It is finally the time of year that we’ve all been working towards, play-offs!
First, I just wanted to let everyone know that this is the only play-off coverage that I’m doing this year. I will write a preview for each round, but that’s it. I’m not going to write a preview for each game in each series.
Before I get to the first round previews, let’s see how I did on my overall predictions for the season.
Kitchener – I said they’d be in the top 3
Stratford – I said top 4
Listowel – I said bottom half, so I was really wrong on the Cyclones
Guelph – I said a top team
Elmira – I thought they’d be a top team
Waterloo – I said middle of the pack
Brampton – I said 7-9
Brantford – I said they’d make the play-offs and would be 8th
Cambridge – I was wrong with Cambridge, I thought they’d be middle of the pack
Now to the first round!
Kitchener Dutchmen (1) vs. Brantford 99er’s (8)
The Dutchmen have dominated the Midwest all season. They were on top of the standings pretty much from the get-go. They have finished the regular season with a 44-4-1-1 record and 90 points. They have the best record in the entire GOJHL, finishing 1 point ahead of Caledonia of the Golden Horseshoe. The 4 regulation losses were to Stratford twice, Cambridge, and Listowel, the overtime loss and tie were to Guelph.
Their goalies this season are Luke Richardson and Cossimo Lazzarino. They’ve split the season evenly. These are their stats:
Leading the Dutchmen on the scoreboard was Adam Kawalec with 36 goals and 61 assists for 97 points. Captain Connor Cole finished with 33 goals and 52 assists for 85 points.
This is the first year in their 3 year history that the 99er’s have made the post-season. They made it in by 6 points over Cambridge.
Brantford started off this season and surprised everyone with how well they were doing. Throughout the season, they won some games, but dropped off and have finished in 8th place. They’re record is 13-32-3-2 and 31 points.
Will Rawski has been the consistent goalie for the 99er’s this season. The current backup is Tristan Lewis. Here are their stats:
Kyle Walker is leading the 99er’s with 54 points, he has 22 goals and 32 assists.
10/04/15 Brantford 0 at Kitchener 7
11/26/15 Kitchener 7 at Brantford 1
01/07/16 Kitchener 7 at Brantford 3
01/17/16 Brantford 1 at Kitchener 2
02/18/16 Kitchener 5 at Brantford 1
02/21/16 Brantford 5 at Kitchener 6
This is their schedule
|Wed. Mar. 2||Brantford||Kitchener||2-4||Kitchener Aud|
|Thurs. Mar. 3||Kitchener||Brantford||6-4||Gretzky Centre|
|Sun. Mar. 6||Brantford||Kitchener||4-3||Kitchener Aud|
|Tues. Mar. 8||Kitchener||Brantford||7-1||Gretzky Centre|
|Wed. Mar. 9||Brantford||Kitchener||1-4||Kitchener Aud|
Kitchener wins the series 4-1
Prediction: I truly hate to predict series sweeps, but I just don’t see Brantford winning a game. Kitchener in 4.
Stratford Cullitons (2) vs. Brampton Bombers (7)
Stratford has been at the top with Kitchener all year. They tried their best to catch up to Kitchener, but the closest they got was 10 points back. The Cullitons ended the season with a 33-10-4-3 record and 73 points.
To end the season, Stratford has Alex Brooks-Pots and Carson Poulin between the pipes. They started the season with Nick Redman, but he left in November for Jr. C and that’s when they picked up Brooks-Potts from the OJHL.
Stratford has pretty consistent scoring throughout their lineup. Hayden Broomhead leads his team with 34 goals and 44 assists for 78 points.
Brampton has improved this season. Last season they only had 8 wins and barely made the play-offs. This year, they have a 14-31-2-3 record and 33 points.
Brampton made a lot of moves at the deadline. They sent Carmine Vietri to Kitchener, Lucas Goodman and Anthony Pullicino to Waterloo. They also picked up Drew Stirling from Cambridge.
