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Second round of OHL playoffs open tonight locally

Wednesday, April 02, 2014   by: Brad Coccimiglio

The second round of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs kicks off on Wednesday night.

The Western Conference semi-finals open locally as the Soo Greyhounds host the Erie Otters at the Essar Centre with game one on Wednesday night.

The Greyhounds are coming off a five-game series win over the Owen Sound Attack in the opening round.

The Greyhounds dropped a 5-4 decision in overtime in game one on home ice to the Attack before reeling off four-straight wins en route to the series win.

Tyler Gaudet led the Greyhounds offensively in round one with two goals and eight points in the five-game win over Owen Sound. Darnell Nurse added seven points while Patrick Watling and Michael Bunting added six points each. Bunting led the Greyhounds with five goals, including three in the decisive fifth game.

Dane Fox scored 12 points for Erie, including six goals in the Otters five-game win over the Saginaw Spirit in the opening round. Brendan Gaunce and Connor Brown added eight points each while Andre Burakovsky had seven points.

The Otters will be tough to contain offensively with four of the OHL’s top 20 scorers in the lineup, including three of the top four with Brown leading the way after posting 128 points in 68 games.

In goal, veteran netminder Oscar Dansk led the OHL in goals against average posting a 2.39 mark in 42 games.

The two teams split their two regular season games with each team picking up a win on home ice. The Otters handed the Greyhounds a 3-0 loss in Erie on Nov. 15 while the Greyhounds beat the Otters 8-2 in Sault Ste. Marie on Feb. 22.

The full series schedule is as follows:

Game 1 – Apr. 2 in Sault Ste. Marie (7:07 p.m.)
Game 2 – Apr. 4 in Sault Ste. Marie (7:07 p.m.)
Game 3 – Apr. 7 in Erie (7:05 p.m.)
Game 4 – Apr. 8 in Erie (7:05 p.m.)
Game 5 – Apr. 10 in Sault Ste. Marie (7:07 p.m.)
Game 6 – Apr. 12 in Erie (7:05 p.m.)
Game 7 – Apr. 14 in Sault Ste. Marie (7:07 p.m.)

The other Western Conference semi sees the top seeded Guelph Storm face the London Knights. That series opens on Friday night in Guelph.
The Knights will be in tough as they start the series without the services of a pair of overage defencemen. Zach Bell is out with a broken leg while Brady Austin was diagnosed with mononucleosis.

The Storm continue to play without forward Brock McGinn, who is serving an eight-game suspension for a hit in the first round of the playoffs against the Plymouth Whalers.

The full schedule is:

Game 1 – Apr. 4 in Guelph
Game 2 – Apr. 6 in Guelph
Game 3 – Apr. 8 in London
Game 4 – Apr. 10 in London
Game 5 – Apr. 11 in Guelph
Game 6 – Apr. 13 in London
Game 7 – Apr. 15 in Guelph

On the Eastern Conference side, the top-seeded Oshawa Generals face a Peterborough Petes team coming off the high of winning an emotional seventh game, in overtime, against the Kingston Frontenacs. Nick Ritchie scored just over 12 minutes into overtime, on a feed from Sault Ste. Marie native Anthony Stefano, the help the Petes advance. The Petes trailed the series 3-0 before reeling off four-straight wins to take the series.

Oshawa advanced with a sweep against the Mississauga Steelheads.

The full schedule is:

Game 1 – Apr. 4 in Oshawa
Game 2 – Apr. 6 in Oshawa
Game 3 – Apr. 8 in Peterborough
Game 4 – Apr. 10 in Peterborough
Game 5 – Apr. 11 in Oshawa
Game 6 – Apr. 13 in Peterborough
Game 7 – Apr. 15 in Oshawa

Speaking of emotional rides, the North Bay Battalion are coming off a seventh game win over the Niagara IceDogs. The win came after the Battalion opened the series with a win, only to fall behind 3-1, forcing them to win three straight to win the series.

Barrie is coming into the series after a five-game series win over the Sudbury Wolves in round one.

The full schedule is:

Game 1 – Apr. 4 in North Bay
Game 2 – Apr. 6 in North Bay
Game 3 – Apr. 8 in Barrie
Game 4 – Apr. 10 in Barrie
Game 5 – Apr. 11 in North Bay
Game 6 – Apr. 13 in Barrie
Game 7 – Apr. 15 in North Bay

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