Mid-West First Round Playoffs – by C. Scott Holland
The Mid-West Conference has had some good regular season battles within it during regular season, but the Kitchener Dutchmen’s overall strength carried them to the GOHL’s best overall record. Quietly they have went through their schedule while many eyes were focused on the GHS’ Caledonia Corvairs. In the end the Mid-West may have some unforeseen strength too. Only the playoffs will show exactly how strong some of these teams really are.
Kitchener vs Brantford
The Brantford 99ers will need more than a horseshoe or a four-leaf clover in order to do any damage to the Dutchmen. The Dutchmen outscored them 34-11 in six regular season contests. The Dutchmen have high scorers Adam Kawalec and Connor Cole plus two excellent goalies in Luke Richardson and Cossimo Lazzarino. The 99ers are probably just happy to get into the playoffs and have four extra games. Kitchener will sweep them aside in four and although the scores won’t be humiliating there will be enough firepower to tell Brantford to get their golf clubs out. Kitchener in four.
Stratford vs Brampton
In regular season action Brampton has put up some goals against the Cullitons but only managed to win one game. Three of the contests were close and the others won easily by Stratford. Stratford will rely heavily upon Hayden Broomhead, Tyson Baker, Jared Nash and defenseman Joe Leahy to supply scoring. Only chance Brampton has of taking a game could come due to Stratford’s penalty troubles. Look for Stratford to prevail in five.
Listowel vs Waterloo
Listowel should demolish Waterloo in four game. Cyclones’ goalie Tyler Fassi appeared in 456 regular season games and had an outstanding 2.86 gaa along with 30 wins. That doesn’t mean that Listowel isn’t vulnerable though. Jamie Huber and Brady Anderson will have to continue to contribute to the offensive output. Waterloo cold win a contest if Nate Schnarr and Gary Mantz can collect points while Nick Hirst and Andrew Lane provide strong defensive and offensive work. Waterloo’s biggest Achilles heel could be their goaltending – a 3.83 team gaa just isn’t good enough in playoffs to capture many victories. Listowel in five.
Guelph vs Elmira
These two squads fought down the stretch for the fourth spot with the Guelph Hurricanes coming out on top. The regular season series between them was close and featuring two OT games, both of which Elmira won. Four games were decided by a single goal. Guelph will need some improved netminding to get past Elmira. The Sugar Kings may be a tad stronger with Ethan Skinner and Zac Coulter providing the offensive thrust, but the Sugar Kings’ netminding is not much different that Guelph’s. Penalties and powerpays could determine the winner of this match-up. Look for Elmira to win in six games.
That’s a preliminary first-round look at the Mid-West. Best of luck to all the teams involved and may the bet team win!
. Scott Holland is an accomplished author, a former Western Jr. B Hockey League statistician and is recognized as the West Conference’s and GOJHL’s historian. A lifelong resident of Leamington Scott was a journalist for the now defunct Leamington Post for 26 years and currently writes for the Southpoint Sun. Among the books he has authored are: 75 Years: A History of the Leamington and Erie Shores Golf Course; A Century In The Making – History of Heinz Canada 1909-2009; Leamington Flyers 1992/93-2011/12 Platinum Anniversary Special Program; the Western Jr. B Record Book 2003/04 and 2005/05 editions; as well as updates of both the West Conference and GOJHL Record Books. He was been a member of he Leamington Jr. Flyers hockey club for the last 27 years and served many years as a board member, statistician, press box announcer, and scorekeeper among other duties. He has been named the West Conference Volunteer of Year and a Windsor-Essex Sportsperson of Year award. He resides in Leamington.