OHL Playoff Preview: The Finals

Everyone tries to be perfect, and yours truly is no different. As you can see by my three previous rounds of predictions and outcomes, I’m far from it. But here I am to face my “embarrassment” and look at the Ontario Hockey League battle for the J. Ross Robertson Cup between the Erie Otters and the Mississauga Steelheads and the opportunity to join the Windsor Spitfires at the Memorial Cup.

But first, here’s a look back at the previous three rounds predictions and results:

OHL Playoffs

The Otters swept the season series 4 games to none and have a decided edge head-to-head over the past 5 seasons with a 15-3 record. As most are aware by now, the Steelheads didn’t get off to the start that everyone (including themselves) expected this season and that two lopsided Otters victories came before the Steelheads righted the ship.

On November 4, the Otters skated to a 7-4 victory in Mississauga. On November 29, they totally dominated the Steelheads in the rematch in Erie 9-2. On back-to-back nights beginning February 17, the results were the same, but not as dominating. The Otters would go into the Hershey Center and take the first game of the double-header 4-1. Back at the Erie Insurance Arena, the Steelheads were blanked 3-0.

Many believe that the Steelheads, being in the Eastern Conference, had the easier path to the finals. To some extent, there is some truth to that. Even with their 12-3 record heading into the finals, the Steelheads made things easier for themselves then they should have been.

A first-round victory over the Ottawa 67’s went pretty much as expected. But series victories over the Oshawa Generals and Peterborough Petes were completed in quick fashion. I don’t think many expected a sweep of the Petes in the Eastern Conference Finals. Many, including myself, were predicting a Petes win.

The Otters enter the finals with a 12-5 record. After dismantling the Sarnia Sting in 4 games, as they should have, things got tough for Erie. It took 7 games to dispose of the London Knights in a hard fought and entertaining series.

In an equally entertaining series, Erie had a 3-2 series lead over the Owen Sound Attack and then dominated in game 6 in Owen Sound to close out the series.

The winner will take home the J. Ross Robertson Cup and join the host Windsor Spitfires at the Memorial Cup.

Here’s how the two teams stack up (regular season – playoff stats):

  Erie Mississauga
Overall Record 50-15-2-1 34-21-6-7
Head-to-Head 4-0-0-0 0-4-0-0
Home Record 30-2-1-1 16-11-4-3
Away Record 20-13-1-0 18-10-2-4
Goals For 319 – 78 240 – 62
Goals Against 182 – 47 219 – 35
Powerplay 27.2% – 26.3% 19.7% – 22.9%
Penalty Kill 83.4% – 80.4% 80.6% – 79.0%
Draft Eligible Players to Watch Ivan Lodnia (C) Nicolas Hague (D)
    Owen Tippett (RW)
    Shaw Boomhower (C)

 

Prediction: Erie in 6 games

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