OUA West Hockey: Playoff Odds (or, Will Anyone Beat Western or Lakehead?)

Get ready for shaggy beards and terrible moustaches. It's OUA playoff hockey time.

Okay, so there is still a week left to play before we get the finalized playoff match-ups, but by this point, we have a pretty good idea of where these teams are. So let's break down the teams and their chances at taking the OUA West title. (And then you can call me out on it when I'm inevitably wrong.)

Western (2/1 odds) -- finish up @Brock, vs. Guelph

Well, they clinched first place a couple weeks back, so it's been pretty smooth sailing. Plus they have been playing Windsor and UOIT a lot, so that will prepare them for the first round.

But they have been struggling against those two teams. In a best of three, both could pull an upset (they probably won't). It'll help to have arguably their top six players and coach back though.

Western is the odds on favourite to take the title, but I'm not convinced they have the mentality to do it. I'm saying they are upset in the second or third round.

Lakehead (8/3) -- @Waterloo, @Waterloo

They have been ice cold this semester. Since sweeping Windsor at home on the first weekend back, they have gone 2 for 8, splitting with York and Brock for their two wins. Shocking.

But somehow, no matter how they are performing, they seem to turn it on during the playoffs. Their goaltending needs to be better though as Alex Dupuis and Kyle Moir have been sub-par.

That being said, do you really expect this team to falter? I think they make the Queen's Cup.

Laurier (9/1) -- @UOIT, vs. Windsor

I'm baffled that they are second right now. But what has carried them to this point is what makes them so dangerous in the playoffs: Ryan Daniels. Good goaltending wins, especially in a short playoff series. He could easily steal games against better teams, and he has.

They aren't firing on all cylinders at the moment, but I think they make at least the second round (if they avoid Lakehead, maybe even the OUA West final).

Guelph (12/1) -- @York, @Western

So I ripped them apart after they lost to York two weeks ago. Since then, they are undefeated, beating Lakehead, Waterloo and Laurier. Granted, all were home games, but that's still impressive.

They are going to need to get about three points this weekend to give them a home playoff series, which should get them to the second round. After that, anything can happen.

Waterloo (13/1) -- vs. Lakehead, vs. Lakehead

How the mighty have fallen. They have dropped like a brick recently. Basically they've been the bizarro-Guelph, losing their last four on the road. It's hard to win when your offence is based on one guy (Chris Ray), and that guy isn't there for two weeks. So let's be honest, they aren't that bad.

Brock (18/1) -- vs. Western

They are a solid young team that is coming together late in the season. Unfortunately, they aren't making it past the first round. Not this year. In fact, they are probably going to drop a spot in the standings and finish sixth overall. But that's still a huge improvement for a team that was dead-last in 2009-10.

Fortunately, we get to see where this team truly is when they host Lakehead twice this weekend. Those are two games that mean a lot as both teams could rise as high as second, or drop as low as seventh (sixth in Lakehead's case).

UOIT (21/1) -- vs Laurier

I love these guys. I'm going to guess few teams in the OUA feel the same. They should never be counted out. Plus their big guns of Josh Vatri and Nathan Spaling are on fire, which is pretty crucial going into the playoffs.

Can they pull off a first round upset? Depends who they play really. It's going to be one of Western, Laurier and Lakehead. I know it's weird, but I like their chances against the Mustangs. They always give Western a ton of trouble.

Windsor (21/1) -- @Laurier

They are pretty much UOIT with less firepower but better goaltending. Jim Watt or Frank Dayus could carry them through the playoffs. Unfortunately, you still need to score consistently to win and they don't do that. They will likely finish eighth, giving them Western in the first round (much to UOIT's chagrin). A hard-fought close series is likely, but Windsor isn't going to win it. I feel like I can say for certain Windsor's playoff adventure will be brief.

York (500/1) -- vs. Guelph

So you're saying there's a chance? Sorry Lloyd, these guys are mathematically eliminated. But one positive is they look like they are starting to build a solid young team, so that bodes well for next season. But right now, they suck.

Thursday, February 3

Guelph 5-3 Waterloo

Goal Scorers
Guelph: Justin Gvora (3), Barrett Brook, Kris Belan
Waterloo: Thomas Cardiff, Tyler Moir (2)

Guelph: Andrew Loverock - 25 saves
Waterloo: Justin Leclerc - 32 saves
  • Waterloo has really missed Chris Ray. Tyler Moir has done his best to put up points, but he's not getting much help
  • The loss drops Waterloo to sixth overall. When was the last time that happened?
  • Loverock is finally playing some good hockey for his team. His defence is helping out too.
Players of the Game

  • Justin Gvora had three goals (including the winner) and two assists. Need I say more?
  • Like I said, Moir did his best. It just wasn't enough for the Warriors

Friday, February 4

UOIT 3-1 Brock

Goal Scorers
UOIT: Nathan Spaling, Josh Vatri (2)
Brock: Derek Brochu

UOIT: Jason Guy - 21 saves
Brock: Kurt Jory - 25 saves
  • Matt Abercrombie was held off the score sheet. By now, you should know what that means.
  • Spaling and Vatri have been unbelievable in the past month. Spaling has been over a point a game, while Vatri has 8 goals in the past 6 games.
Players of the Game
  • Jason Guy deserves a lot of credit for shutting down Brock through the second and third periods, allowing UOIT to come back.
  • Jory was no slouch himself. He just ran into two guys on a wicked hot streak.

