By Fred Wallace
OHL Western Conference Championship Series Opens
Hi, this is Fred Wallace with " Off the Wire ".
So, it's the Erie Otters who will oppose the Owen Sound Attack in the Ontario Hockey League Western Conference Final starting with Games 1 & 2 in Erie tonight & tomorrow.
This is the first ever Owen Sound-Erie playoff series, albeit the franchises met 4 times in the 90's when Owen Sound was the Platers and the Otters were the Niagara Falls Thunder.
For the record, the 4 series more than 20 years ago were split 2-2.
This matchup also is viewed as a 50/50 proposition on many levels.
The Otters were the best team in the Ontario Hockey League pointswise over the season with 103 points. The Attack were the best team from December 9th on and finished with just 1 point less than Erie.
Are there areas where the Attack have the advantage in this series ?
The short term appearance in goal favors the Attack with Michael McNiven while Erie starter Troy Timpano has been pulled early in his last two starts on home ice.
In terms of team speed, Owen Sound just finished off the fleet Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds and I can't imagine Erie being quicker than the Soo.
And in terms of team defence, Owen Sound held Blake Speers and Zach Senyshyn to just 1 goal combined in the last series. If they hold Erie's top scorers to that level over the series, that too would favor Owen Sound.
Game 1 of the OHL West Final tonight in Erie.
I'm Fred Wallace