London and Kitchener were one of the best rivalries to start the season, with the two teams splitting the first four games in their season series. In fact, in three of their first four matchups, the score was decided by a single goal. As injuries began to hit Kitchener, that changed though, with London winning their fifth matchup 4-1, and secured an 8-2 victory in the final matchup of the season. All the games managed to be high scoring, with both teams combining to score five or more goals every time they played; so looking ahead to the upcoming playoff series, the goalies will need to be on top of their games.
Players To Watch
London – Aaron Berisha/Cliff Pu/JJ Piccinich
Admittedly, it’s cheating to include three different players, but this line is a key to success for the Knights. Obviously London’s top line of Tkachuk/Dvorak/Marner is going to light the lamp, but in the games they lost against the Attack, it was because the Attack were able to lock in on that top line. When they received secondary scoring, the Knights were unstoppable, and London will need that against the deep forward corps of the Kitchener Rangers.
Kitchener – Brandon Robinson
Due to Kitchener’s depth at forward, Robinson saw his production drop by 19 points from last season. Luckily for Windsor, he rediscovered his scoring touch just in time, scoring six times in the Rangers’ five game series against the Windsor Spitfires. With Robinson’s brand of physical play and goal scoring, he could have a similar impact against the Knights. London was the highest scoring teams in the OHL this past season, meaning Kitchener will need all hands on deck to nab the series.
By The Numbers
London (51-14-2-1) – 3rd in West Conf., 2nd in Midwest Div.
Kitchener (44-17-5-2) – 4th in West Conf., 3rd in Midwest Div.
Goals For: London 319, Kitchener 256
Goals Against: London 182, Kitchener 197
Head to Head: 4-2 for London
H-to-H Goals: 25-17 for London
London: Tyler Parsons (37-9-2-1) 2.33 GAA, 0.921 Sv%, 4 SO
Kitchener: Dawson Carty (15-2-1-0) 2.36 GAA, 0.916 Sv%, 1 SO
Who has the edge – London
Saying London has the edge in this series doesn’t mean much, because that edge is minuscule. London has a hot goalie, and boast one of the top lines in hockey. However, Kitchener can make the similar claims. So determining the edge comes down to how much value you put into two things; the season series, and their first round success. While Kitchener had the better first round, London had Kitchener’s number over the back half of the season, which to me, gives the Knights the ever so slight edge against the Rangers.