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Alliance Playoff Semi-Final Preview: London Jr. Knights (1) vs. Cambridge Hawks (4)

LJKvsCambRd2The first round of the Alliance Playoffs was as expected with all four top seeded teams advancing through their matchups in clean three-game sweeps setting up a competitive field for the semi-finals. The Tri-City is well represented with the Waterloo Wolves, Kitchener Jr. Rangers and Cambridge Hawks all advancing through their series. The most potent and top seeded London Jr. Knights will face off against the Cambridge Hawks Tuesday evening at the Western Fair Sports Complex as the second round kicks off. Alliance Area Scout, Andrew Sykes, previews the upcoming series for us. 

 

Semi-Final Matchup:

 

1. London Jr. Knights

Quarterfinals: Won 6 points to 0 over Sun County

Players to Watch: Nick Suzuki F, Brett Budgell F, Aidan Prueter F, Jeff Burridge F, Luke Drewitt F, Peter Fleming F, Liam Van Loon F, Bryce Lewis F, Levi Siau F, Mason Howard D, Mason Millman D, Lewis Boulton G, Owen Say G

 

4. Cambridge Hawks 

Quaterfinals: Won 6 points to 0 over Elgin-Middlesex

Players to Watch: Ryan Campbell F, David Anderson F, Steven Grant F, Nathan Yeck F, Tyler Hamil-Kress F, Mark Cooper D, Jagger O’Toole D, Jet Greaves G

 

Regular-Season:

Thursday, September 15: London 6 at Cambridge 2

MondayNovember 21: Cambridge 2 at London 6

Thursday, January 19: London 6 at Cambridge 0

 

How London Will Win:

The Knights didn’t experience anything close to an opening round let down in winning three straight over Sun County by a combined score of 19-3. They were never tested and made it look so easy that at times that it looked like they were running a practice. Ryan Suzuki played like a #1 pick, and the scary thing is, they barely would’ve missed him if he wasn’t in the lineup; that’s how deep they are up front. Against a Cambridge team that is fully healthy and playing well, things definitely won’t be as easy in the semis for the Jr. Knights. With their offensive depth they remain major favourites, but they will have to be sharp and bring a heightened attention to detail as the level of play and intensity will be much higher than it was in their previous series.

 

How Cambridge Will Win:

In what was expected to be the most tightly contested quarterfinal series, the Hawks stormed out of the gates against Elgin-Middlesex winning the first two games by 5-1 scores. They then closed it out in a one-goal game that was more reflective of how many thought the series would play out. The Hawks seized control of that series in the second period of Game 2 in Cambridge when they scored three times to break a 1-1 tie after the opening 20 minutes. The return of hard-skating winger Steven Grant and the emergence of Tyler Hamill-Kress were vital as the two each posted five points in the three victories. Their other top players all played big roles and will need to be even better. Particularly captain Ryan Campbell who will be key should he go head-to-head with the Knights unstoppable duo of Brett Budgell and Ryan Suzuki. The Hawks forward lines will need to shut-down and out-score London’s, their defense needs to be stifling, and their goaltender needs to be brilliant. Pretty simple task all-in-all....right?

 

Follow Alliance scouts @ASykes_7 and @RossyYoungblood, as well as @TheScoutDotCa, on Twitter for Alliance Playoff second round coverage 

INITIAL 2018 OHL DRAFT RANKING

Initial 2018 OHL DRAFT RANKING

1.  Quinton Byfield, York-Simcoe Express
 
2.  Jamie Drysdale, Toronto Marlboros
 
3.  Dylan Peterson, CIHA 
 
4.  Antonio Stranges, Little Caesars 16U 
 
5.  Cameron Tolnai, Oakville Rangers 
 
6.  Cole Perfetti, Vaughan Kings
7.  Lleyton Moore, Toronto Marlboros 
 
8.  Reid Valade, Toronto Marlboros 
 
9.  Jean-Luc Foudy, Toronto Titans
 
10.  Ryan O'Rourke, Vaughan Kings 
 

Next up is our Mid-Season Draft Ranking in December

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