2018 OHL Playoffs: Conference Finals Predictions

We’re down to four teams.

The OHL playoffs are halfway done and, with four teams left, we have entered the Conference Finals portion of our program.

In the Western Conference, the top-ranked Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds squeezed out a 4-3 series win over the high-octane Owen Sound Attack. Even Game 7 was close as the Hounds outlasted the Attack 9-7.

The Kitchener Rangers also ended a dominant run by the Sarnia Sting, eliminating them in six games.

Over in the East, the Hamilton Bulldogs took care of the Niagara Ice Dogs in five games while Kingston Frontenacs took down the powerhouse Barrie Colts in six games.

Now, we’ve got two series left and not much separates the teams. All four teams made big splashes at the trade deadline in hopes of being in this exact spot.

In the first two rounds, we put together our predictions for each round. You can read the first round here and the second round here. We’re doing the same thing for the Conference Finals. Are we right? Are we way off? Take a look and give us your thoughts!

East: No. 1 Hamilton Bulldogs v. No. 3 Kingston Frontenacs

Records: Hamilton – 43-18-4-3; Kingston – 36-23-6-3

Head-to-Head: Hamilton – 4-1-0-1; Kingston – 2-2-1-1

The Road to Regina So Far:

Hamilton – Defeated No. 8 Ottawa 4-1; Defeated No. 4 Niagara 4-1
Kingston – Defeated No. 6 NB 4-1; Defeated No. 2 Barrie 4-2

Players to Watch:

Hamilton – Over-age forward Ryan Moore has dominated the playoffs to date. It’s his third playoffs, but with 15 points in 10 games, he’s proving to be the big-game player the Bulldogs hoped to acquire earlier this season. It’s his final season so what better way to go out than with a title?

Kingston – When the Frontenacs acquired forward Gabriel Vilardi at the trade deadline, they didn’t know if he’d be at 100% health this season. He’s proven he’s doing alright; 58 points in 32 regular-season games and another 20 points in 11 playoff games. The LA Kings prospect has a goal-per-game average in the playoffs and is making a strong case for the NHL next season.

Hamilton Bulldogs
The Hamilton Bulldogs went for broke at the deadline. (Photo by Aaron Bell/OHL Images)


Jewell – “While I have tremendous respect for what the Bulldogs have done this season, the Frontenacs loaded up at the deadline, and stopping their offence seems tough-at-best. With two former Windsor Spitfires (Vilardi and Sean Day), plus two former London Knights (Cliff Pu and Max Jones), their experience should take over. Prediction: Kingston in 6.

West: No. 1 Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds v. No. 2 Kitchener Rangers

Records: SSM – 55-7-3-3; Kitchener – 43-21-3-1

Head-to-Head: SSM – 4-0-0-0; Kitchener – 0-4-0-0

The Road to Regina So Far:

SSM – Defeated No. 8 Saginaw 4-0; Defeated No. 4 Owen Sound 4-3

Kitchener – Defeated No. 6 Guelph 4-2; Defeated No. 3 Sarnia 4-2

Players to Watch:

SSM – The Hounds acquired veteran Taylor Raddysh from the Erie Otters at the deadline for his offence and experience. So far, he’s lived up to the hype and is second on the team with 17 points in 11 playoff games. His experience from last season will be counted on down the stretch.

Kitchener – Goaltender Mario Culina has silenced any critics with his play so far in the post-season. With a goals-against average of 2.71 and save percentage of .920, he’s among the best in the league. The big question now is can he stop the Hounds, who are averaging almost five goals-per-game? We know the Rangers can score (54 goals in 12 games) but can they stop the juggernaut Greyhounds?

Mario Culina Kitchener Rangers
Former Windsor Spitfires’ goaltender Mario Culina has found his game with the Kitchener Rangers.  Dave Jewell/THW


Jewell – “This isn’t an easy decision. While the Hounds are dominant, the Owen Sound series proved they’re human. The Rangers have plenty of Memorial Cup experience with four former Windsor Spitfires on the roster (Culina, Logan Brown, Logan Stanley and Austin McEneny) and are flying high right now. The Windsor-four get their chance at a title. Prediction: Kitchener in 6.”