Western 4-3 Windsor

Goal Scorers
Western: Josh McQuade, Jason Furlong, Steve Reese, Kyle Lamb
Windsor: Tom Craig, Mark McCready, Mike Lombardi

Western: Josh Unice - 31 saves, Jared Richmond - 3 saves
Windsor: Frank Dayus - 48 saves
  • Dayus is ridiculous. That is all.
  • Anthony Grieco is back for Western now. That's good because I doubt they have a lot of faith in Jared Richmond. A goal on four shots in five minutes of play isn't so good.
  • This secondary scoring is going to be key for Western in the playoffs.
Players of the Game
  • McQuade has been a point machine with Western's top three forwards gone, but captain Lamb came up with a big play late to score the winning goal.
  • We can just assume that any game Dayus starts in, he will be the player of the game.

York 4-2 Lakehead

Goal Scorers
York: Adam Stuart, Ben Alavie, Mackenzie Micks, Jeff Matheson
Lakehead: Jadran Beljo, Mitch Maunu

York: David Blair - 27 saves
Lakehead: Alex Dupuis - 11 saves, Kyle Moir - 19 saves
  • It's not often a team goes to Thunder Bay and beats Lakehead. Though it has been more common this year. But York?
  • The Lions had a 4-0 lead early in the third. How does that happen?
  • It's also not often a team fails to score even strength and on eight powerplays, but manages to score on a penalty shot and shorthanded. But Lakehead pulled that feat off too.
Players of the Game
  • Stuart got them started off 29 seconds in and that set the tone. He also had an assist on the night.
  • Beljo scored his first ever goal on a penalty shot. That's a pretty cool way to get on the board.

Saturday, February 5

Lakehead 7-6 York

Goal Scorers
Lakehead: Jadran Beljo (3), Ryan McDonald (2), Brock McPherson, Mitch Maunu
York: Kyle Lamb, Jaskirat Gill (2), Adam Stuart, Mackenzie Micks, Matt Thomson

Lakehead: Alex Dupuis - 13 saves, Kyle Moir - 19 saves
York: David Blair - 21 saves
  • This time Lakehead took the early lead. But York managed to put together a 4-2 lead again. This time they blew it, allowing Lakehead to score two shorthanded goals in a minute in the third period.
  • While they gave up multiple shorthanded goals, York at least scored four times on the man advantage.
  • I guess Beljo enjoyed his first taste of scoring because he didn't wait at all to get goals number 2, 3 and 4. Or maybe it's just really easy to score on York.
  • Gill, Stuart and Micks are pretty much the only goalscorers the Lions have.
Players of the Game
  • Beljo had a hat trick, cuing the comeback that gave them a crucial two points.
  • Gill had another three point night this semester.

Brock 2-1 Windsor (OT)

Goal Scorers
Brock: Matt Abercrombie (2)
Windsor: Dan Lombardi

Brock: Kurt Jory - 22 saves
Windsor: Frank Dayus - 28 saves
  • Abercrombie had two goals. I'm not sure I can beat this horse any more at this point.
  • Windsor's forwards are far too unpredictable when it comes to goalscoring. That's going to kill them in the playoffs.
Players of the Game
  • Jory also performed well, shutting down the offensively challenged Lancers.
  • Dayus. Enough said.

Guelph 4-2 Laurier

Goal Scorers
Guelph: Zach Lillie, Jon Thomas Macdonald, Ken Peroff, Edward Gale
Laurier: Alexander Poulter, James Marsden

Guelph: Andrew Loverock - 22 saves
Laurier: Ryan Daniels - 31 saves
  • Well, this is the Guelph we expected all season. Nice of them to show up.
  • Plus they are getting some scoring from several different sources.
  • Both of these teams could be dangerous in playoffs. But they just as easily could flame-out in the first round.
Players of the Game
  • Gale had a goal (empty-netter) and three assists. That's a pretty solid night for the third year forward.
  • Daniels had another good game. But he didn't get enough support from the rest of his team.

UOIT 3-0 Western

Goal Scorers
UOIT: Kyle Wetering, Nathan Spaling, Josh Vatri

UOIT: Jason Guy - 43 saves
Western: Josh Unice - 36 saves
  • Let's pretend this game didn't happen. Please?
  • So that solid secondary scoring that Western had sure failed them in this game. Good thing Baker, Turkiewicz, Farmanara, Aarssen and Killing are back now.
  • So this game may as well have been 1-0. Two of those goals were empty-netters. Come on, give me that at least.
  • UOIT actually won the season series over Western 2-1. Like I said, Western better hope they don't face the Ridgebacks in the first round.
Players of the Game
  • Guy had a 43 save performance against the top team in the West. That's good enough to be named player of the game.
  • Unice stopped 36 of 37. You can't really fault him for the loss.
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