1. Mississauga vs. 8. Belleville
Season series: 3-1 for Mississauga
A huge mismatch on paper pits the highest scoring team in the league against the lowest. Belleville actually managed 10 goals in four games against the Majors this season, but shouldn’t be able to hang with the Majors when the games pick up in intensity.
Prediction: Mississauga in 4
2. Ottawa vs. 7. Sudbury
Season series: 2-0 for Ottawa
Both teams have been playing strong hockey down the stretch to carry some momentum into the playoffs. Sudbury’s chances rest on their ability to keep the puck out of their own net as they won’t be able to outscore and Ottawa team that is paced by 57-goal scorer Tyler Toffoli.
Prediction: Ottawa in 5
3. Niagara vs. 6 Brampton
Season series: 4-2 for Niagara
The Division rivals will meet for the first time ever in the playoffs. Niagara will throw three scoring lines against the defensive-minded Battalion. The young Brampton defence will have a hard time staying with the Icedogs over an entire series and the scoring may not be there to help them out.
Prediction: Niagara in 5
4. Oshawa vs. 5. Kingston
Season series: 4-2 for Oshawa
Oshawa returns to the playoffs after two seasons on the outside looking in Post-Taveras. Kingston is looking for their first playoff series win since 1997-98 when they defeated the Generals. Kingston remains without starting goalie and Memorial Cup Champion Philipp Grubauer, who has been sidelined since early February.
Prediction: Oshawa in 6
1. Owen Sound vs. 8. London
Season series: 3-3
These two teams come in to the playoffs heading in opposite directions. The Attack have won eight of their last nine games, while London has dropped seven of the last ten. The season series was more closely contested then their point disparity would suggest, although the Attack won by three goals twice in March.
Prediction: Owen Sound in 5
2. Saginaw vs. 7 Guelph
Season series: 2-2
These teams meet in the first round for the second time in three years. The Spirit swept that series for their only playoff series win in franchise history. They will look to make more history this year, but have struggled down the stretch and may have trouble with the Storm’s top-heavy offence.
Prediction: Saginaw in 7
3. Kitchener vs. 6. Plymouth
Season series: 3-1 for Kitchener
Kitchener will be looking to bounce back from a big collapse in the Western Conference Finals a year ago. The 2008 OHL Champions blew a 3-0 series lead to Windsor last season. Plymouth will also be glad to see someone other than Windsor, who they were eliminated by in each of the last to years. The Whalers defensive game will likely cause this series to go deep.
Prediction: Kitchener in 7
4. Windsor vs. 5. Erie
Season series: 2-2
This is perhaps the most anticipated series of the first round between two free-wheeling teams who finished second and third in goals for. They didn’t disappoint during the season series with a total of 31 goals scored in four games. The Otters have won eight straight games and surrendered 20 less goals than the two-time defending OHL Champions, which may give them the edge over Windsor’s experience.
Prediction: Erie in 7