Second Round for Second Straight Year
For the 2nd time in as many seasons, the Owen Sound Attack and Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds will square off with a berth in the Western Conference Championship Series on the line.
After sweeping the London Knights in four straight, the Attack will head north to take on the Hounds - the only other team to sweep their first round opponent in the 2018 OHL Playoffs - with the Western Conference Semifinal getting underway at 7:07pm at the Essar Centre.
Ranked number 1 in the Canadian Hockey League, the Greyhounds took care of business against the Saginaw Spirit after finishing the 2017-18 regular season with the OHL's best record of 55-7-3-3.
One of those losses, however, was to the Attack, who split the regular season series with the Hounds with both teams winning a single game on home ice.
Sault Ste. Marie's lone win in the head to head matchup came immediately following the trade deadline, when the Greyhounds cashed in their stockpile of draft picks and acquired Taylor Raddysh and Jordan Sambrook from the Erie Otters in an attempt to beef up for a deep playoff run. That game was a 5-2 decision for the Soo, while the rematch at the Bayshore on March 11 was a different story.
Also a deadline acquisition, Brett McKenzie powered the Attack to a thrilling 6-5 shootout win over Sault Ste. Marie, scoring a pair of goals in regulation while goaltender Olivier Lafreniere turned aside all three of the Greyhounds' shootout attempts to give the Attack the victory.
But while both teams can be confident knowing that they were successful on home ice against one another during the regular season, the playoffs is a completely different story - even if Sault Ste. Marie's statistical prowess against the Spirit suggested no let up from the push to the post season.
In their four game sweep, the Greyhounds scored 25 times while surrendering just eight goals to Saginaw. Much of their offence came from a powerplay unit that operated at a stellar 52%; backed up by a penalty kill that allowed just one goal one 11 attempts by the Spirit.
Leading the way for the Soo was Boris Katchouk who scored six times and added three helpers for nine points. He was one of eight Greyhounds to average at least a point per game in the series.
Owen Sound fared fairly well in their opening round quartet against the London Knights, too, though.
In a much tighter checking series, the Attack's Powerplay clicked at a formidable 33%, scoring five times on 15 attempts. The Bayshore Boys will look to shore up their Penalty Kill heading into the next round, however, after allowing five goals against on just 13 Knights tries in the opening series.
Offensively, the Attack were paced by the aforementioned Brett McKenzie who produced four big goals while leading the way with seven total points in the four games. Each of Nick Suzuki, Kevin Hancock, and Alan Lyszczarczyk chipped in with six points to finish in a tie for 2nd in team scoring after four games in the post season. Held pointless after a solid 48 points in 42 games during the regular season, the Attack will look to Jonah Gadjovich to break out up in Sault Ste. Marie as the Vancouver Canucks prospect looks to break out of his longest pointless streak of the season.
Fans can follow the road games live on on Kia of Owen Sound/Terry's Trailer Service Bearadio on 560 CFOS with Mark McKelvie.
Tickets for Games 3 and 4 of the series can be purchased at the MacVicar & McComb ReMax Attack Box Office, online at www.attackhockey.com, or by calling 519-371-7452.
Season Ticket Holders are reminded that they have until 1:00pm THE BUSINESS DAY PRIOR TO EACH HOME GAME to claim their seats before they are released for sale to the general public.
SEASON SERIES RECAP
Jan. 12, 2018 - Sault Ste. Marie 5 vs Owen Sound 2
The Hounds loaded up at the deadline hoping to give themselves an edge in the Road To Regina, and while none of their acquisitions found the back of the net in the season opener between the Conference rivals, they certainly had an impact on the game. Sault Ste. Marie scored four unanswered goals to put the home side up by that 4-0 score early in the 3rd period before the Attack pushed back. Goals by Aidan Dudas and Markus Phillips made it a 4-2 game with 10:00 left in regulation, but the comeback was not to be as the Greyhounds scored a powerplay tally with 1:03 left in the game to solidify the 5-2 win.
Mar. 11, 2018 - Owen Sound 6 vs Sault Ste. Marie 5 (SO)
This time, it was Owen Sound's turn to run out to a large lead. Keying off the Bayshore faithful, a pair of Brett McKenzie goals sandwiched around an Aidan Dudas tally made it 3-0 for the Attack with nearly 40 minutes of hockey still to be played. The teams then traded goals, with Sault Ste. Marie's Keeghan Howdeshell and Morgan Frost trading tallies with Jonah Gadjovich and Nick Suzuki to set things at 5-2 early in the 3rd period. And then the Hounds' potent offence struck, with three goals coming in a 1:06 span to tie things at 5:00 and force overtime, and eventually a shootout. In that shootout, though, netminder Olivier Lafreniere was rock solid, turning aside every shot he faced to allow Maksim Sushko the opportunity to end it in the shootout and give the Attack a 6-5 win.
OHL Western Conference Semifinal
Owen Sound Attack vs Sault Ste Marie Greyhounds
Thr Apr 5 Owen Sound Attack @ Sault Ste Marie 6:30 pm for Bearadio on CFOS
Fri Apr 6 Owen Sound Attack @ Sault Ste Marie 6:30 pm for Bearadio on CFOS
Mon Apr 9 Sault Ste Marie @ Owen Sound Attack 7 pm
Wed Apr 11 Sault Ste Marie @ Owen Sound Attack 7 pm
Fri Apr 13 Owen Sound Attack @ Sault Ste Marie 6:30 pm for Bearadio on CFOS
Sun Apr 15 Sault Ste Marie @ Owen Sound Attack 7 pm
Tue Apr 17 Owen Sound Attack @ Sault Ste Marie 6:30 pm for Bearadio on CFOS