March 21, 2017

Playoff scenarios: Who would Ottawa rather face?

In their final game of the regular season, the Ottawa 67’s had a chance to lock down sixth place in the Eastern Conference. But it wasn’t until the final when this all came crashing down. With a 1-0 lead going into the third period, the 67’s allowed three straight Hamilton Bulldogs goals to lose 3-1 on Sunday afternoon.

The fate of their playoff opponent is no longer in their hands. They will have to wait the result of the final OHL game of the regular season tonight when the Sudbury Wolves face the Mississauga Steelheads.

If the Steelheads win, the 67’s will face the Oshawa Generals to open the first round. If the Sudbury Wolves win, the 67’s will face the Mississauga Steelheads. The Wolves need a full two-points to leapfrog the 67’s in the standings. NOTE: if Wolves only earn one point, the 67’s still win the tie-breaker due to the goal differential (they would be tied in points/wins/head-to-head record with the 67’s).

The more desireable result for the 67’s would be a Mississauga Steelheads win meaning that the 67’s would face the Oshawa Generals for the 13th time in OHL post-season history. While Oshawa holds a 25-point lead on Ottawa in the standings, their head-to-head record gives them some `more hope.

Scenario 1 – Oshawa Generals (3) vs. Ottawa 67’s (6)

To say this season has been rough for Ottawa is an understatement, but for whatever reason whenever they play Oshawa, they look like a team that could win the Eastern Conference. They hold a 5-2-0-1 record over the Gens and have outscored them 27-21.

Both teams can score but Oshawa has a little more depth and scoring balance amongst the roster like Domenic Commisso, Medric Mercier, Jack Studnicka and Allan McShane. Commisso and Studnicka have been surprisingly quiet against Ottawa. When you look at Ottawa’s scoring, the bulk of it comes from Artur Tyanulin and the top line. Luckily for Ottawa, Tyanulin has been unstoppable against Oshawa scoring four goals and 13 points in just 8 games this season. Linemate Austen Keating has been just as good offensively scoring 12 points in 8 games.

When it comes to defense, both teams are young, but Ottawa is as young as it gets with only two defenceman over the age of 17. The defence from both the forwards and defencemen has been Ottawa’s biggest struggle this season and could falter through the playoffs due to a lack of experience. A lot will be on the shoulders of Ryan Orban and OA acquisition Chris Martenet.

Ottawa has also seen inconsistent goaltending with both netminders struggling at different and sometimes the same time. Meanwhile, Oshawa has overager Jeremy Brodeur who has more experience under his belt - including dressing as a back-up for the 2015 Memorial Cup champs - and has really excelled over the last 2 seasons making him a bonafide free agent in the NHL.

Fun fact: Ottawa holds 9-4 series record over Oshawa inluding a 5-1 record in the first round.

Game 1- Fri, Mar 24 at Oshawa, 7:35 p.m.
Game 2- Sun, Mar 26 at Oshawa, 6:05pm
Game 3- Tues, Mar 28 at Ottawa, 7:00pm
Game 4- Thurs, Mar 30 at Ottawa, 7:00pm.
Game 5- Fri, Mar 31 at Oshawa, 7:35pm*
Game 6- Sun, Apr 2 at Ottawa, 2:00pm*
Game 7- Tues, Apr 4 at Oshawa, 7:05pm*

Prediction: Oshawa in 6. If it goes to 7, Ottawa will take it.

Scenario 2 - Mississauga Steelheads (2) vs. Ottawa 67’s (7)

The 67’s don’t have a great record against the Mississauga Steelheads but they split the season series 2-2-0-0 with both Ottawa wins coming in extra frames. Don’t let the season results paint the picture. Mississauga struggled early on and were fighting for a playoff spot up until around the World Juniors break. The Steelheads didn’t turn things around until that break and have been pretty unstoppable since earning themselves the second seed in the Eastern Conference.

The Steelheads are a team packed with talent from their forwards to their defencive corps. Goaltending has not been the strongest, but the team in front should help keep this out of trouble. From dynamic forwards like Owen Tippett and Spencer Watson to solid defencemen like Jacob Moverare and Nicolas Hague … the Steelheads are full of depth and can come at you at all angles. Tippett, among other forwards, can be a game changer and is ranked 4th in the league for game winning goals.

Top performer against the Steelheads is, surprisingly, Jared Steege with 5 points in 4 games and Drake Rymsha who was traded at the deadline. For Mississauga Michael McLeod and Owen Tippett combined for six goals and 16 points among those 4 games.

Fun fact: Ottawa has never faced the Mississauga Steelheads in the playoffs. Ottawa has faced the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors once and the Mississauga IceDogs once.

Game 1- Fri, Mar 24 at Mississauga, 7:00pm
Game 2- Sun, Mar 26 at Mississauga, 2:00pm
Game 3- Tues, Mar 28 at Ottawa, 7:00pm
Game 4- Thurs, Mar 30 at Ottawa, 7:00pm
Game 5- Fri, Mar 31 at Mississauga, 7:00pm*
Game 6- Sun, Apr 2 at Ottawa, 2:00pm*
Game 7- Tues, Apr 4 at Mississauga, 7:00pm*

Prediction: Mississauga in 5.

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