2012 OHL Eastern Conference Playoff Preview: Round One
Photo courtesy of Mississauga.com
By Todd Cordell (@ToddCordell)
With the regular season finally coming to an end, the Ontario Hockey League playoffs are set to begin this Thursday; which means it’s prediction time. In this piece I will predict the winner of each Eastern Conference playoff series and follow up with a couple of reasons as to why I made the choice I did.
1. Niagara Ice Dogs vs. 8. Oshawa Generals
Prediction: Ice Dogs in five.
Though the Generals have a few really good offensive players, I don’t think they’ll do much against Niagara. The Ice Dogs have a few very good defenseman in Dougie Hamilton, Jamie Oleksiak and Jesse Graham who will not only shut down the Generals best offensive players (for the most part), but will make an impact in the game offensively as well. Factor in the Ice Dogs have one of the best goaltenders in the OHL in Mark Visentin and I just can’t see them losing this series. In fact, I think it will end pretty quick. The Ice Dogs are just too talented and deep to lose to Oshawa.
2. Ottawa 67’s vs. 7. Belleville Bulls
Prediction: 67’s in six.
The Bulls have some really good forwards such as Brendan Gaunce and Danill Zharkov, among others, and one of the best goaltenders in the league in Malcolm Subban, but I don’t seem them winning this series. They’re not deep enough to beat Ottawa in a series, in my opinion, and they certainly don’t have the offensive fire power to match up against them in a seven game series. I think Belleville will put up a good fight, but Ottawa will prevail.
3. Barrie Colts vs. 6. Mississauga St. Michaels Majors
Prediction: Colts in six.
Though the loss of Tanner Pearson for the playoffs certainly hurts the Colts, I still think they’ll win this series. Pearson is a big loss, no doubt, but the Colts still have the better forward core, better defense core (in my opinion) and better goaltending. Essentially the Colts are better and deeper at every position. With that said, these two division rivals, regardless of the difference in quality of the roster, always play each other tough, hence the six game prediction.
4. Brampton Battalion vs. 5. Sudbury Wolves
Prediction: Battalion in seven.
Though I was tempted to pick the somewhat underdog Sudbury Wolves in this series, I am going to go with the Battalion in this one. The playoffs are all about match-ups, and the Battalion have one of, if not the best and deepest defense cores in the entire league, and home ice. The Wolves have some good forwards in Michael Sgarbossa and Josh Leivo, among others, but regardless of what defense pairing they’re up against, there’s no match-up that’s heavily in their favor. For that reason, I’ll go with the Battalion. If Sudbury had home ice, it could be a different story – but they don’t.
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