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Playoff Preview
(1) Kitchener vs. (1) Ottawa


Series Synopsis:

The Ottawa 67's seemed to have been a mystery all season long in the East.  In the earlier part of the season they were dominant, but they endured a terrible month of January before righting the ship and nearly catching the Rangers for first place overall.  The two teams finished 1-2 in the OHL with 100 and 98 points respectively.  The Ottawa 67's were predicted by many to waltz through the OHL playoffs in the Eastern Conference, however they did run into a rather large speedbump in the form of the Toronto Majors.  The Toronto Majors struggled down the stretch and were once blown out by the 67's as the season neared a close.  The Majors who shocked many second round taking four straight from the Battalion after losing the opener 7-0, jumped out to a 2-0 series lead over the 67's and had a chance to close out the series in 6 on home ice, but fell in overtime.  The rest is history as the 67's took game seven 5-2.  The game 7 victory over the Majors was a rather large measure of revenge for the 67's who fell victim to the Majors in a 7th game in the 2002 postseason.

As clearly seen below the 67's rely on the strongest line in the OHL centered by former Ranger: Scott Sheppard, who is flanked by two of the league's three 60 goal scorers.  The scoring during the regular season trailed off violently after the first line during the regular schedule.  During the playoffs the scoring has been a little more balanced, but still relies predominately on their high-flying top unit.

The biggest question for the 67's has been rookie netminder: Lukas Mensator.  Prior to the trading deadline, the 67's had perhaps the top netminding tandem in the OHL, with Mensator and Ceci between the pipes.  Ceci was traded to the Owen Sound Attack and Mensator has been somewhat of a question mark ever since.  Mensator did perform well against the Kitchener Rangers during the 67's late season 5-2 victory over the Rangers.  Lukas, a smallish Czech Republic native has provided the 67's faithful with some playoff excitement with some extra-curicular activities outside of the crease.  On the overall the 67's has had a dominant team playing infront of him, but Mensator has found ways to struggle and has been replaced with 19 year old Chris Hardill on several occasions.  The Rangers seem to have the edge in net with the veteran Scott Dickie and it could make all of the difference in the world as it did against the Plymouth Whalers in the Western Conference finals.  The Rangers after three rounds are 6-1 on the road, while the 67's are a dominant 8-2 on home ice, so obviously some trends have to budge.  The 67's only finished a pair of games above .500 on the road during the regular season, and have gone only 4-4 during the postseason on the road.

The Rangers and 67's meet twice in the OHL finals during the 1980's, the Rangers won the first matchup 9-1 (4-0-1) in 1982 en route to a Memorial Cup victory and the 67's returned the favour in 1984 beating the Rangers 8-2 (3-0-2) on their way to a Memorial Cup championship in Kitchener and over the Rangers.
 

RangersRush Prediction: Rangers win series 4-3
 


Finish: 1st
Regular Season record: 46-14--5-3
Head-to-head record: 1-1-0

Finish: 1st
Regular Season record: 44-14-7-3
Head-to-head record: 1-1-0
Top 5 Regular Season Scorers:
 
Player GP G A P
Michael Richards 67 37 48 85
Derek Roy 49 28 50 78
Peter Kanko 60 33 34 67
Andre Benoit 65 22 45 67
Gregory Campbell 55 23 33 56

Netminding (Top 2 Active goalies)
 
Player GP W-L-T Avg Sv%
Scott Dickie 44 30-7-3 2.59 .914
Carlo DiRienzo 27 12-8-2 2.83 .905

Top 5 Regular Season Scorers:
 
Player GP G A P
Corey Locke 66 63 88 151
Matt Foy 68 61 71 132
Scott Sheppard 67 31 47 78
Brendan Bell 55 14 39 53
Lou Dickenson 62 21 26 47

Netminding (Top 2 Active goalies)
 

Player GP W-L-T Avg Sv%
Lukas Mensator 42 26-8-5 3.06 .900
Chris Hardill 12 6-2-0 2.75 .908
Playoff top scorers
 
Player GP G A P
Derek Roy 16 7 18 25
Michael Richards 16 7 13 20
Peter Kanko 16 8 11 19
Gregory Campbell 16 13 3 16
Nathan O'Naibgon 16 7 7 14
George Halkidis 16 0 14 14

Netminding (Playoffs)
 

Player GP W-L-T Avg
Scott Dickie 16 12-4-0 2.01
Carlo DiRienzo 0 0-0-0 0.00
Playoff top scorers
 
Player GP G A P
Corey Locke 18 15 18 33
Matt Foy 16 11 16 27
Brendan Bell 18 7 16 23
Scott Sheppard 18 11 11 22
Karol Sloboda 18 2 14 16
Rodney Bauman 18 7 7 14

Netminding (Playoffs)
 

Player GP W-L-T Avg
Lukas Mensator 18 12-5-0 2.63
Chris Hardill 2 0-1-0 2.73

 
A preview of sorts - Live from Toronto game six

RangersRush correspondent: Duct Tape

Game 6 - The return of the no-goal Fairy


Lukas Mensator Emerges from heavy traffic with the puck.
 

The Ottawa 67's had to beat the St Michael's majors goalie Andy Chiodo twice in overtime to force a game 7 in their OHL Eastern Conference Final. A goal/near goal was apparently called as Referee Hutchinson appeared to point at the goal, when in fact he was pointing for a face off to the right of the Majors goal.

The truncated celebration was resumed minutes later when Corey Locke, who was cut for 20 stitches in the mouth early in the 1st period and returned with a full shield put the puck past Chiodo.

The 67's Achilles heel may be in Goal. Lukas Mensator plays a style typical of European goalies, reactionary play and a tendency to roam away from the net foolishly. He was caught out of position on several occasions, and at one point thanks to a strange bounce of the St. Mikes boards, was caught behind his net as the majors got three cracks at the open net from the slot before he recovered to freeze the puck.

The 67's offence is centred around a powerhouse first line of Locke-Foy-Bauman. With the offensive numbers of Locke & Foy it is a line to be reckoned with. The Majors attempted to eliminate them through constant man-man pressure and a defensive set-up that saw them playing as much to not allow the odd-man/breakout rush that the line is capable of very easily. The second unit with Lou Dickinson and former ranger Scott Sheppard is almost equally dangerous when Dickinson shows up to play.

Adam Smyth demonstrated why he has already been suspended twice in the postseason, taking two foolish minors along with a ten-minute misconduct at the midway point of the third period. His talent is negated by his inability to maintain control of his emotions on the ice, and it was clear at numerous points in the game that the Majors had gotten under his skin during the series.

The Defence core is lead by Leafs soignée Brendan Bell, Carter Trevisani, Russ Moyer and Karol Slaboda. They play strong defence and are adept at getting the puck up and out to the forwards to make quick breaks in an effort to create odd-man rushes. At times however Bell looked as if he is playing injured, and did not look overly confident on the ice at times during the game on Sunday.
 
 

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