2015/16 OHL Western Conference Playoff Preview

The 2015/16 OHL Western Conference playoffs are just around the corner. The Erie Otters who lead the entire league with 105 points will meet the 8th place Saginaw Spirit, the 2nd place Sarnia Sting play the 7th place Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds, the 3rd ranked London Knights take on the 6th place Owen Sound Attack, and the 4th place Kitchener Rangers are matched up against the 5th place Windsor Spitfires.

Erie Otters (1) vs Saginaw Spirit (8)

League Rankings

  Points Goals For Goals Against Goal Differential Past 10

(W-L-OTL-SL)

Power Play Penalty Killing
Erie 105

(1st)

269

(3rd)

183

(1st)

+86

(3rd)

6-4-0-0 25.3%

(2nd)

82.6%

(5th)

Saginaw

 

56

(16th)

209

(13th)

282

(16th)

-73

(15th)

2-6-2-0 16.2%

(16th)

81.1%

(9th)

 

Head to Head

Oct 24         Saginaw 6 at Erie 3

Nov 21         Erie 3 at Saginaw 2

Feb 19         Erie 1 at Saginaw 3

Feb 27         Saginaw 2 at Erie 3 

Erie Saginaw
Wins 2 2
Losses 2 2
Overtime Losses 0 0
Shootout Losses 0 0
Goals For 11 (2.75) 14 (3.50)
Goals Against 14 (3.50) 11 (2.75)
Goal Differential -3 (-0.75) +3 (+0.75)
Penalty Minutes 40 (10/gp) 31 (7.8/gp)
Power Play 2/10 (20%) 0/13 (0 %)
Penalty Killing 13/13 (100%) 8/10 (80%)
Shots For 157 (7%) 98 (14.3%)
Shots Against 98 (85.7%) 157 (93%)
Shot Differential +59 (+14.8/gp) -59 (-14.8/gp)

 

Quick Hits

The Otters recorded 49 more points, scored 60 more goals and allowed 99 fewer goals than their first round opponent the Saginaw Spirit. However, in the season series the Spirit were very competitive against Erie splitting the four games and even outscoring the Otters overall 14 to 11. That being said, Erie outshot Saginaw by an average of almost 15 shots per game and are clearly the more talented team. The Spirit will need to elevate their power play while limiting Erie’s power play chances and hope that goaltender Evan Cormier can continue his stellar play against Erie. In four games against the Spirit Dylan Strome, Alex Debrincat, Taylor Raddysh, and Travis Dermott registered no goals. It’s hard to see that trend continuing again. The Otters are the league’s best team heading into the post-season and I expect them to make quick work of Saginaw.

 Prediction: Erie Otters in five games

 

Sarnia Sting (2) vs Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (7)

League Rankings

  Points Goals For Goals Against Goal Differential Past 10

(W-L-OTL-SL)

Power Play Penalty Killing
Sarnia 91

(5th)

254

(5th)

192

(4th)

+62

(5th)

8-2-0-0 19.3%

(11th)

84.4%

(1st)

Sault Ste. Marie 74

(12th)

243

(8th)

233

(13th)

+10

(10th)

5-5-0-0 19.4%

(9th)

79.0%

(15th)

 

Head to Head

Oct 16         Sault Ste. Marie 2 at Sarnia 5

Oct 23         Sarnia 7 at Sault Ste. Marie 2

Jan 10         Sarnia 5 at Sault Ste. Marie 1

Feb 10         Sarnia 2 at Sault Ste. Marie 1

        Feb 21        Sault Ste. Marie 3 at Sarnia 4 (OT)

Mar 3         Sault Ste. Marie 5 at Sarnia 2  

 

Sarnia Sault Ste. Marie
Wins 5 1
Losses 1 5
Overtime Losses 0 1
Shootout Losses 0 0
Goals For 25 (4.17) 14 (2.33)
Goals Against 14 (2.33) 25 (4.17)
Goal Differential +11 (+1.84) -11 (-1.84)
Penalty Minutes 59 (9.8) 45 (7.5)
Power Play 1/14 (7.1%) 2/23 (8.7%)
Penalty Killing 21/23 (91.3%) 13/14 (92.9%)
Shots For 203 (12.3%) 153 (10.9%)
Shots Against 153 (89.1%) 203 (87.7%)
Shot Differential +50 (+8.3/gp) -50 (-8.3/gp)

 Quick Hits

If you look at the numbers Sarnia seemed to handle the Greyhounds relatively easily but in the last three match-ups the Sting won a pair of one goal games and Sault Ste. Marie was victorious in their last regular season encounter. The Greyhounds are a younger but highly skilled team that could prove to be a tough opponent for the Sting. As evident by their trade deadline acquisitions of Graham, Studnicka and Konecny the Sting believe they can make a strong run for the league title. However, with their energy, balanced scoring and an experienced Brandon Halverson in goal the Sault will prove to be a difficult match-up for Sarnia.

