Thursday, May 3, 2012

OHL Playoff Predictions: OHL Final

The year truly is winding down. A great season of OHL hockey has lead to this; a meeting of the first place teams in each Conference. For Niagara, their representation in the final comes as no surprise. They were pegged as one of the teams to beat this season. For London, it's probably a bit of a surprise (in terms of preseason predictions). Kudos to the Knights for continuing to win despite a carousel of younger players each season.

After going 1-1 in the Conference finals, my postseason prediction record sits at 9-5. Let's see if I can hit double digits on the prediction win column.

1. Niagara IceDogs vs. 1. London Knights
Season Series: 1-1 TIE
My Analysis: What a match up this should be. Two incredibly evenly matched clubs doing battle for the Championship. Niagara is definitely the more veteran laden team. While many of the team's players have never been quite this far in the playoffs...they are an older team who relies heavily on its overage threesome of Friesen, Agozzino, and Pacan. And Mark Visentin is no stranger to pressure situations after the past two WJC's. Defensively, these clubs match up incredibly well and are pretty damn even IMO. I think Niagara's defenseman move the puck a bit better, but London probably gets the edge in physicality and overall defensive stingyness. Goaltending is probably a bit of a wash. While Visentin is obviously talented and an NHL first rounder, Michael Houser is the reigning Red Tilson Trophy winner for a reason. The series will no doubt come down to two things IMO. 1. Can the younger forwards on London's roster come up huge against Niagara's stingy and physical forward group (in terms of match-ups)? 2. Can both of these teams channel their physical aggressiveness and energy in a positive way and stay out of the box? This one should be real close, but I'm liking Niagara's veteran forward group to seal the deal.
Prediction: Niagara in 7


Anonymous said...

One thing that has really surprised me about this series is how badly Niagara is getting outplayed at home. With the significantly bigger team at forward, there's no way they should be losing all the puck battles in the Garden City. Heck, I'd say London has been more physical too.

One thing that this series might be exposing is just how poor a coach Marty Williamson is.

The Knights are a talented team, but they've also been given structure and play within a system, a system that is denying Niagara the opportunity to enter the offensive zone in a lot of cases. Meanwhile, does Niagara even have a system? It seems like Williamson just sends em out there and lets them fly. Just not structure and it's killing them.

Second year in recent time that Marty Williamson has taken the most talented team on paper in the OHL to the Final and then, essentially, gotten his add handed to him by a team from the West.

Anonymous said...

Man, the Knights have surprised me in this series. They've played two bad games all playoffs. TWO! And none of them in this series (game 1 okay).

So much character and heart on the Knights. Austin Watson blocks 8-10 shots a game. Olli Maatta has come out of nowhere and is putting up well over a point per game. D has shut down the Niagara forwards extremely well and Houser is the main reason they're up 3-1. Our more decorated vets (McKegg, Namestnikov, Griffith)haven't piled up the points in this series, but our youngins sure have! Over half of our goals by a player under 18 so far in the first five. Domi has 2, Ryan Rupert 4, Matt Rupert 1, Chris Tierney 2. D is scoring now. PP is the only downside, but we're so close now!

1 win. In the next 3. I believe!

Anonymous said...

There it is. The championship. Gratz, Knights!