Series prediction: Islanders vs. Phoenix
Here are our staff’s prediction on the Sherbrooke vs. Charlottetown series. The two teams are pretty well balanced, which explains why most of us think it will be a long confrontation.
Nolan Reid, Charlottetown Islanders correspondent:
Islanders have a better goaltender in Mason McDonald and it is unclear whether the Phoenix will go with 16-year-old Evan Fitzpatrick or 18-year-old Alex Bureau. McDonald has the ability to steal a game for the Islanders, but Charlottetown needs to be careful not to get out-shot by 40-plus shots a night.
Islanders are also a lot bigger up front, especially with the crash line of Oliver Cooper, Filip Rydstrom, and Ross Johnston. The line has been huge for Charlottetown since December. They do not put up points, but they are solid on the fore-check and wearing down the opponent’s smaller players.
Charlottetown will need to stay out of the box. When they are playing even strength, they can beat any team in this league.
Both teams have a good top-six. Despite only having one 30-plus goal scorer, Sherbrooke does have a lot of offensive weapons.
Another key to Charlottetown’s success is that they were the fourth best team on the road during the regular season, sporting a 17-16-0-1 record. They also went 8-4-0-0 on the road in the province in Quebec.
My prediction: Charlottetown in seven.
François Carignan, Sherbrooke Phoenix correspondent:
The Phoenix will benefit from home ice advantage a lot, as the team earned 47 of its 78 points at the Palais des Sports Léopold-Drolet, which makes them the sixth best team on home ice in the Q.
However, they will need to be opportunist and work hard because the Islanders have been part of the best teams on the road this season.
Sherbrooke will most likely give veteran goalie Alex Bureau the first game and probably go with the “you win you stay” motto. Therefore, if Bureau doesn’t live up to the coaching staff’s expectations, 16-year-old goalie Evan Fitzpatrick will most likely see some action between the pipes.
The Islanders will go with Mason McDonald, who is clearly the best of the four goalies in the series.
Charlottetown might have the two best offensive players in Chlapik and Sprong, but the Phoenix has five forwards that racked up over 50 points, which indicates they have more depth and a better balance up front. If the Sherbrooke’s defense can keep the opposing first line off the score board, their chances of winning will drastically improve.
At the blue line, the Islanders have some bigger and more experienced guys than the Phoenix, and Ryan MacKinnon one of the best offensive defenceman in the Q.
On the other side, the Phoenix has a better balance on defense and will most likely count on a healthy Jérémy Roy, who will be a key player for his team. Their defensive core is also more mobile than the Islanders, which could have problems with the small but fast forwards Sherbrooke has.
Both teams are pretty good on special units, but the Islanders have both the best penalty killing and power-play unit. However, the Phoenix has been more disciplined than their opponent during the regular season, and that should even things out if they keep doing the same in the playoffs.
My prediction: Sherbrooke in seven.
Our team’s predictions:
Nolan Reid: CHA 7
François Carignan: SHE 7
David McKnight: SHE 7
Cory Coolen: SHE 7
Patrick Healey: SHE 5
Alexandre Faucher: CHA 6
Anne-Sophie St-Gelais: SHE 6
Bryan Willett: SHE 6
Alex Pilote: SHE 6
Bryer McPherson: SHE 6
Jeremy Fraser: CHA 7
Martin Otis: SHE 7
Pascal Tousignant: CHA 6