Gatecliff arena is also always a struggle. If I'm the Icedogs I'm thrilled with this first round match up as it does give them the best opportunity for an upset, however I personally don't expect that to happen. The series may very well go 6 games but look for the Battalion's depth and veteran leadership to lead the Battalion over the Icedogs. Look for Nick Paul & Barclay Goodrow to have a big series for the Battalion.
Prediction - North Bay in 5

(3) Kingston Frontenacs Vs (6) Peterborough Petes

In probably the most intriguing of the first round series the Kingston Frontenacs take on the Peterborough Petes. The Petes road a strong second half to the 6th spot in the Conference, while the Frontenacs continued their trend of winning a few and then losing a few. However the Fronts did go 7-1-1-1 in their last 10, and its never a bad thing to ride a hot streak into the playoffs. The Petes rely heavily on their top line of Hunter Garlent, Nick Ritchie & Eric Cornel, if the Fronts are able to shut them down they should win this series with relative ease, as they are far deeper and much more talented on paper. However the Petes showed a lot of character throughout the second half of the season, while the Fronts didn't really face adversity all that well throughout the season. While the Fronts boost the much more superior team I just see this series going the distance. Matt Mahalak has been shaky in goal for the Fronts all season, an on a weaker team he would have been much more exposed. Andrew D'Agostini is no rock of consistency himself, however you get the feeling the Petes have much more confidence in him then the Fronts have in Mahalak. As I stated earlier this series is really going to come down to how the Fronts contain the Petes top line as well as the goal tending battle. If I'm a betting man this is a series I lay off, but I would have to give a slight edge to the Fronts, based solely on the depth of there offense.
Prediction - Kingston in 6

(4) Barrie Colts Vs (5) Sudbury Wolves

At the trade deadline a very solid Sudbury Wolves club sat 2nd in the Conference with a pretty big cushion on the division and just a few points behind the Generals for 1st in the Conference. They made two big trades, acquiring Trevor Carrick from the Mississauga Steelheads and import Radek Faksa from the Kitchener Rangers. On paper these moves looked to push Sudbury over the top and make them the overwhelming favorite in the Eastern Conference. However they faltered and finished the season 3-5-0-2 in their last 10, dropping them all the way to 5th in the Conference. Now they'll be in tough against a Barrie Colts squad that really heated up down the stretch. The Colts have very few weaknesses and are extremely deep up front and on the back end. Andreas Athanasiou led the Colts in scoring with 49 goals and 46 assists for 95 points in 66 games, he'll be a load for the Wolves D to handle. Zach Hall, draft eligible Brendan Lemieux, Joe Blandisi, Mitchell Theoret, Tyson Fawcett, Garrett Hooey & Kevin Labanc round out the Colts offensive weapons. Their D core is led by the top rated defenseman in the upcoming NHL draft, Aaron Ekblad. It followed up by Jake Dotchin & veterans Jonathan Laser and Michael Webster. For the Wolves to gain back some respect they lost in the second half of the OHL season guys like Nick Baptiste, Nathan Pancel, Radek Faksa & Matthew Campagna are really going to have to step up for the Wolves. If Franky Palazzese is able to out play rookie MacKenize Blackwood of the Colts, the Wolves have a definite shot.
Prediction - Wolves in 7

Western Conference - Round 1

(1) Guelph Storm Vs (Cool Plymouth Whalers

Do the Plymouth Whales have any chance at all... Lets be honest... No, No they don't. The Whalers would have been better off tanking in the 2nd half of the season to hold a top 4 pick in the upcoming OHL entry draft. The Whalers have a couple bright spots though, I mean its not all dark and gloom in Plymouth. Goalie Alex Nedeljkovic is a top rated goalie for the upcoming NHL draft, and he'll need to stand on his head just to keep the games close. Ryan Hartman is a top prospect of the Chicago Blackhawks and will need his offensive side to show up in a huge way to help the Whalers stay in games. Look for veterans Zach Lorentz & Carter Sandlak to have inspiring 1st round playoff series as these will be their last games in the OHL. The Whales surprised some top teams this season but to say they are capable of taking 4 games of Guelph in a 7 game series is just ludicrous. The Storm are just two deep at every position and will not break a sweat in this 1st round series.

