OHL Playoff Preview: London vs. Owen Sound

31 Mar 2023 | Sports | 170 |
OHL Playoff Preview: London vs. Owen Sound

For the eighth time in their histories, the London Knights and the Owen Sound are going head-to-head in a best-of-7 series.

The Knights won the first two series when Owen Sound was known as the Platers. The second sent London to the Ontario Hockey League Championship series in 1999.

Overall the Knights have won five of the first seven matchups and no series between the teams has ever gone longer than six games.

Twice the teams have made use of a tough go against the other to vault them on their way to a title.

In 2011, London pushed the Attack to six games. Owen Sound lost just one more time on their way to their first-ever OHL final. The Attack won a dramatic seven game series in overtime of Game 7 to capture their first and only OHL championship.

In 2016 Owen Sound returned the favour and gave the Knights a tough test in round one. London raised their game to defeat the Attack in six games and then won 17 straight on their way to winning the Memorial Cup.

Here is how the teams match up in 2023:

The Knights have the 2021-22 OHL goaltender of the year in Brett Brochu set to start Game 1. Brochu was just coming off an injury at this time a year ago and this year is completely healthy entering this year’s post-season.

The overage netminder had the fourth-best goals against average and the fifth-best save percentage in the OHL in 2022-23. Brochu is backed up by D.W. Dinty Trophy winner Zach Bowen who put together the second-best rookie winning streak for a goalie in OHL history.

The goalie tandem that the Attack will dress in Game 1 is not necessarily the goalie tandem that will finish the series should it go long. Overager Nick Chenard and second-year goaltender Corbin Votary will be the initial pairing but 16-year old Carter George would be eligible to joined Owen Sound should the St. Marys Lincolns be eliminated from the GOJHL playoffs.

George was 7-3 in 10 appearances in the OHL this year and is widely considered the best goalie on the Attack.

London’s comes by committee. The Knights had six 20-goal scorers this year but became the first team to win their division without a 30-goal scorer since the Plymouth Whalers in 2005-06. Still, London makes it hard to know where the danger is coming from and can have different players step up on different nights.

Ryan Winterton could be the best X-factor for the Knights. He did not play a game until Jan. 6 after rehabbing from off-season surgery. Winterton ended the season with nine points in his last five games.

The Attack are led by their 18-year old captain Colby Barlow. Barlow had 46 goals in 59 games and has a shot that can find the back of a net through the tiniest of openings. The second-year forward did not play a game due to injury from March 15 through to the end of the season but is expected to play in Game 1. 19-year old Denis Goure had 31 goals and Servac Petrovsky, Cedric Guindon and Ethan Burroughs all topped 20 goals. Sam Sedley orchestrates things from the back end and don’t sleep on Mathew Papais.

London is deep. They have size and versatility. They have Logan Mailloux’s slap shot that hit 102 mph in the Knights skills competition. Mailloux is joined by New York Islanders prospect Isaiah George, Bruins prospect Jackson Edward, steady Londoner Ethan MacKinnon, 2023 draft prospect Oliver Bonk, 16-year old phenom Sam Dickinson and hard-hitting Alec Leonard. Count up the names. There are seven. Most teams will use six defencemen in a game. That is how deep the Knights go.

Owen Sound ranked fifth in the Western Conference in goals against. Sedley is definitely the most noticeable defenceman but he gets help from second-year defender Taos Jordan and overager Nolan Seed. The Attack also acquired James Petrovski from the Flint Firebirds. Petrovski brings six-foot-three-inch size. Former Ottawa 67 Teddy Sawyer provides a good doze of nastiness.

London’s power play ranked 10th in the OHL and their penalty killing was sixth.

Owen Sound ranked 17th on the power play and 13th on the penalty kill.

The clubs split their season series with three wins apiece. Both the Knights and the Attack collected lopsided wins and not one game was decided by less than two goals.

London Knights vs. Owen Sound Attack
Game 1 – Fri. March 31 at London, 7:00pm
Game 2 – Sun. April 2 at London, 2:00pm
Game 3 – Tues. April 4 at Owen Sound, 7:00pm
Game 4 – Thurs. April 6 at Owen Sound, 7:00pm
Game 5 – Fri. April 7 at London, 7:00pm*
Game 6 – Sun. April 9 at Owen Sound, 7:00pm*
Game 7 – Tues. April 11 at London, 7:00pm*

*if necessary

by 980 CFPL