With Windsor's remarkable (and perhaps expected) comeback finalized today with a game seven victory over Kitchener, the 2010 Ontario Hockey League Finals are set.
The Windsor Spitfires will travel to Barrie to face the Colts in game one of the finals on Tuesday night.
Most importantly, I went 2 for 2 in my predictions of the Conference finals. This boosts my record in the playoffs to an acceptable (although not tremendous) 8-6.
Needless to say, I'm definitely psyched to see how this year's finals shake down. Here's what I think...
1. Barrie Colts vs. 1. Windsor Spitfires
Season Series: Barrie 2-0
Barrie 4, Windsor 2
Windsor 5, Barrie 8
Forwards: ADVANTAGE = EVEN
Both the Spits and the Colts have incredibly deep forward units. Both can roll three legitimate scoring lines, both can play both ways and both are imposing physical units. At the start of the playoffs, I would have said Barrie had the advantage in the physicality department, but Windsor's forwards have really stepped it up. Guys like Zack Kassian, Kenny Ryan, Justin Shugg, Eric Wellwood, Dale Mitchell, among others have really upped the pain quote and are playing inspired hockey.
Defense: ADVANTAGE = BARRIE
Some may not agree, but if we're comparing a top four of Alex Pietrangelo, Nick Crawford, T.J. Brodie, and Dalton Prout with a top four of Cam Fowler, Ryan Ellis, Mark Cundari, and Marc Cantin/Harry Young, I'm taking the Barrie combo. I think they play a smarter and more composed game. Those four in particular were excellent against St. Mike's where Barrie showed they could play a tough, shutdown type of game too as opposed to offensive throttle style many had them pigeon held for.
Goaltending: ADVANTAGE = BARRIE
I think this one is a slight advantage for Barrie, but only slight. Philip Grubauer has played a lot better in these OHL playoffs than many have given him credit for. He's had a few rough patches but he was a large reason why Windsor was able to come back from 3-0 down against Kitchener. Meanwhile, Mavric Parks has had an outstanding season and has carried that over to a strong performance in these playoffs. I think Grubauer's unpredictability gives the slight nod to Barrie.
The Tipping Point:
I think what really tips this series in favor of Barrie is stamina. Barrie has essentially walked through these playoffs so far. Meanwhile, Windsor just has to put forward every effort in a seven game series. Barrie is rested and hungry and I think they'll translate the success they had in the regular season against Windsor to a victory in the playoffs and a trip to the Memorial Cup.
Prediction: Barrie in 6
Let's hear your prediction!