Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Greyhounds the Team to Beat in OHL Playoffs after Record-Setting Regular Season

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Greyhounds the Team to Beat in OHL Playoffs after Record-Setting Regular Season

Article excerpt

Greyhounds the team to beat in OHL playoffs

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SAULT STE. MARIE, Ont. - The Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds want to carry the momentum of a fun, record-setting regular season into the Ontario Hockey League playoffs, but coach Drew Bannister knows other teams will be itching to spoil the party.

The Greyhounds, the top-ranked team in the Canadian Hockey League, open their Ontario Hockey League first-round playoff series Friday night at home against the Saginaw Spirit. Sault Ste. Marie lost just once in regulation time and three times total on home ice all season and enter the playoffs as the team to beat after posting a franchise-record 55 wins and 116 points.

"It's been a long season, but it's been a fun season for the kids. They've played exceptionally well," Bannister said. "Now we need to take that over into the playoffs and get ourselves going and playing good hockey and playing the right way and just make sure we get ourselves in the right mindset."

Despite the 49-point difference between the two clubs in the regular season, Bannister expects the Spirit to play the Greyhounds tight in the opening round.

"We want to make sure we focus on the first task," Bannister said. "We don't want to look too far ahead of that. They'll be a tough opponent. They've played us tough this year. It will be an exciting series."

"As a whole, they have good depth," Bannister added. "They struggled down the stretch so I'm sure they'll be happy to reset and get back to work. In the three years I've been here, they've played us really tough."

In other Western Conference playoff action, the second-seeded Kitchener Rangers will stay within the Midwest Division for its first round opponent in a matchup against the Guelph Storm.

The Rangers made a splash at the OHL trade deadline in January by adding rugged-winger Givani Smith from the Storm along with high-scoring forward Logan Brown and steady defenceman Austin McEneny from the Windsor Spitfires. …

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