After going 5-3 in Round 1, it's time for my second round predictions. I blew it on Brampton, Saginaw, and Mississauga in round one. I definitely didn't see Brampton finishing off Sudbury so quickly. I figured that would be a more drawn out series.
Let's look at the round two match-ups.
1. Niagara IceDogs vs. 4. Brampton Battalion
Season Series: 4-2 Niagara
My Analysis: It's so easy to underestimate the Battalion, because they aren't flashy. Bottom line is that any Stan Butler team gets the job done, pretty or not. Brampton's defense completely stifled Sudbury's attack in round one and they could easily do the same to Niagara's. The only difference is that Niagara has a much deeper line up, which means they'll obviously be harder to contain. In a seven game series, I could see Brampton shutting down the Niagara offense in a few games, but I can't see their offense doing well enough to win them four games in the series. Even if Oshawa played them hard to close out their series, Niagara appears to be the true beasts of the East right now.
Prediction: Niagara in 6
2. Ottawa 67's vs. 3. Barrie Colts
Season Series: 3-1 Barrie
My Analysis: This series is a true toss up. I think both teams have serious concerns and are right now worse teams than either of the other two teams playing in the East semi's. Ottawa looked pretty good against Belleville in round one, but they were inconsistent as hell to close out the regular season. I'm not convinced they have the depth to go far in the playoffs. While the Colts are banged up after a tough series against Mississauga. Both Petr Mrazek and Mathias Neiderberger played great in round one, so the goaltending in the series should be top notch. In the end, I like Ottawa's experience (as a whole) to come out on top. I think guys like Toffoli, Mrazek, Zanetti (post suspension), Prince, want this pretty bad in what is likely their swan song in the OHL.
Prediction: Ottawa in 7
1. London Knights vs. 5. Saginaw Spirit
Season Series: 4-0 London
My Analysis: Don't let the season series fool you into believing this could be a cake walk for the Knights. None of those four games were played in the final two months of the season when Saginaw caught fire. The Spirit have an experienced forward group lead by the currently dominant Brandon Saad. But I don't think there's any question as to which team has the deeper line up, and that's London. The Knights have a strong enough defensive unit who should be able to shut down the Saad line just enough for them to win. I also think goaltending will be a factor, as I'm not sure Jake Paterson (who's had an impressive season) is ready for this test.
Prediction: London in 6
2. Plymouth Whalers vs. 3. Kitchener Rangers
Season Series: 3-1 Plymouth
My Analysis: Getting scared by the Storm in round one might have been the best thing to happen to the Whalers. They looked like a totally different team towards the end of that series and I think they'll now be pretty hard to beat. And while the Rangers defeated Owen Sound pretty easily, I don't think it was that difficult of a challenge due to the Halmo suspension and injury problems the Attack were faced with. The Radek Faksa concussion complicates things too, as I'm not sure the Rangers have the offensive depth to overcome his injury. The deciding factor will be goaltending. Scott Wedgewood was pretty shaky in round one, where as John Gibson was fairly solid. I do think the Whalers are just too powerful, but Gibson could steal a game or two.
Prediction: Plymouth in 5
Would love to hear your predictions.