The Bombers have used Jason Rhynold in net all season. At the deadline, they picked up Eric Pitcher from the OJHL. Here are the goalie stats.
The Bombers mostly have scoring from Yianni Liarakos, 17 goals and 31 assists for 48 points, and Mitch Shennette with 16 goals and 24 assists for 40 points.
10/02/15 Brampton 4 at Stratford 8
10/04/15 Stratford 2 at Brampton 3
11/13/15 Brampton 3 at Stratford 5
12/20/15 Stratford 5 at Brampton 4
02/15/16 Brampton 4 at Stratford 8
02/21/16 Stratford 6 at Brampton 1
This is their play-off schedule
|Fri. Mar. 4||Brampton||Stratford||0-12||Allman Arena|
|Sun. Mar. 6||Stratford||Brampton||9-1||Victoria Park|
|Mon. Mar. 7||Brampton||Stratford||0-7||Allman Arena|
|Wed. Mar. 9||Stratford||Brampton||9-1||Victoria Park|
Stratford wins the series 4-0
Prediction: I’m going to give the Bombers 1 game, but Stratford will take it in 5.
Listowel Cyclones (3) vs. Waterloo Siskins (7)
Listowel has had a great season. Last year they started out strong and dropped off to finish in 7th place. This year, they’ve consistently been a top 4 team. They were in 4th the majority of the season and in the last month, they caught up and passed Guelph. They have finished the season with a record of 33-17 for 66 points.
At the trade deadline, Listowel picked up defenceman Scott Pedersen from Kitchener and they released their backup goalie and signed Lukas Samson.
The Cyclones have consistently used 2 year veteran Tyler Fassl in net with Samson as the backup. These are their stats:
Jamie Huber has led the Cyclones all season. He has 33 goals and 47 assists for 80 points, and just 36 penalty minutes.
I think Waterloo is the biggest surprise in the Midwest. They started the season with just 4 players returned and spent the majority of the season in the basement. At the end of December, the Siskins had record of 8-22-0-1. When play resumed after the Christmas break, they went on a tear, going 7-3 in the month of January to climb to 6th place. They’ve finished the season with a record of 20-27-0-3 and 43 points.
At the deadline, the Siskins picked up forwards Lucas Goodman and Anthony Pullicino from Brampton, Connor Jean from the NAHL and Nolan Klumak from the OJHL.
Siskins have gone with goalies Bailey DeGasperis and Mitchell Datz in net. Datz has seen more playing time than DeGasperis. Here are their stats:
Rookie Nate Schnarr has led the young Siskins this season. He has 26 goals and 28 assists for 54 points.
09/25/15 Waterloo 1 at Listowel 6
10/17/15 Listowel 6 at Waterloo 1
10/23/15 Waterloo 2 at Listowel 3
11/01/15 Listowel 0 at Waterloo 2
12/20/15 Listowel 8 at Waterloo 2
01/22/16 Waterloo 4 at Listowel 5
This is their play-off schedule
|Fri. Mar. 4||Waterloo||Listowel||2-1||Listowel Memorial|
|Sun. Mar. 6||Listowel||Waterloo||2-5||Waterloo Memorial|
|Tues. Mar. 8||Waterloo||Listowel||4-3 OT||Listowel Memorial|
|Wed. Mar. 9||Listowel||Waterloo||1-3||Waterloo Memorial|
Waterloo wins the series 4-0
Prediction: As I said, I feel that the Siskins are the surprise of the season, and they’ve been playing some really good hockey lately. I don’t think they’ll get past Listowel, but they’ll give them a good fight. I’m going with Listowel in 6 games.
Guelph Hurricanes (4) vs. Elmira Sugar Kings (5)
Guelph spent most of the season in 3rd. In January, Listowel caught up to them and they spent the last 6 weeks jockeying positions. The Cyclones won out for 3rd place by 2 points. Guelph ended the season 26-14-3-7 and with 62 points.
