OHL Finals Preview and Prediction

The stage is set as the Ontario Hockey League’s top two teams during the regular season face off for the J. Ross Robertson Cup and the winner advancing to the Memorial Cup in Saint John New Brunswick from June 20 through June 29.

The finals begin Friday June 3 as the Windsor Spitfires face off against the Hamilton Bulldogs in the steel city at 7:00 pm. Game two will be a matinee addition on Sunday at 2:00 pm, also in Hamilton.

Before we break down how the two teams stack up, here’s a look at how the two teams got to this point along with my predictions:

CONFERENCE QUARTER FINALS

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 wins 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

CONFERENCE SEMI FINALS                                                                                                                                        

EASTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Hamilton vs (4) MississaugaHamilton in 5Hamilton wins 4-0
(2) North Bay vs (3) KingstonNorth Bay in 6North Bay wins 4-1
WESTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Windsor vs (7) KitchenerWindsor in 6Windsor wins 4-1
(3) Flint vs (4) Sault Ste MarieSault Ste Marie in 7Flint wins 4-1

CONFERENCE FINALS

EASTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Hamilton vs (2) North BayHamilton in 5Hamilton wins 4-0
WESTERN CONFERENCEPREDICTIONOUTCOME
(1) Windsor vs (3) FlintWindsor in 7Windsor wins 4-3

There were no head-to-head matches between the Bulldogs and Spitfires as all games were played within their own conference because of the concerns of the COVID-19 Pandemic. But let’s take a look at how their regular season matched up:

 HAMILTONWINDSOR
Record51-12-544-17-7
Home Record24-4-325-7-2
Road Record24-8-219-10-5
Goals For300305
Goals Against176248
Power Play27.6%26.1%
Power Play (Home)25.0%28.1%
Power Play (Away)31.3%24.5%
Penalty Kill80.9%82.6%
Penalty Kill (Home)79.1%%78.2%
Penalty Kill (Away)83.1%86.8%
Leading After First34-2-423-5-0
Leading After Second43-2-232-0-2
Trailing After First3-6-07-7-2
Trailing After Second3-9-26-14-3
Outshooting Opponents36-5-234-12-4
Out Shot By Opponents15-7-310-4-3

The Bulldogs are the favorites and I don’t think the Spitfires mind being the underdog. Statistically speaking, the two teams match up pretty well except in one category: Goals against. The Bulldogs allowed a whopping 72 fewer goals then the Spits in the 68-game regular season.

But how do they matchup in the playoffs? Let’s take a look:

 HAMILTONWINDSOR
Games Played1218
Record12-012-6
Home Record6-06-4
Road Record6-06-2
Goals For6068
Goals Against2147
Power Play37.9%13.9%
Power Play (Home)37.9%16.3%
Power Play (Away)37.9%10.3%
Penalty Kill87.0%80.3%
Penalty Kill (Home)84.7%93.9%
Penalty Kill (Away)88.0%68.4%
Leading After First8-07-2
Leading After Second10-010-0
Trailing After First1-04-1
Trailing After Second0-01-5

There is a little more separation between the playoff stats and the regular season stats and of course, one must take into consideration their opponents. Some may not agree, but I believe the Bulldogs had the tougher route to the finals. Admittedly, I tried to find a loss for the Bulldogs in the first three rounds and even said that in prior articles, but it just never happened.

But I can’t count out the Spitfires who are well coached and Marc Savard has gotten more out of his younger players then anyone could have imagined.

Coming into the season, the Bulldogs were my choice to win it all. And here we are. Can the Spitfires be the team that finally puts one in the loss column for Hamilton?

Prediction: Hamilton in 6 games

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