 Prediction: Sarnia Sting in six games

 

London Knights (3) vs Owen Sound Attack (6)

League Rankings

  Points Goals For Goals Against Goal Differential Past 10

(W-L-OTL-SL)

Power Play Penalty Killing
London 105

(2nd)

319

(1st)

182

(3rd)

+137

(1st)

9-1-0-0 29.2%

(1st)

82.3%

(6th)

Owen Sound 75

(11th)

209

(13th)

222

(10th)

-13

(11th)

5-4-1-0 19.4%

(10th)

82.0%

(7th)

 

Head to Head

Oct 10         London 1 at Owen Sound 2

Oct 23         Owen Sound 1 at London 5

Nov 27         Owen Sound 1 at London 6

Nov 28         London 4 at Owen Sound 1

          Dec 19         London 3 at Owen Sound 4 (OT)

 Feb 5           Owen Sound 0 at London 5   

 

London Owen Sound
Wins 4 2
Losses 2 4
Overtime Losses 1 0
Shootout Losses 0 0
Goals For 24 (4.00) 9 (1.50)
Goals Against 9 (1.50) 24 (4.00)
Goal Differential +15 (+3.75) -15 (-3.75)
Penalty Minutes 81 (13.5/gp) 61 (10.2/gp)
Power Play 6/25 (24%) 2/29 (7%)
Penalty Killing 27/29 (93%) 19/25 (76%)
Shots For 207 (8.6%) 181 (5%)
Shots Against 181 (95%) 207 (91.4%)
Shot Differential +26 (+4.3/gp)) -26 (-4.3/gp)

 Quick Notes

Of all the first round match-ups London has the highest positive goal differential (+3.75) against its opponent. The Knights led the league in goals scored, goal differential and had the 3rd best goals against record. I think that’s what you call an elite and balanced team. Offensively they have three lines that can score with the troika of Marner, Tkachuk and Dvorak dominating the league on a regular basis. If the Attack are going to have any chance of making this a series they will need to average more than 1.50 goals per game and hope that Micheal McNiven and outplay London’s Tyler Parsons by a wide margin in net. The Attack are a good team who could emerge as a true contender next season but at this time London is just too dominant offensively and on special teams.      

 Prediction: London Knights in five games

 

 

Kitchener Rangers (4) vs Windsor Spitfires (5)

League Rankings

  Points Goals For Goals Against Goal Differential Past 10

(W-L-OTL-SL)

Power Play Penalty Killing
Kitchener 95

(4th)

256

(4th)

197

(5th)

+59

(6th)

4-5-0-1 22.2%

(4th)

80.1%

(11th)

Windsor 87

(7th)

253

(7th)

200

(7th)

+53

(7th)

6-3-0-1 23.6%

(3rd)

79.4%

(13th)

 

Head to Head

          Oct 9       Windsor 3 at Kitchener 2 (OT)

       Dec 13      Kitchener 3 at Windsor 4 (OT)

Jan 29       Windsor 0 at Kitchener 2

Mar 17     Kitchener 4 at Windsor 6

 

Kitchener Windsor
Wins 1 3
Losses 3 1
Overtime Losses 2 0
Shootout Losses 0 0
Goals For 11 (2.75) 13 (3.25)
Goals Against 13 (3.25) 11 (2.75)
Goal Differential -2 (-0.5) +2 (+0.5)
Penalty Minutes 52 (13.0/gp) 44 (11.0/gp)
Power Play 1/11 (9.1%) 2/16 (12.5%)
Penalty Killing 14/16 (87.5%) 10/11 (90.9%)
Shots For 135 (8.2%) 119 (9.2%)
Shots Against 119 (90.8%) 135 (91.8%)
Shot Differential +16 (+4.0/gp) -16 (-4.0/gp)

 Quick Notes

This is probably the must see series of any first round match up. Based on the club’s head to head contests one would expect a tight checking competitive series between two highly skilled teams. The regular season games have all been close and that should carry over into the post season. The Rangers are a veteran team who need their experienced players like Bracco, MacInnis and Franzen to further elevate their game. The Spitfires have three youngsters in Logan Brown, Gabriel Vilardi and goalkeeper Micheal Dipietro who could be the wildcards in this series. Each player will be expected to play a dominant role in their team’s fortunes. Is it expecting too much or can they come up big against a Rangers team that was built to contend this year? I think youth will serve the Spitfires well in this series.

 Prediction: Windsor in six games

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