We’re now well into the second round of the OHL playoffs, and each matchup has played at least two games. During that time, some players have stood up to play some of the best hockey of their career, while others have faltered.
In the Eastern Conference, the Otters and the Knights are locked up at one game apiece, while the Greyhounds have taken a 2-1 series lead on the Owen Sound Attack.
In the Western Conference, the Petes haven’t given the Frontenacs much, and lead 2-0. Meanwhile, the IceDogs and the Generals are tied at one.
Here are my three game breakers of the week, and three players who are due for a surge.
Joseph Raaymakers, G, Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds
In a season full of highs and lows, goaltender Joseph Raaymakers is putting it all together for the Greyhounds as they battle the Attack in the second round. The Greyhounds currently lead two games to one, largely due to the heroics of Raaymakers, who has let in one goal or less in five of seven playoff outings, and two of three versus the Attack.
Jack Studnicka, C, Oshawa Generals
Jack Studnicka is coming up big for the Generals in their series against the Mississauga IceDogs, which is tied at one. Peaking at the right time, he has made a solid case for himself in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft by becoming Oshawa’s top offensive contributor in these playoffs, with 11 points in nine games. He has four in his last two versus Mississauga.
Jason Robertson, RW, Kingston Frontenacs
If the Frontenacs lose their second round series to the Peterborough Petes, Jason Robertson won’t be the reason why. He has risen to the top of the OHL scoring leaders list with 15 points in nine games. Although he had the benefit of a long seven-game series in the first round, the team wouldn’t have advanced without his series-defining performance in Game 7 last Tuesday, during which he figured in on all three Frontenacs goals.
Dante Salituro, RW, London Knights
Former 67’s forward Dante Salituro hasn’t worked out in London. Although he was a dynamic offensive talent in Ottawa, he just hasn’t been able to connect for the Knights, who are locked up at a game apiece with the Erie Otters. Salituro has just two assists to show for his nine outings — a far cry from the production he enjoyed in Ottawa.
Dylan Strome, C, Erie Otters
It’s a strange thing to say that a guy with 11 playoff points isn’t hot, but for a guy who scored at least two points in every first-round outing, 0 points through two second-round games is downright glacial. There would be more to worry about if Strome weren’t generating a ton of shots. Look for him to bounce back fast, starting tonight.
Stephen Desrocher, D, Kingston Frontenacs
Stephen Desrocher is a 21-year-old NHL-drafted veteran, and the Frontenacs have leaned on him heavily this season. Unfortunately, he has been unable to have much of an impact through these playoffs. With just four points in nine games, he’s generating less offence than he ever has in the playoffs (although it should be noted that he played for a superior Oshawa team in the past).
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4) Cornered Coach: The Peanut Gallery
5) The Search Begins for the 2018 HockeyNow Minor Hockey Players of the Year