London over Windsor 5-2 (Nov. 8)
London over Windsor 4-2 (Dec. 13)
London over Windsor 2-1 (Jan. 4)
The top seed in the Alliance this year, the London Jr. Knights, will do battle with the only team to score an upset based on the standings in the Windsor Jr. Spitfires.
In their first round series, London relied on an unstoppable offense to blast their way past Chatham-Kent while Windsor used their tight defense and some surprising offense to get by Elgin-Middlesex in four games. You could consider this series as London’s offensive power against Windsor’s defensive prowess and that is one reason I absolutely love this series.
When you look at the season series, it’s easy to look at the fact that London went 3-0 and think that this series would be no different. In those three games though, Windsor was never actually out of a game and were always just a goal away from changing the game. Their first meeting in November had Windsor battle back from being down 3-0 early to close the gap to 3-2 at the flood. Same results in December with the exact same score at the flood. The one thing you can look at is the fact that Windsor was never out shot by London, which you would expect to happen at least once with the multiple weapons the Jr. Knights have.
While their success won’t be tied directly, London would obviously be a much better team if Eric Guest is healthy and able to play at his best. Guest, along with Joel Mazzilli and Kyle Fisher, were the most successful forwards against Windsor this season. Not only is Guest a threat offensively, he has taken the reigns on the powerplay and has become the guy they cycle the play through while patrolling the point.
Another question to be asked about London is whether time will be split between the pipes or if one netminder will take control. Jukka Schotter got all three starts against Chatham-Kent and was solid throughout. Keaghan Brett, who some believe is 2nd to Nathan Torchia in the Alliance, did not play a single minute of the quarter-finals. I’d be shocked if Brett is healthy and he does not play this series, but I could see a time share that some other teams have not implemented.
Windsor exploded offensively for 17 goals in four games against the Chiefs of Elgin-Middlesex. Considering the amount of goals scored, it wasn’t the usual suspects who were leading the charge for Windsor. Jake Rosa, Cory Allen and Blake McConville. Rosa is tied for the points lead after the first round and McConville netted six goals in their four opening games. James Walker and Eric Pillon were both solid in net and I expect both to continue to alternate unless one begins to dominate.
For Windsor to continue their journey to an Alliance championship, the offense will need to continue to flow with added input from guys such as Kory Silverio and Evan Ferguson. Led by Owen Lalonde on defense, the Jr. Spitfires have always been a stingy D, allowing four goals just once since December 19. They have consistently played a not-so aggressive style of defense, preferring to stay back and make smart choices than get caught pinching. That style of play could do well against this London team.
In the end, I do think London will come out ahead, but this will be no cake walk. I can see Windsor putting up a valiant effort and taking London by surprise early. I would say London wins the 8 pt series in five games and marks yet another trip to the Alliance Championship.
Alliance Scout Player to Watch:
London Jr. Knights: Brett Fisher
Windsor Jr. Spitfires – Kory Silverio