The OHL Conference Finals are set to get underway on Wednesday, with the Brampton Battalion facing the Belleville Bulls in the East, and the Windsor Spitfires facing the London Knights in the West. I know that largely, these were the Conference finals everyone wanted to see. The division winners duking it out. Interestingly enough, this is actually the first time since the OHL aligned into divisions, that the four division winners will meet in the Conference finals. A bit of history happening if you will.
Here is a review of my second round predictions. (they can be found here)
Eastern Conference: 2/2
Western Conference: 1/2
3/4 in total. Got one wrong again. The series I picked incorrectly was the Windsor/Plymouth one. I really thought Plymouth had what it took to take it to Windsor. I felt like the roll they were on would continue. And to their credit, they gave Windsor all they could handle in that 6 game series. However, I gotta give credit to Windsor too. They fought and clawed their way into the Conference finals, especially bouncing back from a bit of an embarassing first game loss.
So overall for the playoffs, I am 10/12. I suppose not to shabby.
Here are my predictions for the Conference finals...
1. Belleville Bulls vs. 2. Brampton Battalion
Season Series: Tied 2-2
My Analysis: Both teams are coming off of tough series against opponents who really played hard. In essence, it was a great tune-up to ensure that both of these teams are ready for this Conference final. Both Mike Murphy and Thomas McCollum have played pretty well this playoffs, with both having a couple iffy games. I think the result of this series really comes down to depth. Both teams have the ability to play two solid scoring lines, however, I like Belleville's bottom six a little bit better and I like the energy they always bring to the ice. If this series goes seven, I like Belleville's forechecking and board play to tire out the Brampton defense.
Prediction: Belleville in 7
1. Windsor Spitfires vs. 2. London Knights
Season Series: Spitfires 5-1
My Analysis: Ok, so Windsor largely dominated the regular season match up against London. So why on earth am I picking London? A couple of reasons. One, goaltending. Both of Windsor's goaltenders are currently sporting a save percentage under .900 for the playoffs. That's just not going to cut it against London. London can roll three lines on you that can put the puck in the net. London is going to get their scoring opportunities, and I'm not sure Windsor's goaltending can rise to the challenge. On the other side, Trevor Cann is playing some of his best hockey right now and looks poised and ready to handle this series. Two, John Tavares. Johnny T has been kind of quiet so far these playoffs. He's been good, but he hasn't been great. This is definitely going to be his last kick at the can for an OHL title and I don't think he's going to go down lightly. I look for him to take over this series offensively similar to the way he did in the last regular season game against Windsor where he scored 3 of the four London goals.
Prediction: London in 6
Do I finally have a perfect round in me?