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AOHL Playoff Previews: Otters vs. Spirit

Erie-Saginaw-round1

Erie’s Dylan Strome and Saginaw’s Mitchell Stephen. (OHL Images)

Season Series

In one of the most surprising season series results, Saginaw and Erie actually played each other to a tie, two games a piece. The Spirit actually out scored the Otters a combined 13-11 in those games, largely thanks to a 6-3 win in their first match up. While this series may seem like a write-off while looking at each team’s record, Saginaw has been legitimate kryptonite to the Otters.

Players To Watch

Erie – G Devin Williams
One of the major reasons Erie has done as well as it has this past season was the play of Devin Williams, who hails from Saginaw. However last year, Williams struggled in the playoffs, as his 2.97 GAA in the season jumped up to a 3.31 GAA in the playoffs. Erie may have a stacked team, but they can only go as far as their goaltender.

Saginaw – C Mitchell Stephens
Simply put, Saginaw is going to have to do something special to compete with Erie. Stephens is the player most likely to make that happen. Despite injuries and time spent at the WJC, Stephens managed to score just a shade under a point per game. Stephens’ unenviable task in round one? Shutting down Dylan Strome.

By The Numbers

Erie (52-15-1-0) – 1st in West Conf., 1st in Midwest Div.
Saginaw (32-25-8-3) – 8th in West Conf., 4th in West Div.

Goals For: Erie 269, Saginaw 209
Goals Against: Erie 192, Saginaw 282

Head to Head: Tied 2-2
H-to-H Goals: 13-11 for Saginaw

Goalies

Erie: Devin Williams (41-10-1-0) 2.36 GAA, 0.915 Sv%, 2 SO
Saginaw: Evan Cormier (21-27-4-3) 3.72 GAA, 0.890 Sv%, 1 SO

Who has the edge – Erie

Erie was a dominant team from start to finish this past season, and it is unlikely that the 56 point Spirit will be the team to stop the momentum. However, if Erie gets caught looking ahead to round two too early, Saginaw could be a trap team for the Otters, as they’ve had success against this team before.

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