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AOHL Playoff Previews: Otters vs. Knights

Photos by Matt Mead and Terry Wilson.

Photos by Matt Mead and Terry Wilson.

Season Series

These two teams have been neck and neck all year long, whether it was in the standings or head-to-head. London initially struggled with the Otters, dropping the first two games by a combined 9-3, and generally struggling to contain Erie’s talented lineup. London turned it around with two wins of their own, this time by a combined 10-2. The teams finally would meet again with two late season match ups, with first place in the league on the line. London would take the first one at home, winning 4-3, but couldn’t notch the final victory, dropping the decision 4-2 in Erie.

Players To Watch

Erie – Alex DeBrincat
While he’s been capably playing the role of playmaker, DeBrincat is a goal scorer. Managing 51 goals this year, he has typically been Dylan Strome’s trigger man. One thing that won’t help him is the fact that Erie’s next opponent is the Knights, a team that held DeBrincat to two goals in their six regular season match ups. Facing the league’s top offence, the Otters are going to need all the goals they can get, and will have to hope DeBrincat can help provide them.

London – Tyler Parsons
London took a calculated risk at the trade deadline by not acquiring an experienced goaltender, instead putting their faith in Parsons. While he made some highlight reel saves against Kitchener, his save percentage was only over .900 once in the series. Against a dangerous Erie team, Parsons will need keep making those big saves, but he’ll also need to find some consistency.

By The Numbers

Erie (52-15-1-0) – 1st in West Conf., 1st in Midwest Div.
London (51-14-2-1) – 3rd in West Conf., 2nd in West Div.

Goals For: Erie 269, London 319
Goals Against: Erie 192, London 182

Head to Head: 3-3
H-to-H Goals: 19-17 for London

Goalies

Erie: Devin Williams (41-10-1-0) 2.36 GAA, 0.915 Sv%, 2 SO
London: Tyler Parsons (37-9-2-1) 2.33 GAA 0.921 Sv%, 4 SO

Who has the edge – London

I have zero confidence in giving anybody the edge in this series, but if I have to pick one, it’s London. They had better regular season stats, and dealt with a strong Kitchener team quite decisively. It isn’t like Erie really struggled either, and a lot of their players were in this same spot last season. This really could go either way, and fans should look forward to what could be one of the best Western Conference Finals in recent history.

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