Tuesday, May 5, 2015

2015 Playoff Predictions: OHL Championship

We've reached the end. The 2015 season is winding down and only two teams remain. The Oshawa Generals will battle the Erie Otters in a hard fought, offensively dynamic OHL Championship. The series starts on Friday and it's bound to be a good one.

Throughout these playoffs, I'm 12-2 in my predictions. Only one more to go.

Here's my breakdown of the OHL Championship.

1. Oshawa Generals vs. 2. Erie Otters
Season Series: 2-0 (Oshawa)
Analysis: The Generals dominated the season series (outscoring the Otters 9-2), but those results can be thrown out the window. Both victories occurred in December when Connor McDavid was absent from the lineup. And both victories occurred before the Otters added Remi Elie and Jake Marchment (and before Nic Baptiste found his stride in Erie). Enough said. To properly assess this series, I think it's important to break things down at a positional level.
In goal, Ken Appleby has been fantastic and consistent for Oshawa, which has been the case this entire season. His composure in the crease creates a confidence and stability defensively. Oshawa's defenders know that they can take some chances offensively with Appleby back there. Devin Williams has largely been very solid too. The stats don't show it, but he's been a huge reason for their playoff victories. That said, he hasn't been as consistent as Appleby and thus Oshawa gets the nod here.
Defensively, with the way that both of these teams have been playing, I think it's a wash. Guys like Josh Brown, Kurtis MacDermid, and Troy Donnay add size and physicality. While the likes of Vande Sompel, Desrocher, Dermott, and Raddysh add offensive punch and push the pace of play. The way both units handled tough opponents last round was very impressive.
Offensively, I give a slight edge to Erie. Both teams have great size and skill. There's no doubt about that. But with the way Connor McDavid is playing right now, how can you not give the Otters the advantage offensively? He is an unstoppable force right now. He just went head to head with one of the best defensive prospects on the planet (Darnell Nurse) and made him look pretty average.
So what's the verdict? At this point in time, I just can't go against McDavid and the Otters. I think the teams line up fairly evenly, which tips the scales in his favour.
Prediction: Erie in 6

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