Conference Finals Preview

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Conference Finals Preview

Post by Macker88 on Mon Apr 14, 2014 5:09 pm

To know overwhelming surprise its Erie & Guelph in the Western Conference Finals, and to large surprise it's Oshawa & North Bay in the Eastern Finals. Now Oshawa isn't a surprise in the sense they had a great regular season and have had an even better playoff. They're more of a surprise in the sense 90% of people believed the Generals would be hard pressed to even make the playoffs this season. As for North Bay, they're a team that is never really talked about as a major contender because they lack the big name offensive threats. But they've got some surprisingly good goaltending, their defensive system is working, and guys are finding the net. The 2014 OHL Conference Finals should be come of the best playoff series we've seen in years.

Eastern Conference Finals

(1) Oshawa Generals Vs (2) North Bay Battalion

The Oshawa Generals have had any easy go of things early in the playoffs, sweeping both Mississauga & Peterborough in the 1st two rounds. But things are sure to change in the Conference Finals as the North Bay Battalion, while not the most offensive of teams, are one of the hardest teams to play against in the OHL. The Battalion have had a bit rougher go of things in the playoffs needing 6 games to take out a talented Barrie Colts squad and 7 to take out a young Niagara IceDogs squad. The Battalion are led by Overage Captain Barclay Goodrow who through 13 playoff games has put up 12 points, on 6 goals & 6 assists. Nick Paul, Ben Thomson & Import Alex Henriksson are all also having good playoffs offensively. While you wouldn't know it by looking at the Battalion's stats, they are a pretty deep club, their a team that roles all 4 lines, and all 4 lines can compete and play with other teams top lines. The Battalion struggled at times this season with inconsistent goaltending, but throughout the playoff run Jake Smith has been lights out good, sporting a 2.08GAA, 0.916Save % to go along with 2 shutouts. While the Generals will be without Scott Laughton for game 1 of the Eastern Conference Final they seemingly didn't skip a beat missing him for games 3 & 4 in the Peterborough series. Michael Dal Colle has been leading the Gens offensively in the playoffs to date with 16 points in 8 games on 5 goals & 11 assists. Cole Cassels, Hunter Smith & Josh Sterk have all also contributed on a regular bases. The Generals will need to continue to play their smothering style of defense that has been so successful throughout the first two rounds of the playoffs if they want to continue to have success. Daniel Altshuller really rebounding from a shaky 1st round series to allow just 3 goals in 4 games against the Petes. Overall this playoffs Altshuller has a 8-0 record, 1.50GAA, 0.939 Save % & 3 shutouts, good to lead all major goaltending categories. This series will be a real battle as the teams match up very well, I'm expecting this one to go at least 6 games if not 7. I do believe the Generals are the better team though, as their goaltending is a step above, as is their offensive and defensive depth.

Prediction - Oshawa in 6


Western Conference Finals

(1)Guelph Storm Vs (3) Erie Otters

The two best teams in the OHL points wise will match up in the Western Conference Finals. Both the Otters and Storm ousted pretty strong teams in just 4 & 5 games respectively in the 2nd round of the playoffs. Many where expecting the Guelph vs London series to go the 7 game distance, but Guelph imposed their will on a very strong London team an took the series in just 5 games. While London was missing Anthony Stolarz, Zach Bell and Brady Austin the Storm deserve all the credit for make the series a short one, they dominated the play in almost every game. As for the Otters, after a surprisingly close series with Saginaw in the first round, despite the series only going 5 games, the Otters really turned it on against a very good Soo Sault Marie team. While all the games again where relatively close against the Greyhounds the Otters where able to sweep the series in 4 games. The Guelph Storm are led by veteran Zack Mitchell who has posted 5 goals & 10 assists for 15 points in 10 playoff games to date. The Storm offensive attack is deep as every forward, minus rookie Adam Craievich who has only dressed for 6 of the 10 games has scored a goal. With the return of team leader and offensive threat Brock McGinn slated for Game 2 of the Western Conference final the Storm attack will only get stronger. Robbi Fabbri also returned from injury in round 2 and picked up right where he left off with 5 goals and 4 assists in 5 games. The Storm D-Core is no slouch either led by Toronto Maple Leafs Draft Pick Matt Finn. Finn along with Nick Ebert, Ben Harpur & Zac Leslie are all NHL Draft picks. The Storm's slight weakness may be in goal where Justin Nichols has been shaky at times despite his rather good numbers. With this series being so tightly contested goal tending may ultimately be the difference. As for the Otters their goaltending has be superb with back up Devin Williams really making a name for himself, going 8-0-1 while posting a 1.88GAA & a 0.934 Save % and 2 shutouts. If Williams happens to falter they have Columbus Bluejackets 2nd rounder Oscar Dansk sitting on the bench to come in for mop up duty. Obviously despite their strong goaltending the Otters strength is also their offense, with 5 players already reaching double digits in points after just 9 playoff games (Fox, Gaunce, McDavid, Brown & Burakovsky). Rookie Dylan Strome has also been impressive in his playoff debut with 7 points in 9 games. The Otters D-Core is deep as well with 8 players who could all be in any other teams top 2 D pairings. Look for veterans Adam Pelech, Kurtis MacDermid, Spencer Abraham & Cory Geonvese to really step their game up this round, and they'll need to, to shutdown the potent Storm offense. This serious will be a beauty, anyone who can get to Guelph or Erie really should ! Look for the Storm to ultimately take the series in a tightly contested 7 game series. I just feel the Storm are a better overall hockey team, their pieces just fit better. The Storm's top 6 guys can also play physical and kill penalties an defend leads, while the Otter rely on Brendan Gaunce and bottom 6 guys to do the lions share of that type of work.

Prediction - Storm in 7

(1) Guelph Storm Vs (1) Oshawa Generals for the OHL Championship

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Re: Conference Finals Preview

Post by Gens Camper on Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:18 am

Very good summary for both finals - I agree

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Re: Conference Finals Preview

Post by KHE on Tue Apr 15, 2014 12:14 pm

It wouldn't surprise me to see that Sportsnet will broadcast the game on Friday, 3 games in the CHL, 1 out west starting at 1030, OHL game starting at 730 and the Gens starting at 7pm. Great summary Macker.

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Re: Conference Finals Preview

Post by KHE on Wed Apr 16, 2014 10:23 am

KHE wrote:It wouldn't surprise me to see that Sportsnet will broadcast the game on Friday, 3 games in the CHL, 1 out west starting at 1030, OHL game starting at 730 and the Gens starting at 7pm.  Great summary Macker.

Quite happy to see this morning that Fridays game WILL NOT be on Sportsnet. They are broadcasting the WHL game at 1030pm.

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Fridays game not on Sportsnet

Post by Gens Camper on Wed Apr 16, 2014 11:34 am

I am also glad BUT next Friday's game could be a different story

The Sportsnet would want to show Scott Laughton who is not playing on Friday night

If they had of put the GENS GAME on Sportsnet - the benefit would go to North Bay as we are missing Scott Laughton and all of those

T V timeouts would not help us

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Re: Conference Finals Preview

Post by StingRay5 on Fri Apr 18, 2014 6:38 pm

Getting close to game time.   I've been impressed with the team and their ability to keep calm heads and keep working for the whole game.

Go get em boys!

Go Gens Go!
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