Ontario Hockey League Playoff Preview Barrie (#3) vs. Mississauga (#6)

 

How they got here:

The Colts acquired 7 more regular season wins than the Majors this season and finished 12 points ahead of them in the standings. Last week the Colts had a record of 8-2 in their past 10 games – but took their foot off the gas when their playoff spot was secured and ended up losing their final 2 games of the regular season (4-3 OT to Mississauga Friday night and 5-2 vs. the Battalion on Saturday).  Admittedly some of their top players were not dressed (resting up for the playoffs). The Colts’ top scorer - Tanner Pearson - was injured last weekend with a broken fibula and will not be able to compete for the remainder of the playoffs.  Behenna is suspended but will return in game #3.

Mississauga was involved in a very tight playoff race near the bottom of the Eastern Conference for the past few weeks. They managed to come out the best of the Generals/Bulls with 7 wins in their past 10 games – and 5 of their last 6 games.  Do they have enough left in the tank?

 

Head to Head (points referred to in brackets were acquired in regular season games vs. each other)

 In the season series Mississauga was able to get 2 regulation victories and 2 overtime victories from the Colts. Barrie won twice. Each of the six games was decided by one goal. The Majors won the first 2 contests (Oct 6 and Nov 11) then Barrie won the next 2 (Dec 15 and Feb 3). The season series was completed on Feb 25 and March 16 with victories by the Majors again.  The Colts powerplay was 18% effective whereas the Majors clipped along with a 13% success rate.  JP Anderson was in net for the Majors early games.  The Three games that Brandon Maxwell faced them he had a .950 save percentage.  For the Colts - Neiderberger had a .930  save percentage in three games and Alex Fotinos was saddled with a loss when he stopped 23 of 27 shots.  Brandon Maxwell has been in the headlines as CHL goalie of the week twice in the past month – but Matias Niederberger has been very solid of late – he had 12 wins and 4 losses in the past 2 months during Barrie’s playoff push.

 

Players to watch:

For the Colts Behenna(3), Telegin(15 points in 7 games this month) and Scheifele(63 pts in 47 games this season) should acquire the lion’s share of the scoring. Zack Hall could chip a few in as well (4).

For the Majors the key offensive players are Riley Brace (7), Jamie Wise (4 goals) and Stuart Percy (5) on defence. Expect some contributions from Partanen (22 goals this season) as well as DeMelo (40 assists this season).

 

X factor

The Colts’ Daniel Erlich has played 35 games in the OHL playoffs (42 pts) for the London Knights as well as the Guelph Storm. He may not be a scoring machine this season but could be a welcome stabilizer in the dressing room. Will Rookie underage Defenceman Aaron Ekblad wear out?

 

My prediction:

Mississauga will win 2 of the first 3 games. Overall some very low scoring games in Mississauga and some more lopsided scores at Barrie.  Barrie will take the series in 6 games.