Friday, April 22, 2016

Round Three Predictions

In which the SN staff predicts round three…

ROU (2) vs. MON (6)
Lorne: The Wildcats have proven to be resilient with a series of comeback and overtime wins in their series against Victoriaville and Gatineau. Even though the Olympiques pretty much contained Conor Garland until game six, players such as Manuel Wiederer more than filled the void. However, it seems that Moncton's run will end in the form of a brick wall named the Huskies. Rouyn-Noranda sports three high flying forward lines, deep defense and stellar goaltending. Huskies in five.

Kevin: The Huskies have lost Jeremy Lauzon, which will no doubt hurt their back end - but they still have plenty of depth. The Huskies have yet to be given a tough test and Moncton should provide a tougher opponent. While Keven Bouchard has played well for Moncton, this is where the attack of the Huskies should provide a much higher degree of difficulty in terms of shots. Moncton will have to rely heavily on the offensive production of Garland. The Wildcats just can't match the overall depth of the Huskies. Huskies in five.

Jamie: The Armada bent the Huskies a bit – but they certainly didn’t break. Rouyn-Noranda has proven this post-season they have the ability to win by blowouts or by close games. Even with the loss of Jeremy Lauzon, they are still considered the favourites to win the league, which says a lot about their depth. The Wildcats were able to upset the Olympiques without much production from Conor Garland, which was impressive. But Moncton will need Garland and everyone else playing their best in order to pull off an upset this time. I don’t see it happening. Huskies in five.

SHA (2) vs. SJ (3)
Lorne: Despite playing virtually all of round two without three of their top forwards - Mathieu Joseph, Adam Marsh and Bokondji Imama - the Sea Dogs dug deep and advanced past a veteran crew from Cape Breton. Thomas Chabot and Matt Murphy have led the way from the backend and Marc-Antoine Turcotte has been bordering on spectacular. The Cataractes profile much the same as Cape Breton. They added several pieces at Christmas, run three high-flying forward lines and have a veteran goaltender (Philippe Cadorette) - but their defense could be exposed by hard forechecking. Assuming a level playing field, the Sea Dogs should find a way to cross the next line on their quest to the finals. Sea Dogs in six.

Kevin: The Sea Dogs are fresh off a tough seven game battle with Cape Breton, which will make things tough on the road for back to back games against a rested Cataractes squad. Much like the Screaming Eagles before them, the Sea Dogs will face a tough offensive minded club that should be better between the pipes. Saint John will once again be looking to their defense to shut down a top offensive club and will need top notch goaltending from Marc-Antoine Turcotte. The Sea Dogs have been together much of the season while the Cataractes made several trades at the deadline, acquiring veteran talent for their playoff run. I’m going with defense and team chemistry on this one. Sea Dogs in seven (again).

Jamie: No Joseph, no Marsh, no Imama, no problem. The Sea Dogs had an impressive final two games in their series against Cape Breton, proving they are able to win even without some key forwards. Saint John found ways to score against Cape Breton, especially on defense. But they’ll face a much bigger scoring challenge this round in Philippe Cadorette, who has been playing in this league for 20 years (or so it seems). Shawinigan is good and they are deep with the likes of Beauvillier, Timashov, Moynihan, etc. After a shaky second half, it looks like they've pulled it together. They’ve faced some adversity and challenges this post-season and made it through, something the franchise has struggled with in the past. I think they’ll make it through this round as well. Sorry (again). Cataractes in six.