Erie just finished their fourth 50+ win season in a row; a CHL first. That is a cherry on top of the season that saw the Otters break team and individual franchise records all season. Two years removed from their loss in the OHL Final, and an older and more mature team looks to punch their ticket to the Memorial Cup in Windsor this year.
As I stated in my last preview, the Western Conference is heavily stacked, at least in regards to the top 5 teams in the West and Erie leads the pack. The first round matchup is not going to be fun for the lower seed. Let’s take a look at how Erie and Sarnia stack up.
In terms of scoring, we have the league-leading Erie Otters with 319 goals, being challenged by a Sarnia team that ranks fifth overall in terms of scoring with 257. The telling stat however is the goal differential. Erie has a +137 differential, while the Sting are -20. Sarnia in fact has let in the most goals of all the teams that have qualified for the playoffs. Erie has the second fewest goals allowed, trailing only to Owen Sound.
Sarnia has proven that they can win games against the Otters, as they were the first of two teams to win in regulation at Erie Insurance Arena. Though in their season series Erie won 3-1 this season, outscored Sarnia 24-12 and outshot Sarnia 151-94.
Sarina might be able to steal a game, but this will not be pretty. Providing that Erie takes their first round opponents seriously and come out of the round without injuries, expect this to be a quick round for the Otters.