We've reached the end. The 2016 OHL Finals kick off next Thursday in London where the IceDogs and Knights will compete for the J. Ross Robertson Cup and a trip to the Memorial Cup.
Thus far, I'm 9-5 in my predictions. Here's my breakdown of the OHL Finals.
3. London Knights vs. 4. Niagara IceDogs
Season Series: 1-1, TIE
Analysis: Will we finally get a close series in these OHL playoffs? The last two rounds have been complete blowouts, much to the surprise of OHL fans and followers. Both of these teams are absolutely rolling right now. London's top line has looked unstoppable, as Tkachuk/Marner/Dvorak have totalled 41 goals between them this postseason. Meanwhile, Niagara's aggressiveness on the trade market this year has paid off with the team steamrolling Kingston and Barrie. Goaltender Alex Nedeljkovic, the team's biggest acquisition, has been sensational and well worth the high price paid to acquire him. But of course, one of these teams is going to have to go home empty handed. For London, they'll have to continue to get secondary scoring (which they did against Erie) in case the Dogs are able to shut down (or at least slow down) that top line. They'll have to also play disciplined and stay out of the box (which they did against Erie) as their penalty kill has struggled this postseason. Niagara, will have to exploit the two things I just mentioned. They've got to be the first team to shutdown Marner & company (which they were unable to do in two regular season matchups) and they've got to get London to take some penalties so that their powerplay can go to work. Niagara will also continue to need Nedeljkovic to stand on his head and steal games for them. Here's the thing though, and I think it's the X factor in this series. For as good as Nedeljkovic has been for the Dogs, Tyler Parsons has been every bit as good for London. He may not have as much experience as Nedeljkovic, but he's proving to be just as capable of stealing games and making big saves when needed. I just don't see anyone stopping that first line in London right now and with quality goaltending in Parsons, I see London capturing the crown.
Prediction: London in 6