Prediction - Guelph in 4

(2) Soo Sault Marie Greyhounds Vs (7) Owen Sound Attack

As Oshawa was a surprise in the East, Soo Sault Marie was a surprise in the west. Despite having less points then Erie & London the hold the number 2 seed as a result of winning their division. The Greyhounds had some players really step up their games this season, which helped the team to a really successful season. Carolina Hurricanes prospect Sergey Tolchinski lit up the O this season with 91 points. He'll be a guy the Attack certainly need to key in on if they wanna shut down they Greyhounds offense. Look for Jared McCann to continue his successful sophomore campaign in the playoffs. Other guys to keep your eye on are Tyler Gaudet, Rookie Blake Speers, Andrew Fritsch and deadline acquisition Bryan Moore. The Attack actually have a pretty strong team for a 7th seed, and after trading Gemel Smith to the London Knights, I believe they actually got stronger as they became slightly deeper. This will be a tough series for the 2 seeded Greyhounds, with an upset not out of the realm of possibilities. Brandon Hope will really need to out play Matt Murray of the Greyhounds for an upset to occur. Even if the Greyhounds win the series, look for it to be lengthy and physical with the winner probably nursing a few injuries going into road 2.

Prediction - Greyhounds in 6

(3) Erie Otters Vs (6) Saginaw Spirit

How does a team with 106 points get the 3rd seed... Well a team with 108 wins the division. Three teams in the Otters Division surpassed the 100 point mark in 2013-2014. The Otters are by far the better team in this 1st round showdown, they have arguably they best top 6 forward core in the OHL and follow that up with a deep and talented blue line and a highly touted NHL prospect in goal (Oscar Dansk). Connor Brown led the OHL in scoring with 128 points in 68 games, while Dane Fox also of the Otters posted 107 points in 67 games. Super Kid Connor McDavid narrowly missed the 100 point plateau, raking up 99 in 56 games. If not for participating in the World Junior Championship, McDavid would have been the 3rd Otter to reach the 100 point plateau. When you have a team with 3 guys capable of scoring 100 points in a season, you likely have an advantage in the 1st round. Saginaw has some talent, OA Kristoff Kontos led the Spirit with 75 points, followed by Veteran Eric Locke with 60 points. I just don't see the Spirit being deep enough to contend with Otters. It wouldn't surprise be to see the Spirit give an inspiring effort in the first round series after the loss of their teammate just weeks ago, but to say they'll be able to win the 1st match up wouldn't be fair.

Prediction - Otters in 5

(4) London Knights Vs (5) Windsor Spitfires

Well this one will be interesting to say the least. The Knights finished 33 points ahead of the Spitfires, yet they sit just one spot a head of them in the standings. If it wasn't the Spitfires I'd say it would be a runaway four game sweep for the Knights, but it is the Spitfires and they still do have some very talented players, and the overall rivalry has to count for something. London's goal tending has been shaky all season and if I was a Knights fan that would scare me in this 1st round matchup. With the Spitfires having guys like Brady Vail, Josh Ho Sang & Ben Johnson they are very capable of putting the puck in the net. Even the Spits depth guys have scoring touches. The Knights are deeper and have a strong returning core from the past Memorial Cup Runs to go along with loads of veteran leadership, and ultimately that should get them through this 1st round series. However it will be no 4 game sweep and it will be tough. Look for this series to be a real physical one, I'm sure there will be a blow out or 2 to go along with a few over times games. One thing I wanna add is either the Knights are gonna come out flying, thinking.. playoffs, this is what we've been waiting for or its only Windsor lets sweep them and get going. The attitude they bring into road 1, game 1 will determine how far this team goes in the Playoffs and if they go into the Mem Cup as OHL Champs or Hosts.

Predictions - London in 5

Macker88

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Re: 2014 OHL Playoff Preview (Round 1)

Post by mygens on Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:31 pm

hope you're right , but the gens aren't playing well right now , and haven't for awhile , I'm not as convinced this will be an easy series for the gens !

the gens don't have the killer instinct , they only play well enough to win it seems , when they get a lead they sit back , a lot of bad habits the past month , hopefully will turn this around !

the gens need to adopt the D first approach , to win , we are not a powerhouse offensively !

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Re: 2014 OHL Playoff Preview (Round 1)

Post by mygens on Thu Mar 20, 2014 12:32 pm

Prediction . Gens is 6

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Re: 2014 OHL Playoff Preview (Round 1)

Post by Macker88 on Thu Mar 20, 2014 2:49 pm

My view on the Generals is they coasted through the final 5-6 games, as they knew they had locked up 1st in the Conference and catching 1st place overall was impossible.
They definitely aren't the offensive powerhouse like London, Guelph, Erie or Kingston, but in comparison to what the Steelheads have the Generals offense looks pretty good.
I would agree that they don't have the killer instinct, but I think that's just the way they're coached. They're coached to sit back on their leads and play team defense. As poorly as they played the last few weeks in the season I still believe the Generals will be to overwhelming for the Steelheads and take it in a sweep.

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Re: 2014 OHL Playoff Preview (Round 1)

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