The London Jr. Knights are currently the number one team in the province according to the OHL Cup rankings and have been nearly untouchable for the Alliance season. Sun County recently clinched a playoff spot and a some recent tough games led them to falling into the 8th seed.
London only lost two season games all year and dominated the majority of the teams. The one team they did not totally dominate was the Sun County Panthers. In three league games this year, London went 2-0-1 but their largest victory was just two goals. Only Waterloo and Kitchener played the Jr. Knights tougher than the Panthers did this season.
London has an offensive attack that is three lines deep, defense that is sound and nearly error free and goaltending that can make the big saves on a dime. In their three season games, six London players had muliple points with Liam Van Loon leading the way with three goals and top Alliance prospect Ryan Suzuki adding three assists. London’s key to success will be eliminating any early pressure from the Panthers. Sun County is a good defensive squad and an early lead could give them the opportunity to shut things down and play defensive for the win.
Sun County has lots on their plate if they want to pull off what could only be considered a massive upset. The Panthers will be lead by Aidan Pitre in net, who is the top goalie in the Alliance and someone I expect to see the majority, if not all of the action in this series. Sun County will go into this series with top scorer Stephane Crevier nursing an injury. Crevier is not expected to play during the first two games of the series, but Sun County is hopeful that Crevier can return for Game 3.
The Panthers will look to the likes of Marcus Joughin and Adam Collins, who have seen success against London this year, to lead the offense. Zane Dalpe is another forward who started to pick things up at the end of the regular season. Sun County will try to shut down all the offensive weapons of the Jr. Knights. During their three season games, Sun County held Aidan Preuter to just a single point in three games. The defense will need to do that once again and also shut down the other stars to have a shot at winning this series.
There is no doubt that London is the best team in the league and it would be a massive upset should the Panthers pull off the victory in this series. I see London taking this series, but I do think that Sun County will take a game. Pitre is on a level of his own and could very well stand on his head to steal a game. Should Sun County have a chance, they will need to play very disciplined hockey and capitalize on all their chances.
London Jr. Knights over Sun County Panthers in 4 Games
Players To Watch:
London Jr. Knights – Aidan Preuter
Sun County Panthers – Aidan Pitre