Series Preview: Mississauga and Sudbury collide in the First Round of the OHL Playoffs

Photo Credits: Charles Warburton

The Mississauga Steelheads closed their 2023/24 regular season on Friday night. Mississauga had an excellent year. The team broke a franchise record with 38 wins and 84 points, the most in a season.

The Steelheads didn’t know until yesterday who they would play in the playoffs. With Sudbury losing their game, they would stay in fifth place, and Mississauga would remain in fourth. Making it official that Mississauga will play the Sudbury Wolves in the first round of the playoffs.

Mississauga and Sudbury met six times in the regular season and split the season series 3-3. This series will be a battle for both teams.

The Steelheads and Wolves met in the playoffs in 2019, which saw Sudbury sweep Mississauga.

Special teams will be a factor. Mississauga’s power play will make or break the series for them. At 21.3% this season, they were in 10th place in the power play league-wide, scoring 54 goals. If the team wants to succeed on the power play, Mississauga must shoot the puck more. If they can do that, good things will happen.

The Steelheads penalty kill was sixth in the OHL at 81.3%, which matches up well with Sudbury’s power play. The Wolves were fourth in the OHL on the power play at 25.2%. Sudbury has many good goal-scorers that the Mississauga will have to look out for, but at the same time, the Steelheads will have the players to shut them down. The key to special teams in the series will come down to the Steelheads staying disciplined, which, historically, they have a hard time doing.

Sudbury has a potent offence. David Goyette, Quentin Musty, and Dalibor Dvorský lead it. Musty, who the San Jose Sharks selected in the first round of the 2023 NHL Draft, and Goyette, a Seattle Kraken 2022 second-round pick, both reached 100 points this season. Goyette had 117 points, leading the OHL in that category, and Musty had 107.

Mississauga’s offence matches Sudbury’s. It is led by Luke Misa, Porter Martone, and Angus MacDonell. The Steelheads may not have 100-point players, but these three can quickly take over a game if they get going.

In 66 games this season, Luke Misa had 81 points, with Mississauga surpassing his total of 43 last season.

Porter Martone had a breakout year with 71 points, surpassing his 35 points last season. Martone wants to show why he is considered a top prospect in next year’s NHL draft.

Angus MacDonell stepped up hugely this season for Mississauga, scoring 62 points in 61 games. The Dallas Stars selected him sixth in the draft, and he will be a player to watch this postseason.

Mississauga has a slight advantage on defence, with captain Chas Sharpe leading the way. He led all defencemen with 53 points. The Steelheads had a great cast on defence, with Stevie Leskovar, Finn Harding, Parker Von Richter, Jakub Fibigr, and Reed Gee. Mississauga gave up only 212 goals, the third-best in the league. The Oshawa Generals and the London Knights were the two teams in front of them that gave up less.

Mississauga will look to take advantage of Sudbury’s defence as they play a more offensive game. The Wolves gave up 272 goals this season, which shows their weak defensive game.

Nick DeAngelis led all Sudbury Wolves defencemen with 55 points, and he will be a factor in this series.

Goaltending is always crucial in the playoffs. Any goalie can play well enough to steal a series. Ryerson Leenders will look to have a better postseason this year. He started in all six playoff games last season vs. North Bay Battalion. This season, Leenders had a fantastic year with a 24-17-4 record. He led all goalies in the OHL with a .909 save percentage.

Sudbury’s goaltending will be a question mark. Their starter, Jakub Vondras, has a 20-10-2 record, a 3.79 GAA, and a .861 save percentage. Vondras is a Carolina Hurricanes draft prospect. If Sudbury wants to win this series, they will need Vondras to play his best hockey, which he has yet to show this season.

This series will go the distance, but besides offence, Mississauga has the advantage in the two most important areas you need in playoff hockey: defence and goaltending. This matchup will be exciting for both fan bases.

Game one will be in Mississauga on Thursday at 7:00 p.m. at the Paramount Fine Foods Centre.

Leave a Reply

Most Populer

Latest Updates