Friday, April 10, 2015

SN's Second Round Playoff Predictions

After one of the best opening rounds in years, the QMJHL quarterfinals are upon us. Here is how the Station Nation staff expects round two to go down.

Rimouski (1) vs Gatineau (14)
Lorne Webster - Staff Writer: Rimouski in 5
Benoit Groulx went all in at the trade deadline to take another run at the President Cup. The moves worked well enough to pull off a huge upset over the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in round one BUT Mr. Groulx's run ends in Rimouski. The veteran Oceanic are just too strong for the Olympiques. I pity the fool who ends up on the receiving end of massive Samuel Morin. Ouch!

Kevin Chambers - Prospect Writer: Rimouski in 6
I'd ask if the Olympiques have another upset in them but this is the best 14th seeded team you will probably ever see. The ‘Piques are much better then a 14th seed. I think they've met their match in the Oceanic though - Rimouski are about as close to a juggernaut as the QMJHL has this season but the potential for an upset is there in this one.

Jamie Tozer - Editor: Rimouski in 5
Rimouski was the only team to sweep their first round series and allowed just nine goals. They’ll be well rested and ready for this series, which gives them even more of an edge. I think Gatineau will give them a good run because, y’know, they are Gatineau and this is the playoffs. I expect a close series… but not an overly long one.

Moncton (2) vs Halifax (12)
Lorne: Moncton in 6
The Mooseheads are coming off an exciting - yet grueling - seven game upset of the Shawinigan Cats (a.k.a. "those @#$%&*$@&'n Cataractes" to Sea Dog fans - especially in 2012). Halifax's prize is an uphill battle against another group of frisky cats - this time the Moncton Wildcats. It should be thrilling to watch the fireworks from QMJHL MVP Conor Garland, Nikolaj Ehlers, Ivan Barbashev and Timo Meier for roughly 30+ minutes each and every night. But Moncton's secondary scoring seems to give the Wildcats an edge. Moncton also had a clear advantage in the regular season against Halifax (six wins in nine games).

Kevin: Moncton in 5
This could become a very physical series. Halifax will rely heavily on their imports again but I like Moncton's overall depth and they have the clear edge with Alex Dubeau between the pipes.

Jamie: Moncton in 5
This series is going to come down to depth and Moncton has more of it. Nikolaj Ehlers was unreal in the first round but he can only take the Mooseheads so far. I like Moncton’s offensive depth more, their defense more and goaltending more. That’s all I have to say.

Quebec (4) vs Charlottetown (9)
Lorne: Quebec in 6
Charlottetown is coming off an exciting series win over Sherbrooke - their first playoff series win in what seemed to be an eternity. And Quebec needed seven games to get by the pesky Cape Breton Screaming Eagles in round one. With Islanders star goalie Mason MacDonald out for the remainder of the playoffs, Daryl MacCallum will need to continue to do his best Ken Dryden impression for the Islanders to advance. Unfortunately, Quebec's depth will prove to be too much for the young Islanders this time.

Kevin: Quebec in 5
The Memorial Cup host team had a bit of a scare in round one, playing an underrated Screaming Eagles club. Without Mason MacDonald (injured) the Islanders managed to make it out of round one - which was impressive - but I don't think Daryl MacCallum can save the Islanders this time though. The offense coming from the Remparts is going to be too much.

Jamie: Quebec in 5
The Remparts certainly got a scare in the first round from the Screaming Eagles and it’ll be interesting to see how things go this round. The Islanders, coming off their first series win in a generation or so, will be fired up. Daryl MacCallum was impressive in the first round, but I’m not sure he’ll be able to keep it going – but I hope he does and makes this a great series. I expect the Remparts to simply be too powerful for the Isles to handle.

Baie-Comeau (6) vs Val-d’Or (8)
Lorne: Baie-Comeau in 6
Baie-Comeau only needed five games to knock off the young Sea Dogs, while Val-d'Or managed to dispatch of their northwestern Quebec rivals in Rouyn-Noranda in six tough games. Two teams with plenty of firepower - offensively and physically - should make for a very entertaining series. But ultimately, the team that gets the better goaltending and defense will come out on top. Led by QMJHL second team all-star goalie Philippe Cadorette and young stud Nicolas Meloche on defense, the Drakkar will advance past the Foreurs.

Kevin: Val-d’Or in 6
Should be a good series between the Drakkar and Foreurs. The Foreurs’ power play could be the difference if the Drakkar take too many penalties. That being said, I always like goaltending in the playoffs and give the edge to the Drakkar in that regard. In the end though, in this series, the Foreurs come out on top.

Jamie: Baie-Comeau in 6
This is a tough one to pick and could be the best series of the second round. Baie-Comeau looked pretty good in their series against Saint John and, although they did take a lot of penalties, didn’t get out of control with their physical play. Val-d’Or is coming off a hard series win against rival Rouyn-Noranda. The Foreurs won the regular season series but I think Philippe Cadorette will lead the Drakkar to a playoff series win.

Photo: Marc Henwood/Station Nation

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