The final full week of the Canadian Hockey League’s regular season offers a solid preview of the 2018 playoffs, which begin the weekend of March 23 – 25.
Looking east to the Ontario Hockey League, the talent pool includes familiar names: Team Canada World Junior stars Jordan Kyrou (Sarnia Sting) and Boris Katchouk (Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds); London Knights Captain and top draft prospect Evan Bouchard; and Vegas Golden Knights first-rounder Nick Suzuki (Owen Sound Attack). All are finishing the 2017 – 2018 season on a high note.
2018 OHL Playoff Picture: There’s a First Time for Everything
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Richard Whittaker. The London Knights forward scored his first OHL career hat trick plus one assist on March 9th in a 6-3 win over the Erie Otters. For perspective, he had only scored two goals all season and the last time he had a goal was January 4, 2018.
On March 10th, Erie Otters rookie Hayden Fowler achieved legendary status in a game against the Windsor Spitfires. He scored the game-tying goal with eight seconds left in the third period, followed by the game-winning goal 39 seconds into overtime. It wasn’t an ordinary game, even before Fowler stepped up. The Windsor Spitfires are the reigning 2017 Memorial Cup Champions. The Otters were their opponent in the Cup final.
Eastern Division Champions: Hamilton Bulldogs, 42-18-3-3 with two games left to play in the season. They need one point to secure first place in the Eastern Conference standings.
Central Division Champions: Barrie Colts, 40-21-3-1 with three games left to play in the season. They will finish no less than second place in the Eastern Conference Standings.
3-8: The Kingston Frontenacs, Niagara IceDogs, Oshawa Generals, North Bay Battalion, Mississauga Steelheads and the Ottawa 67s round out the top eight teams who have qualified for playoffs.
Morgan Frost, Conor Timmins and the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds are the top team in the OHL. The Kitchener Rangers have also won their division. Meanwhile, the third seed Sarnia Sting actually have the second most points in the entire league, trailing only their division rivals from the Sault. London and Owen Sound will meet in the first round, but home-ice advantage is still to be determined. The Erie Otters and the Flint Firebirds have been eliminated from the 2018 playoffs. As of March 11th, the Windsor Spitfires can only finish as high as sixth place or as low as eighth.
Check out the WHL Playoff Picture here.
Check out the QMJHL Playoff Picture here.