This is it folks. The grand finale. Erie and Mississauga play for the OHL Championship, starting tonight. After going 0-2 in my Conference finals predictions, can I correctly pick the OHL Champion? Will the Western Conference prove to be the dominant force that everyone says they are? Or will the Steelheads capture only the East's 2nd J Ross Robertson Cup in the last 11 years?
1. Erie Otters vs. 2. Mississauga Steelheads
Season Series: 4-0, Erie
Analysis: The Otters look to continue their dominance of the Steelheads this year after taking the season series in convincing fashion, (including two mid February victories). We've got a battle of two very high powered offenses. People will be quick to write off Mississauga, but this is an offense firing on all cylinders right now after sweeping the Peterborough Petes (one of the best defensive teams in the entire OHL) in convincing fashion. Both the Steelheads and the Otters are averaging over 4 goals per game in these playoffs. If you like goals, we should have quite an exhilarating OHL final. While I wouldn't go as far to say that Troy Timpano and Matthew Mancina have been stealing games for their teams this playoffs, they have both been steady and dependable (for the most part). Defensively, I think these teams match up well too. Both rely heavily on veteran defenders and their two-way forwards (Cirelli, McLeod, Pettit, Bastian, etc) to shut down teams. Up front, Erie does have an edge IMO, but again, you can't sleep on the effectiveness of Mississauga's three line attack in these playoffs. Michael and Ryan McLeod, especially, have been fantastic in this postseason. Ultimately though, I think Erie's veterans will be the difference maker. This is a team that has been playing together as a group (largely) for the better part of 3 years. Their composure was noticeable late in the series against a younger Attack team. In particular, Anthony Cirelli continues to prove to be one of the more clutch playoff performers in recent years. Side note, one of the amazing subplots of this match-up is the battle between childhood friends Dylan Strome and the McLeod brothers. I'm taking Dylan to finally get his OHL Championship.
Prediction: Erie in 5