a chance to play hockey, while the London Knights and Owen Sound Platers have been
relegated to the sidelines, after being the in the conference finals the year before. Such is life in the OHL, where the cycles can be wicked if proper steps are not taken. The Platers tried to make a move up when they grabbed Kenny Coroupe at the trading deadline, but they never got a sniff of the playoffs. They have no drafted players and their top prospect for being drafted this June is Latvian defender Agris Saviels. Their offseason could be turmuoltuos as they may be moving to Cornwall. This is a team that I wouldn’t expect to be very strong next year, based on their current roster.
Erie vs Brampton. This is a scouts dream, as 4 of the best OHL draft candidates are suiting up in this series. On Erie you have 2 talented, but very different forwards in Brad Boyes and Nikita Alexeev. For Brampton, Raffi Torres keeps scoring, while on the point, Rotislav Klesla gets better every game. Alexeev and Torres are late birthdays, while Boyes and Klesla are 17. Brampton also has on defence Tyler Hanchuck who will get drafted this year and Jay Harrison a potential high pick for 2001. The key to this series will be how the young Battalion handle the playoff pressure. They have no overagers and only 2 19 year olds, so this team is as green as their uniforms. They have a big D, they are all 6’2” or over. They have 2 lines that can score, but they will need a big series from Torres if they are to beat Erie. Prediction, Brampton in 6.
Kitchener vs Sault Ste. Marie. This series will feature 2 top prospects for the 2002 draft, Steve Eminger and Trevor Daley. They both play D, and both are essential pieces of their team as 16 year olds. The Greyhounds have some explosive forwards like Ryan Jardine (florida), Cory Pecker (Calgary) and Josef Vasicek (Carolina) who will be very hard for the Rangers to handle. All year the Rangers have struggled with their 5th and 6th defenceman, and have made numerous changes, but they will have to play Allan Rourke (Toronto) and Eminger a ton. The Greyhounds scored 270 goals this year, while the Rangers gave up 256, 2nd worse in the conference. Reg Bourcier will see lots of rubber in this series, which will be over quick. Greyhounds in 5.
Windsor vs Sarnia. A great geographical series, short road trips, lots of history, and pretty similar records. The bad news for the Spitfires is that they have been going in the opposite direction of Sarnia since Christmas. They hold the season series edge, but Sarnia has won the last 2 contests, the last one was played on Jan 14th. Both teams have heavy reliance on rookies, the number one line for Windsor has been made up of 3 rookies. Sarnia’s 2nd -4th leading scorers are rookies. If the Spits are to win this series they will need overager Jeff Martin to contribute. He has been banged up for most of the second half, and if he can return and score, he may tip the scales. However, since Mark Hunter stepped down as coach of the Sting, they have been among the leagues’ best. Sarnia in 5