Wednesday, April 6, 2011

OHL Playoff Predictions: Round Two

I bring to you my predictions for round two. I went 5-3 in round 1 (predictions and analysis here).

Let's see how I fair in the second round (where we've got some incredibly entertaining match-ups).

Eastern Conference

1. Mississauga Majors vs. 7. Sudbury Wolves
Season Series: Majors 5-1
My Analysis: At this point, I think you can throw the results of the season series down the drain. You're looking at a hot Sudbury club who is playing the best hockey of their season (probably thanks to the fact that they finally have everyone healthy). The Wolves tossed the Travis Gibbons' less Ottawa 67's to the curb and have probably the hottest line in the entire OHL right now (Sgarbossa, Leivo, Kuchin). But beating up on an Ottawa team that clearly wasn't healthy and whose defense without Travis Gibbons ended up being 0-8 (including the playoff losses), is different than going up against the beasts of the East in every sense of the word. I think the Wolves are going to really give the Majors a good run for their money, but in the end it's just not going to be enough to get past the Mississauga defense in a 7 game series.
Prediction: Mississauga in 5

3. Niagara IceDogs vs. 4. Oshawa Generals
Season Series: Tie 1-1
My Analysis: I don't know about you, but I'm pretty damn excited to watch this series. It has the potential to be a real doozy. Here's my frame of thinking. In order to win this series, Oshawa is going to win at least one game in Niagara, but more likely two if they lose one at home. While the Oshawa defense is more experienced, and Peter Di Salvo is a league veteran, I think the inexperience of Oshawa's offense (as explosive as it is), may have some trouble winning games on the road in Niagara. Niagara's such a deep team at forward and they just wear you down shift after shift. Plus, Mark Visentin is on a mission to prove to people that the WJC's were an anomaly. Tough series, but I'm taking the Dogs thanks to home ice advantage and a deeper and more experienced forward unit.
Prediction: Niagara in 6

Western Conference

1. Owen Sound Attack vs. 6. Plymouth Whalers
Season Series: Attack 3-1
My Analysis: The Western Conference regular season champs had a bit of a tough time with a feisty Knights squad in the opening round. Veteran Michael Zador stepped in to provide solid goaltending, but I'm not convinced their situation in net is stable. Binnington is sitting and a very rusty Scott Stajcer is backing up Zador. Meanwhile, the Whalers have MAYBE the best goaltender in the OHL, Scott Wedgewood, manning the pipes. Anyone who watched the Kitchener series can attest to how good this guy really is. While some people may look at Plymouth being in that hard fought seven game series as a negative (fatigue factor), I look at it as a positive. That win against the higher ranked (and significantly more hyped) Rangers had to be a huge confidence booster for a team that's deep at every position, is big, physical and really doesn't give up. Put me on the Whalers' bandwagon.
Prediction: Plymouth in 7

2. Saginaw Spirit vs. 4. Windsor Spitfires
Season Series: Spirit 4-2
My Analysis: It's really too bad that the Spitfires and Otters met in round one. With how well those two teams were playing heading into the playoffs, I wouldn't have been surprised to see that one as the West final had they not met in round one. Instead, we've got a still red hot Windsor team who looks hungry for another shot at the Memorial Cup. Jack Campbell was pretty solid in the first round, but he's going to have to be even better in round two. He certainly has the experience in big games. I don't know, I guess I just don't have a lot of confidence in Saginaw right now. They looked so strong in the first part of the season, but all the additions they made (which looked terrific on paper), just haven't really clicked IMO. I'm not seeing a team that looks like it has a lot of chemistry. Meanwhile, the Spits late season acquisitions are fueling the team's fire right now and I think they've got momentum on their side.
Prediction: Windsor in 6

Would absolutely love to hear your predictions as comments!


Anonymous said...

Owen Sound in 6 .... Hishon is to good !!!!!

Anonymous said...

Not fair to comment after two games are in the books but I'll take Miss in 4, Owen Sound in 5. Scott Stajcer looks to be back for the Attack posting a 0.957 save percentage second only to his team mate Michael Zador's 0.958. I'll make up for the late 2nd round prediction by calling a Mississauga - Owen Sound final.