The second round of the OHL playoffs was an interesting contrast. The Eastern Conference matches went 4 games straight (Peterborough) and 5 games (Mississauga). The Western Conference matches were more hotly contested with Erie winning in 7 games (game 7 victory in overtime) and Owen Sound winning in 6 games.
Erie Otters vs Owen Sound
After dropping the first two games at Sault Ste Marie by identical 4-1 scores, the Owen Sound Attack put things back together with four straight wins to capture the series on home ice (final two games were one goal victories). Overage player, Cordell James was a work horse in the faceoff circle throughout the series posting a 64/109 result. Owen Sound relied on a few key forwards: 1) Suzuki (3G 2A) 2) Petrus Palmo (4G 1A). Goalie standout Michael McNiven sports a 1.92 GAA, .931 save percentage and a league leading two shutouts in the playoffs.
Erie’s goalie Troy Timpano has allowed 27 goals in his 11 appearances (some partial games) – which is 6 more goals allowed in 74 less minutes played compared to Owen Sound’s M.McNiven. The usual cast of characters have led the team offensively throughout the playoffs: Alex DeBrincat (22 pts), Taylor Raddish (18 pts), Dylan Strome (17 pts) and defenceman Darren Raddysh with 7 goals and 7 assists. One of the question marks entering the game is who will the Otters rely on for goaltender duties? Joseph Murdaca came on in relief in their final game and stopped 17 of 18 shots to ‘steady the ship’. Erie came out ahead vs Owen Sound during the regular season with a record of 4-2.
Prediction: Erie in 6 games
Peterborough Petes vs. Mississauga Steelheads
The Peterborough Petes made quick work of the Kingston Frontenacs winning in four straight games, duplicating their first round record. They outscored the Fronts by an average of 2.75 goals per game. Leading the way offensively for the Petes this round were: Lorentz (4G 2A), trade deadline acquisition Paquette (3G 1A), and speedster Jonathon Ang (2G 3A). Dylan Wells has played very well and is in second place in goaltender stats (narrowly) to the aforementioned McNiven. His goals against average is 1.94, and has a strong save percentage of 0.944. The Steelheads only beat the Petes once in four tries during the regular season.
The Steelheads’ Spencer Watson came to life last series against the Oshawa Generals with six goals and two assists in their five game series. Michael McLeod scored six goals in the first round and interestingly enough didn’t score any goals in the second round but contributed six assists to his team’s success. Owen Tippett also chipped in three goals vs Oshawa. Matthew Mancina was the goalie of choice for the Steelheads in the most recent round. He sported a 2.82 GAA and a save percentage of 0.893. This will be a very meaningful series for him as he played in 82 games over the last two seasons for Peterborough.
Prediction: Mississauga in 6 games