Elgin-Middlesex over Windsor 6-3 (Nov. 21)
Elgin-Middlesex over Windsor 4-3 (Dec. 19)
Windsor over Elgin-Middlesex 5-0 (Dec. 20)
Out of all the series that will be taking place in the first round of playdowns, the closest one in my opinion will be between Windsor and Elgin-Middlesex.
In their three meetings this season, both teams had chances to take the victory and change the final results. Their first meeting in November saw the two teams tied after two periods before the Chiefs exploded for three in the final 20 minutes to take the win. Move on to December and the teams were once again tied late, with the Chiefs grabbing a 3rd period goal with just a couple of minutes remaining to take yet another victory. Their finally meeting is the anomaly of the three with Windsor and James Walker completely shutting down the Chiefs offense and grabbing a 5-0 shutout.
The Chiefs, since probably early October, have consistently been one of the top teams in the Alliance. They have solid goaltending that is helped out by safe defensive play and a balanced offense that can grab goals any any time from any line. The big line consists of Aidan Reid, Wes Dobbin and Alliance scoring champion Jake Murray. Considering they were shut out in the final matchup, the three combined for 16 points in the first two games. Should they continue to produce at that level, the Chiefs should experience plenty of success.
For Windsor, their season was a story of two different teams. For the first half of the year, Windsor was slowly searching for their identity as a team. I think that the turning point for the Jr. Spitfires was their trip to Whitby for the Silver Stick tournament. The team won two of their four games and were by far the best Alliance team in the tournament. For the following two months, Windsor played significantly better and saw their place in the standings rise up to the 6th spot where they finished. The strength for Windsor is definitely on the defensive end. Led by top Alliance player Owen Lalonde and joined by the likes of Gianluca Pizzuto and Walker in net, Windsor has been able to hold their opponents to three goals or less in their final 10 games of the regular season. The last team to score more than three on Windsor, Elgin-Middlesex on December 19.
The key to this matchup will be how Windsor handles the top line of the Chiefs. As stated earlier, the Reid/Dobbin/Murray line has been dominant this year and allowing them to break free would be bad news for Windsor. Jr. Spitfires will look to a number of forwards to try and explode offensively. Evan Ferguson, Matthew Teno and Kory Silverio are the keys up front for Windsor going forward.
When it comes to the outcome of this series, this is the only series I see going five games. Six would be rare, so five it will be and I’ll take the upset with Windsor’s defense overcoming the potent Elgin-Middlesex offense. Take it in while you can because this may be the best series of the first round.
Alliance Scout Player to Watch:
Elgin-Middlesex – Aidan Reid
Windsor Jr. Spitfires – Matthew Teno
Check out the preview for London/Chatham Kent here.
Check out the preview for Waterloo/Hamilton here.
Check out the preview for Kitchener/Huron-Perth here.