It's finals week! No, not the terrible kind from college, but the awesome kind, in hockey. The OHL (Thursday) & QMJHL (Wednesday) finals start this week, and maybe the WHL? They don't have a Leafs prospect playing anymore so, do they really matter?
Ontario Hockey League
In the OHL finals we have the London Knights facing off against the Niagara IceDogs in a rematch of the 2012 finals, which London took in 5 games. Leafs prospects Mitchell Marner and J.J. Piccinich are hoping to lock up London's third J. Ross Robertson Cup in 5 years and a trip to the 2016 Memorial Cup in Red Deer later this month, while Niagara is looking for it's first OHL title in franchise history, riding the hot goal tending of Alex Nedeljkovic and NHL draftees Joshua Ho-Sang and Brendan Perlini (the latter is suspended for games 1 & 2 of the series).
London (12-2) & Niagara (12-1) both ran over the competition on their way to the OHL finals. London defeated the Owen Sound Attack in 6 games, and followed that up by sweeping the Kitchener Rangers and surprising fans by sweeping the Erie Otters in the western conference finals, instead of giving us a strong 6-7 game series with two powerhouses. Niagara made up for some up and down regular season play by beating the Ottawa 67's in 5 games, upsetting the number one team in the OHL east, Kingston Frontenacs, with a sweep and then winning four straight against the Barrie Colts in a showdown of world junior goalies, Team USA's Nedeljkovic and Team Canada's Mackenzie Blackwood.
Mitch Marner has been scoring at near record rate, and needs 15 points to break the OHL playoff scoring record, set by Justin Papineau of the Belleville Bulls in 1999. With Marner averaging 2.57 points per game, he could break the record if the series goes the distance.
May 5 - Niagara at London 7PM
May 7 - Niagara at London 7PM
May 9 - London at Niagara 7PM
May 11 - London at Niagara 7PM - Sportsnet360
May 13 - Niagara at London 7:30PM - Sportsnet360
May 15 - London at Niagara 2PM
May 16 - Niagara at London 7PM
Mitch Marner/JJ Piccinich (F) - London Knights
Sweep series vs Erie Otters 4-0
April 26: Erie 1 at London 5
Marner: 2G, 2A, +2 / Piccinich: No Points
April 27: Erie 1 at London 5
Marner: 1G, 1A, +1 / Piccinich: 1G, 1A, +2
Week Totals: Marner: 3G, 3A, +3 / Piccinich: 1G, 1A, +2
Travis Dermott (D) - Erie Otters
Lose series vs London Knights 4-0
April 26: Erie 1 at London 5 0G, 0A, -1
April 27: Erie 1 at London 5 0G, 1A, -1
Week Totals: 0G, 1A, -2
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
The QMJHL Finals feature a head to head Matchup of two Maple Leafs prospects. The Rouyn-Noranda Huskies feature Martins Dzierkals and finished the regular season 1st overall in the QMJHL with a 54-9-3-2 record. The Shawinigan Cataractes and Dmytro Timashov finished 44-19-4-1 (4th overall), winning the Western Conference and getting the #2 seed in the playoffs.
Rouyn-Noranda's path to the finals was as easy as the OHL teams. In the first round they swept the Drummondville Voltigeurs, they beat the Blainville-Broisband Armada in five games in the hyphen series, but faced their biggest challenge when the Moncton Wildcats took them to six games.
In the playoffs Dzierkels scored 4 goals, added 7 assists for 11 points in 15 games. He looks to add a QMJHL championship ring after winning the Division 1A World Junior Championships with Latvia.
Shawinigan's path was very similar. They defeated the Sherbrooke Phoenix in five games, they needed six to beat Charlottetown Islanders, and in the semi-finals they defeated the Saint John Sea Dogs in five games.
Timashov was a little quieter near the end of the regular season, but has come back in the playoffs, scoring 12 + 12 for 24 points in 16 games, including s coring the OT winner in a 1-0 win over Saint John.
The chance to see two Leafs prospects face off with their league championship on the line (not to mention a trip to the Memorial Cup), is an amazing one.
May 4 - Shawinigan at Rouyn-Noranda 7PM
May 6 - Shawinigan at Rouyn-Noranda 7PM
May 8 - Rouyn-Noranda at Shawinigan 7PM - Sportsnet360
May 9 - Rouyn-Noranda at Shawinigan 7PM
May 11 - Shawinigan at Rouyn-Noranda 7PM
May 13 - Rouyn-Noranda at Shawinigan TBD
May 15 - Shawinigan at Rouyn-Noranda TBD
Dmytro Timashov (F) - Shawinigan Cataractes
Wins series vs Saint John Sea Dogs 4-1
April 26: Shawinigan 7 at Saint John 3 2G, 0A
April 27: Shawinigan 4 at Saint John 3 OT 1G, 0A, +1
April 29: Saint John 3 at Shawinigan 6 1G, 1A, +2
Week Totals: 4G, 1A, +3
Martins Dzierkals (F) - Rouyn-Noranda Huskies
Leads series vs Moncton Wildcats 3-2
April 26: Rouyn-Noranda 5 at Moncton 1 No Points
April 27: Rouyn-Noranda 1 at Moncton 0 1G, 0A, +1
April 29: Moncton 2 at Rouyn-Noranda 1 0G, 1A, +1
May 1: Rouyn-Noranda 5 at Moncton 4 No Points
Week Totals: 1G, 1A, +2
Prospects currently with the Toronto Marlies:
Andrew Nielsen (D) - Lethbridge Hurricanes
Jeremy Bracco (F) - Kitchener Rangers
Andreas Johnson (F) - Frolunda, SHL
Travis Dermott (D) - Erie Otters
Nikita Korotselev (F) - Sarnia Sting
Could we see the loser of the QMJHL finals join the Marlies caravan, or Mitch Marner spreading his scoring powers to the AHL?
Prospects with completed seasons:
Stephen Desrocher (D) - Kingston Frontenacs
Dominic Toninato / Tony Cameranesi (F) - U. Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs
Dakota Joshua (F) - Ohio State Buckeyes
Nolan Vesey (F) - U. Maine Black Bears
Pierre Engvall (D) - Mora IK, Allsvenskan
Fabrice Herzog (F) - Zurich Lions, Swiss A