The PJHL regular season in the Orr Division is now complete, and the playoffs are set to begin this week.
As avid readers of this column might remember, last year I tried my hand at predicting the outcome of the two first round Orr Division playoff matches. Both of those predictions ended up being correct, so I thought I’d do something similar again this year.
Now, the reason I say similar is because the playoffs are a little different this time around. Last year, two teams received byes to the second round and there were two first round best of seven series. But, this time around, the top five teams have advanced to the playoffs, with the 4th and 5th placed teams, Clarington Eagles and the Port Perry MoJacks, playing a best of three series to decide who will face the first place team, Uxbridge Bruins, in the division semi finals. The other division semi final matchup is already set, between the second place North Kawartha Knights and the third place Lakefield Chiefs. I will make predictions for both of those series.
Since it is the first series to occur, let me start my predictions with the Port Perry-Clarington series. Just like last year, I am choosing the MoJacks to advance. Yes, I am the reporter that has been covering Port Perry’s team specifically, but I do have evidence to back up my prediction.
For one thing, if this series goes to the full three games, it will be played mainly on the road for Port Perry (two games in Clarington, one in Port Perry) and the MoJacks record is slightly better on the road than it is at home. They have nine wins on the road, as opposed to seven wins on home ice.
As well, the MoJacks are also the higher scoring of the two teams. Port Perry finished the season with 160 goals scored while Clarington was second lowest in the division in that category with 141 goals for.
Now on to the semi final matchup that’s already set. I think this will be a hard fought series going the distance, and I’m picking the North Kawartha Knights to win it.
North Kawartha has had a fantastic season, and have improved immensely from where they were last year.
Last season, North Kawartha finished with 18 wins and 39 points for fifth place in the division. However, this season they finished with 30 wins and 64 points for second place in the division. In comparison, the Chiefs have regressed a bit from their 2017-18 Schmalz cup winning season, going from 34 wins and 72 points for first place to 30 wins and 64 points for third place.
The Knights will also be motivated to avenge a loss to these Chiefs, a series sweep, in the second round of last season’s playoffs.
In addition, North Kawartha was the second highest scoring team in the division, finishing the season with 202 goals scored, while Lakefield was third with 184 goals scored.
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Is a reporter for The Standard Newspaper, so if you see him, feel free to say hello. You can follow Dan on Twitter at @dancearnsy