Series Preview: (1) Cambridge Hawks vs. (8) Chatham-Kent Cyclones

The final series to get underway this season is the top ranked Cambridge Hawks taking on a Chatham-Kent team that battled hard at the end of the season to secure the eighth seed. The Hawks rolled through the Alliance regular season, falling just twice through 33 games Cambridge had a roster full of talent from offense to goaltending. Chatham got points in six of their final eight games to propel them into the postseason after a tough battle with Kitchener and Lambton.

Season Series:

Cambridge defeated Chatham-Kent 6-3 on September 30th

Cambridge defeated Chatham-Kent 4-0 on November 5th

Cambridge defeated Chatham-Kent 6-3 on December 1st (All-Star Showcase)

Leading Scorers:

Cambridge                                                 Chatham-Kent

Joseph Serpa 14-26-40                              Craig Spence 7-20-27

Ben McFarlane 21-16-37                            Darby Lemieux 15-10-25

Tyler Healey 14-13-27                                 Adrian Stubberfield 13-12-25

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Alliance Series Preview: (3) Sun County Panthers vs. (6) Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs

The series between the Sun County Panthers and the Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs may be the best series of the opening round. Both teams can lay claim to being the hottest team in the Alliance over the final month of the season. Sun County went on a great run to end the year, going 8-1-4 from the December showcase to the end of the year. The Chiefs were on the outside looking in before going on a run that saw them go undefeated in their final 11 games of the season. When looking ahead to this matchup, it is a classic offense versus defense battle.

Season Series:

Sun County defeated Elgin-Middlesex 8-5 on September 17th

Sun County defeated Elgin-Middlesex 4-3 on November 19th

Sun County defeated Elgin-Middlesex 4-0 on December 10th

Leading Scorers:

Sun County                                                    Elgin-Middlesex

Matt Maggio 20-24-44                                     Rylan Bowers 14-30-44

Zane Dalpe 16-22-38                                       Michael McKnight 16-24-40

Ryan Gagnier 19-11-30                                    Tyler Mosher 9-15-24

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Alliance Series Preview: (4) Brantford 99ers vs. (5) Waterloo Wolves

Our next series looks at probably the closest one in the opening round. The Waterloo Wolves will look to reach their sixth consecutive Alliance championship, but their road will be much tougher than previous years. Brantford returns to the playdowns for the first time since their semi-final run with the 1998 born players. This years team has showcased speed and skill along with showcasing some players for the future.

Season Series:

Brantford defeated Waterloo 1-0 on October 2nd

Waterloo defeated Brantford 3-1 on January 9th

Waterloo defeated Brantford 4-0 on January 27th

Leading Scorers:

Brantford                                                                 Waterloo

Andrew Casasanta 13-25-38                                  Chase Broda 16-19-35

Maddox Callens 15-18-33                                       Nathan Dewar 15-18-33

Theo Hill 13-19-32                                                   Zac McCann 14-14-28
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Alliance Series Preview: (2) London Jr. Knights vs. (7) Huron-Perth Lakers

The first series preview comes to us with perennial contenders London taking on a Huron-Perth team that began the year as a top team but found themselves struggling near the end of the season. We will look at a few aspects of the teams and see where how they match up before they get their series underway on Wednesday evening at Western Fair.

Season Series:

London defeated Huron-Perth 10-2 on October 2nd

London defeated Huron-Perth 3-1 on December 2nd (All-Star Showcase Weekend)

London defeated Huron-Perth 5-0 on January 20th

Leading Scorers:

London                                                         Huron-Perth Lakers

George Diaco 23-29-52                                 Carter Schoonderwoerd 18-12-30

Brendan Mairs 20-24-44                              Sheldon Pryce 14-11-25

Quinton Pepper 14-21-35                             Blake Wideman 12-5-17

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Series Preview: (1) London Jr. Knights vs. (2) Waterloo Wolves

For the third consecutive year, Waterloo and London will meet with the Alliance championship up for grabs. With Waterloo having won both of those meetings, and the past three Alliance titles, the Jr. Knights will look to conquer the reigning champion with arguably the best team currently in the province and possibly the best team to wear the Jr. Knights jerseys.

London has cruised their way to the championship series. London powered their way past Sun County in the opening round and then had very little trouble sweeping away an incredibly talented Cambridge team in the second round. London has been led by some familiar faces through their seven postseason games with top OHL Draft prospect Ryan Suzuki leading the way with 18 points while talented winger Aidan Prueter has eight goals and 16 points.

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Series Preview: (1) London Jr. Knights vs. (4) Cambridge Hawks

The London Jr. Knights cruised into the semi-finals by further cementing their offensive prowess against the leagues best goaltender. Cambridge also swept their way into the final four in a physical affair that featured a home away from home game. The obvious question heading into this 8 point series is whether the Hawks defense and stellar goaltending can last a full 50 minutes against London’s powerhouse forwards.

London, who still own top spot in the OHL Cup rankings, made a definite statement in their first round series with the Sun County Panthers, outscoring them 17-3 through the three game series. The Jr. Knights were lead by a few familiar faces as Ryan Suzuki (4G, 5A), Aidan Preuter (2G, 6A) and Brett Budgell (2G, 5A) led the way offensively. The offense was spread out though with London having the top five scorers during the postseason thus far.

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Series Preview: (2) Waterloo Wolves vs. (7) Hamilton Huskies

A rematch of last year’s first round series, the Waterloo Wolves quest for yet another Alliance championship will need to go through a Hamilton team that has been playing tight, defensive hockey over the past month.

The Waterloo Wolves are on an incredibly impressive run heading into the postseason. The Wolves have won 16 straight games which includes a huge win over the London Jr. Knights just a couple weeks ago. While Waterloo has not dominated throughout their win streak, they have found a way to pull out games when they needed to and get timely scoring along the way.
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Series Preview: (1) London Jr. Knights vs. (8) Sun County Panthers

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.
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Series Preview: (3) Kitchener Jr. Rangers vs. (6) Windsor Jr. Spitfires

Last season, the Windsor Jr. Spitfires took on the Kitchener Jr. Rangers in a preliminary round series at Major Bantam. Windsor was a six seed, Kitchener was last at 11. Kitchener pulled off the upset in three games. These two teams meet again this year, but this time Kitchener is the top seed and Windsor is looking for the upset.

These two teams are not strangers to each other. Both squads met up four times this year with a quarter-final date at the Dale Parker tournament joining their three league games. Kitchener took the season series 3-1, winning the final three meetings which included that quarter-final game.
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Series Preview: (4) Cambridge Hawks vs. (5) Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs

In sports history, the playoff battle between the fourth and fifth seeds has always been a tight one. When it comes to the Alliance this season, I full expect that trend to continue.

The Cambridge Hawks and Elgin-Middlesex Chiefs are two fairly similar clubs. They have forwards who can light up the scoresheet on occasion, a defense that is led by an offensively minded player and solid goaltending on the back end. The Chiefs and Hawks played three games this season, but two of those were within the first month of the season. In those two games, each team came away with a victory. In their latest meeting, the Hawks sprung out to a quick lead but Elgin battled back and the two ended with a tie in a very physical contest.
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