The Hurricanes made quite a few trades at the deadline to try and bolster their lineup. They made a trade with Elmira for David Elford and sent the Sugar Kings Kevin Fitzpatrick. They also sent Captain Ryan Migliaccio to Kitchener. Earlier in the season, they added Chris Poletek from Cambridge, Kevin Gergely from Elmira and re-acquired Jake Wyse from Cambridge.
The Hurricanes have used Jason DaSilva and Christian Propp in net this season. Propp is a draft pick of the Barrie Colts. They’ve gone with DaSilva more this season.
Guelph has pretty consistent scoring from their roster. Cameron Stokes leads with 25 goals and 29 assists with 54 points. He has an 11 point lead over Brody Milne who has 17 goals and 26 assists for 43 points.
Elmira started the season and had lost a lot of players from last year and everyone expected they would struggle. They made a coaching change and it seemed to be the spark they needed as they started to climb in the standings. They finished with a record of 24-19-2-5 and 55 points.
At the trade deadline, they were the 2nd most active team. They sent defencemen Mitch Montgomery and Harlen VanWynsberghe to Cambridge for defencemen Beau Goehrum and Kalob Witzell. Then they traded forwarded David Elford to Guelph for defenceman Kevin Fitzpatrick. The biggest boost that they probably received was the return of goalie Jonathan Reinhart from Alberta. As a result, they sent Liam Conway to Caledonia.
The goalies for the Sugar Kings are Liam Devine and Jonathan Reinhart. Here are their stats:
Ethan Skinner and Zac Coulter are leading the Sugar Kings on the score board. Skinner has 24 goals and 60 assists for 84 points. Coulter has 41 goals on the season and 38 assists for 79 points.
09/20/15 Guelph 4 at Elmira 3
10/03/15 Elmira 3 at Guelph 6
10/25/15 Guelph 5 at Elmira 2
12/17/15 Elmira 3 at Guelph 2
01/03/16 Guelph 1 at Elmira 2 OT
01/30/16 Elmira 6 at Guelph 5 OT
This is their play-off schedule
|Sat. Mar. 5||Elmira||Guelph||1-2 OT||Sleeman Centre|
|Sun. Mar. 6||Guelph||Elmira||2-6||Dan Snyder Arena|
|Tues. Mar. 8||Elmira||Guelph||2-1||Sleeman Centre|
|Wed. Mar. 9||Guelph||Elmira||1-2||Dan Snyder Arena|
|Sat. Mar. 12||Elmira||Guelph||4-1||Sleeman Centre|
Elmira wins the series 4-1
Prediction: I’m not sure what to think about this series. They spit the season series with Guelph taking 2 games in Elmira and the Sugar Kings taking 2 games in Guelph. My gut is telling me Elmira and I’m going to go with a full 7 games.
Cambridge Winter Hawks (9)
So Cambridge is the odd team out in the Midwest this season. I didn’t expect them to be the one to miss the post-season. On the Family Day weekend, I had seen on Twitter that this is the first time they’ve missed the play-offs since the 1992-93 season. They ended the season with a record of 10-35-1-4 and 25 points.
The Winter Hawks have struggled all season long. After starting the season with a 2-6 record, they made a coaching change firing Steve Hodson and hiring Dan Fitzgerald. It seemed to work for a while, going 5-3 in their next 8 games, but then they started to slip again. As Waterloo started to take off in the New Year, Cambridge slipped into 9th place and just couldn’t seem to dig themselves out of it.
The goalies for the Winter Hawks this season were Owen savory and Scott Patton. This is their season stats:
Sean Ross is on top of Cambridge’s stats, but he started the season with Lambton Shores in the West. He has 21 points for the Winter Hawks this year. Kyle Heitzner led the Hawks with 12 goals and 19 assists for 31 points.
So that’s my preview for the Midwest. We’ll see how I did when I return for the second round preview.