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- Created: Friday, 10 February 2017 16:09
After previewing the London Jr. Knights and Cambridge Hawks semi-final matchup earlier this week (read here), we turn our focus to the Tri-City matchup between Waterloo Wolves (2) and Kitchener Jr. Rangers (3). Alliance scout Andrew Sykes lays down the details for us.
2. Waterloo Wolves
Quarterfinals: Won 6 points to 0 over Hamilton
Players to Watch: Keean Washkaruk F, Brayden Krieger F, Tyson Hillier F, Jacob Code F, Kurtis Goodwin F, Callan Christner F, Nathan Allensen D, Gavin Wood D, Cy Martin G
3. Kitchener Jr. Rangers
Quarterfinals: Won 6 points to 0 over Windsor
Players to Watch: Justin McCombs F, Cole MacKay F, Cole Schwindt F, Zachary Russell F, Eric Maltby F, Braeden Skidgmore-Trussler F, Danny Heath D
Regular-Season: Waterloo 3-0
Wednesday, October 12: Waterloo 7 at Kitchener 2
Monday, November 21: Kitchener 1 at Waterloo 7
Wednesday, December 21: Waterloo 5 at Kitchener 2
How Waterloo Will Win:
If their opening round sweep of Hamilton was any indication, the Wolves have the makings of another championship team. No team has been able to figure out the Wolves in the playoffs for the last three years and they are serving notice to London that this year won’t be any easier as the two teams move towards their expected championship matchup. In three regular season meetings with the Rangers, Waterloo took all three by a combined score of 19-5. Kitchener’s dynamic Justin McCombs however only played in one of those games, and presents an added element for the Wolves to key in on. Luckily for them, defensive matchups and shutting players down is exactly what Waterloo thrives on and they will know full well that the difference in the series will be their ability to shut down McCombs and sniping winger Cole MacKay. Waterloo always has several top players and this year is no different, but they are so much more than just good players. They are a great team in every sense of the word from top to bottom and that is why they have such success in the playoffs.
How Kitchener Will Win:
The Rangers elevated their game and were the clear cut better team in their first round sweep over Windsor. Cole MacKay and Braeden Skidgmore-Trussler combined to score 8 of the team’s 12 goals, while Justin McCombs returned from injury and assisted on half of those twelve. AgainstWaterloo, who most certainly will be focusing on McCombs and MacKay, it becomes imperative that the Rangers have all hands on deck. Getting some additional scoring from the likes of Zachary Russell, Cole Schwindt and Eric Maltby would go a long way, but would still only be one portion of the battle. Kitchener finished seventh out of the eight playoff teams in goals against in the regular season, so the greater question might be whether or not their defense can hold up against the speed, skill and tenacious attacking depth of the Wolves. It is no doubt that goaltenders Corson Marit and Griffin Murphy will have to be huge in this series.
Follow Alliance scouts @ASykes_7 and @RossyYoungblood, as well as @TheScoutDotCa, on Twitter for Alliance Playoff second round coverage