December 7 – 5-4 Windsor
December 9 – 5-4 London
January 5 – 4-2 London
January 31 – 8:15pm – Western Fair
February 2 – 4:00pm – Central Park
February 3 – 5:00pm – Nichols
February 8 – 8:30pm – Central Park*
February 10 – 5:00pm – Western Fair*
February 11 – 7:00pm – Central Park*
(* if necessary)
Brett Harrison 42-21-63
Riley Wood 21-28-49
Tyler Hotson 12-36-48
Ray Hamlin 15-22-37
Cayden Faust 17-18-35
Nicholas Beneteau 18-14-32
In what is probably my favourite series of the opening round, London and Windsor will battle it out and one of the stronger teams in the Alliance will be knocked out in the first round and have a long road ahead of them should they wish to compete in the OHL Cup this season.
London powered through the regular season thanks to an offense that was hard to contain. While at times they seemed to be following an inconsistent path, the Jr. Knights never saw a league losing streak last longer than two games.
Windsor began their season with some very successful stretches that peaked at the Woodstock showcase with big wins over Brantford and Huron-Perth. With a heavy remaining schedule once the calendar turned to 2019, it is possible fatigue played a factor in the average play over the past few weeks.
Key To The Series: Does Offense or Defense take control?
It is cliché and there are a lot of series that could be determined by this statement, but this series is actually a battle of the London high octane offense against the staunch defense and superb goaltending of Windsor.
There is little debate that Brett Harrison is the most talented goal scorer in the league this season as shown by numbers that haven’t been seen since the days of Nick Suzuki and Spencer Watson. Factor in Riley Wood, Jordan D’Intino and the quietly successful Cole Watson and the Jr. Knights have many avenues to look for that key goal.
Staring down the vaunted London offense is the Windsor defense and goaltender Max Donoso, who has far and away claimed the title of top goaltender in the Alliance this season. While time has been split fairly even between Donoso and Ethan Handley, you have to wonder if at any point Donoso starts to gain a bigger split of time.
It’s not just the goaltending for Windsor. They have some big defense on their roster and those without size, like Luca Pasciuta, are incredibly talented. Windsor also has some great two-way forwards led by captain Ray Hamlin.
Players To Watch:
Jordan D’Intino – Largely forgotten due to a substantial amount of time missed due to an injury, D’Intino is still a big offensive threat as he was third in the Alliance in points per game this season. Adding D’Intino to an already loaded forward crop could present some high scoring affairs.
Ray Hamlin – You could make the argument that Hamlin has been the best forward in the Alliance over the past few weeks. Missed some time early in the season but has finally hit his stride and is showing the potential has showcased at Bantam. A physical centre, Hamlin will be a huge reason Windsor can pull off the “upset”.
This has the makings of a fantastic series and one that I see going the full five games (maybe even six if we’re super lucky). As much as I like the skaters on London and although I have lots of faith in Michael Simpson and Josh Kirton, I think Windsor has what it takes to pull away with the series win. Hamlin and Faust are two of my favourites in the loop this year and it’s hard to bet against Max Donoso.
One thing is certain, whoever fails to come out of this series has a big chance at being in that final playoff series with a wildcard spot in the OHL Cup on the line.