Great Lakes Junior C Playoff Preview

Bretn Paxton of the Dresden Kings - Photo by Dresden Jr. Kings

Bretn Paxton of the Dresden Kings – Photo by Dresden Jr. Kings

The Great Lakes Junior C Hockey League playoffs begin this week with three local teams still in the hunt. Although the Wallaceburg Lakers failed to make the playoffs, local hockey fans will have their chance to cheer on the Dresden Kings, Blenheim Blades, and Wheatley Sharks. Here is a look at Dresden’s, Blenheim’s, and Wheatley’s playoff series’:

Dresden Kings vs. Essex 73s

The Dresden Kings and Essex 73s are becoming familiar playoff foes, which means for the older players in this matchup, there will be bad blood. The closest the Kings came this season to beating Essex, was a 4-3 shootout loss in October. To take even a game from the 73s in the playoffs will be an accomplishment for the Kings, and they’ll need goalie Brent Paxton to stand on his head, while James Shelton, Macks Holmes, and Dillon Liberty will be asked to outscore Essex’s big guns, a task that will be nearly impossible. After all, the 73s lost only 3 games this season, and they swept their way to a Great Lakes title last year, including a 4-0 series win over Dresden.

Schedule: Dresden @ Essex, Tuesday, February 4, 7:15pm – Essex @ Dresden, Wednesday, February 5, 7:30pm – Essex @ Dresden, Friday February 7, 7:30pm – Dresden @ Essex, Sunday, February 9, 2:00pm – Dresden @ Essex, Tuesday, February 11, 7:15pm – Essex @ Dresden, Friday, February 14, 7:30pm – Dresden @ Essex, Sunday, February 16, 3:00pm.

CKSN Prediction: Essex in 4 games.

Blenheim Blades vs. Mooretown Flags

The Blenheim Blades finished 4 points ahead of the Mooretown Flags in the standings, but the Blenheim Blades took 4-out-of-5 games in the season series, with Mooretown’s only win coming in a shootout. If anything, fans can expect high scoring, wild gamed. Blenheim scored 32 goals in 5 games this season against Mooretown. Cam Aitken, Drew Marlatt, Kirk McKillop, and Justin Rossignol form an imposing offensive presence for Blenheim, but it doesn’t stop there for the Blades, as they had 7 players hit double digits in goals, with Aitken and rookie Marlatt, who was the league’s player of the Month early in the season, hitting 20. Aitken was second overall in league scoring, and will be counted on to continue that, while Blenheim’s goaltending duo will need to step up to account for Blenheim’s defense, that added pieces late in the year, but has still been inconsistent.

Schedule: Mooretown @ Blenheim, Wednesday, February 5, 7:30pm – Blenheim @ Mooretown, Saturday, February 8, 7:30pm – Mooretown @ Blenheim, Sunday, February 9, 7:15pm – Blenheim @ Mooretown, Wednesday, February 12, 8:00pm – Mooretown @ Blenheim, Thursday, February 13, 7:30pm – Blenheim @ Mooretown, Saturday, February 15, 7:30pm – Mooretown @ Blenheim, Sunday, February 16, 7:15pm

CKSN Prediction: Blenheim in 6 games.

Wheatley Sharks vs. Alvinston Flyers

Long drives and winter weather will make this series arduous on both teams. Only one point separated these teams in the regular season, with Wheatley finishing ahead of Alvinston, but the Flyers dominated the season series, winning 4-1, 4-2, and 4-3, and losing 8-6. Who will prevail in the playoffs? The Sharks have significantly more playoff experience, having been to the Great Lakes final multiple times in the past few years but Alvinston’s Dan Warner and Tyler Kettler are formidable foes to stop.

Schedule: Alvinston @ Wheatley, Monday, February 3, 7:30pm – Alvinston @ Wheatley, Wednesday, February 5, 7:30pm – Wheatley @ Alvinston, Friday, February 7, 7:30pm – Wheatley @ Alvinston, Saturday, February 8, Time TBA – Alvinston @ Wheatley, Monday, February 10, 7:30pm – Wheatley @ Alvinston, Friday, February 14, 7:30pm – Alvinston @ Wheatley, Sunday, February 16, Time TBA.

CKSN Prediction: Wheatley in 7 games.

In the final series, the Belle River Canadiens will face the Amherstburg Admirals.

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