OHL Playoff Preview and Predictions Round Two

Before we look at the second round series matchups, lets look back and see how poorly I did in round one:

EASTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Hamilton vs (8) PeterboroughHamilton in 4Hamilton wins 4-0
(2) North Bay vs (7) OttawaNorth Bay in 5North Bay wins 4-0
(3) Kingston vs (6) OshawaKingston in 6Kingston wins 4-2
(4) Mississauga vs (5) BarrieMississauga in 7Mississauga wins 4-2
WESTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Windsor vs (8) SarniaWindsor in 5Windsor wins 4-2
(2) London vs (7) KitchenerLondon in 6Kitchener win 4-3
(3) Flint vs (6) Owen SoundFlint in 6Flint wins 4-3
(4) Sault Ste Marie vs (5) GuelphSault Ste Marie in 7Sault Ste Marie wins 4-1

So, 7 out of 8 correct winners. The Hockey Gods looked after the Kitchener Rangers after they were robbed of a goal as video review deemed it kicked in when it wasn’t. (The OHL officially came out and said the next day that it was an error). That call quite possibly cost the Rangers game 5. But they bounced back, tied the series and forced a game 7 in London in which they won in overtime to take the series.

But in only two of the series where I picked the correct winner did, I hit on the number of games. The biggest discrepancy was the Soo Greyhounds taking care of business against the Guelph Storm in 5 games where I had predicted it to go the distance. I don’t think anyone predicted the Storm wouldn’t give the Greyhounds a fight.

So, I try again with round two:

EASTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Hamilton vs (4) Mississauga

 HamiltonMississauga
Head-to-head5-2-0-13-5-0-0
PP Regular Season27.6%20.9%
PP Playoffs39.4%33.3%
PP vs opponent16.7%14.3%
PK Regular Season80.9%81.3%
PK Playoffs91.3%75.0%
PK vs opponent85.7%83.3%
GF Regular season300229
GF Playoffs2717
GA Regular season176189
GA Playoffs913
PIM /game regular season11.3/game11.5/game
PIM /game playoffs21.5/game9.8/game

I want to say “it’s hard to imagine the Hamilton Bulldogs losing a game in these playoffs” but I can’t because it’s bound to happen at some point. Offensively, the Bulldogs dominated during the regular season and the playoffs. Defensively, the Steelheads were almost as good as Hamilton during the regular season and the playoffs.

Both teams brought their powerplays to new levels during the playoffs. Mississauga’s penalty kill took a hit during the playoffs while Hamilton’s skyrocketed. However, one must take into account their respective opponents. If special teams are going to be a factor in this series, then you have to take into account that Mississauga is taking fewer penalties in the playoffs than the regular season while Hamilton has almost doubled theirs. But I’m not going to overthink this trying to find wins for Mississauga.

Prediction: Hamilton in 5 games.

(2) North Bay vs (3) Kingston

 North BayKingston
Head-to-head4-0-0-00-4-0-0
PP Regular Season25.9%25.3%
PP Playoffs30.0%26.7%
PP vs opponent53.8%13.3%
PK Regular Season80.6%79.8%
PK Playoffs90.0%60.0%
PK vs opponent86.7%46.2%
GF Regular season267285
GF Playoffs1727
GA Regular season198242
GA Playoffs1118
PIM /game regular season9.1/game11.1/game
PIM /game playoffs7.8/game11.5/game

As you can see above, the North Bay Battalion swept the season series against the Kingston Frontenacs. Only 6 points separated the two teams in the regular season. Their powerplays were pretty even as was their penalty kills and their goals for. North Bay had a decisive advantage in the goals against department.

Where North Bay had the big advantage was on specialty teams head-to-head. North Bay’s powerplay clipped along at 53.8% against Kingston while the Fronts could only score on 13.3% of their chances against the Battalion. And in the four games head-to-head during the regular season North Bay outscored Kingston 19-10. If Kingston gets into penalty trouble, this series could be over quickly.

Prediction: North Bay in 6 games.

WESTERN CONFERENCE

(1) Windsor vs (7) Kitchener

 WindsorKitchener
Head-to-head4-3-0-14-4-0-0
PP Regular Season26.1%18.3%
PP Playoffs7.4%22.7%
PP vs opponent21.9%16.0%
PK Regular Season82.6%77.4%
PK Playoffs76.0%80.0%
PK vs opponent84.0%78.1%
GF Regular season305236
GF Playoffs1823
GA Regular season248271
GA Playoffs1123
PIM /game regular season10.3/game11.0/game
PIM /game playoffs14.3/game9.3/game

The regular season series between the Kitchener Rangers and Windsor Spitfires was pretty even. The Spits were better team on the powerplay and the penalty kill against each other and the rest of the league. The Spits scored 69 more goals than the Rangers – that’s a goal per game more and also allowed 23 fewer goals against than the Rangers.

But in the playoffs, it was the Rangers who came out on top in the special team’s department while also playing a tougher opponent in the London Knights than Windsor had against the Sarnia Sting. The Spits have some star power for sure but of Rangers goalie Pavel Cajan can play as he did versus the Knights it will be a tight series. Mathias Onuska was no slouch for Windsor in the blue paint either.

Prediction: Windsor in 6 games.  

(3) Flint vs (4) Sault Ste Marie

 FlintSault Ste Marie
Head-to-head2-1-0-23-1-1-0
PP Regular Season19.7%28.4%
PP Playoffs9.7%35.3%
PP vs opponent34.6%17.6%
PK Regular Season84.3%78.7%
PK Playoffs87.5%90.9%
PK vs opponent82.4%65.4%
GF Regular season286295
GF Playoffs2221
GA Regular season238246
GA Playoffs                              2011
PIM /game regular season10.4/game11.5/game
PIM /game playoffs10.9/game15.4/game

The Flint Firebirds and Soo Greyhounds were also very close in the regular season. Only 4 points separated them in the standings. Their offence and defence were also close. The Greyhounds win out in the powerplay department while the Firebirds topped them on the penalty kill. However, head-to-head the Firebirds dominated.

Flint couldn’t get the man advantage to work for them in their first round series against the Owen Sound Attack while the Greyhounds exploded against the Guelph Storm. Unless the Greyhounds can limit the number of penalties, they take the powerplay could be the difference in this series. It could also come down to home ice advantage. For me, this is a flip a coin series.

Prediction: Sault Ste Marie in 7

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