With the second round of the OHL Playoffs set to begin tonight, myself and the Hot-Stove have gathered to make our picks for the most likely team to pull of an upset in the round.
The Colts are pretty banged up right now, but I still think they'll advance to the Eastern Conference finals. With the 67's being a much more offensively minded team, Mark Scheifele, Ivan Telegin and company will have a lot more time and space to work with when trying to create offense. I don't think the 67's defensive core is good enough to matchup against the Colts top guns, and I think Barrie will take advantage of that. With Ottawa having the best top line in hockey, I can by no means rule them out of the series, but I think Barrie will come out on top when it's all said and done.
There are a couple possible upsets in round two with Saginaw and London or Kitchener and Plymouth. But I'll go with the Barrie Colts over the Ottawa 67's. Barrie won the regular season series 3-1, however, one win was in overtime and the other in a shootout, so this series will be long and very close.
Containing Ottawa's offense will be key for Barrie and I think Barrie has the ability to at least slow them down and be able to produce just enough offense. I'd be a little more comfortable in picking Barrie if Tanner Pearson were in the line up, but even without him I think Barrie has the ability to upset Ottawa.
Prediction: Barrie in 7 games
I believe the Kitchener Rangers are most likely to pull off the upset in the second round. Sure the Rangers have struggled with secondary scoring, but the stellar play of John Gibson will keep the Rangers in this series. He stopped well over 50 shots against the Owen Sound attack in game 5, and has shown that he can stand on his head when need be.
For 2 main reasons. The first being the fact that I feel Brampton has an advantage over Niagara in coaching. If I were to pick a coach to lead the way for an upset Stan Butler would be my guy, especially with how disciplined his teams are within their system. The second reason is that I feel Niagara is a different team on the road and if Brampton can take games 1 or 3 at the Jack then the Ice Dogs could be in some trouble.
If I was to choose one team that is ready to pull off a second round upset, it would be the Kitchener Rangers to knock off the favored Plymouth Whalers. Playoffs are all about momentum, and the Rangers are coming off of a better first round, having eliminated the defending OHL Champions, the Owen Sound Attack, in five games. Plymouth, meanwhile, seemed sluggish at times, losing the first two games against the Guelph Storm. Should the Whalers start slow against Kitchener, they may dig a hole they cannot escape twice.
#3 Barrie definitely has a chance here against the #2 Ottawa 67’s. It won’t be labelled as much of an upset as the two teams were only 3 points apart in the final league standings. The Colts have just come off a tedious series vs. the low scoring / defensive minded Mississauga St. Mike’s Majors so they know how to battle it out in low-scoring contests (which tends to happen more in the playoffs).
The challenge with the Ottawa squad is that they are able to score in bunches – they did have some problems with the offensively challenged Bulls mostly due to the solid goaltending from Malcolm Subban. In the series at hand I would give the goaltending advantage to the Colts but the offensive advantage is definitely in the 67’s hands. In Ottawa’s 6 playoff games this year, Tyler Toffoli has 9 points (2 powerplay goals) and Shane Prince has 4 goals and 3 assists. In the regular season on Feb 24 the Colts beat the 67’s 5-4 in a shootout – on Jan 28. the Colts edged the visiting 67’s 2-1 (two third period goals). Should be a fantastic series!
Even though I am the Ottawa writer I'd have to say Barrie. I still think Ottawa will win, but Barrie's the most likely to pull off an upset (although really, a 2-vs-3 series isn't much of an upset) than any other teams, based on season series anyways. Even with McFarland and Pearson out of their respective lineups, this will be a high-scoring, last goal wins type of series, and it can easily go either way.