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Midwest Division rivals clash for Wayne Gretzky Trophy

The Owen Sound Attack and Erie Otters are set to meet for the 1st time ever in the Ontario Hockey League Playoffs, and the stakes are pretty high.

Squaring off if the OHL’s Western Conference Final, the Attack and Otters will commence their Best of Seven for the Wayne Gretzky Trophy on Friday, Apr. 21 in Pennsylvania, as the League’s two best teams in the regular season will meet for a berth in the Rogers Championship Series.

Owen Sound and Erie finished with 102 and 103 points respectively on the year, with the Otters claiming 1st in the Midwest Division and Western Conference thanks to their 50-15-2-1 record.

The Attack concluded the season at 49-15-2-2 and finished 3rd in the Western Conference and 2nd in the Midwest Division.

In the post-season, Owen Sound has gone 8-3-0, taking down the Kitchener Rangers 4-1 in the Western Conference Quarterfinals before defeating the Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds 4-2 in the Western Conference Semifinals.

Erie’s path to the Western Conference Final has seen them take down the Sarnia Sting in a four game sweep before being pushed to seven games in the 2nd round by the defending OHL and Memorial Cup Champion London Knights.

The league’s two most potent offences in the regular season, the Attack and Otters combined to put five players in the OHL’s top 10 in point scoring during the 2016-17 campaign and they haven’t stopped in the playoffs.

With each team having played 11 games, the Otters feature three players in the top 10 in playoff scoring, while the Attack have two.

Leading the charge for Erie is Alex DeBrincat, whose six goals and 16 assists in 11 games is good for 1st in the playoffs. He is trailed by Taylor Raddysh and Dylan Strome, who have 18 and 17 points each, good for 2nd and 5th in the playoff scoring race.

Owen Sound’s top two scorers from the regular season are also showing their mettle in the playoffs, with Petrus Palmu and Nick Suzuki finding themselves at 7th and 9th in post-season scoring thanks to 16 points apiece.

Palmu’s 10 goals has him in a tie for 1st place in the goal scoring department with Mississauga’s Spencer Watson, who will take on the Peterborough Petes alongside the rest of his Steelhead teammates in the Eastern Conference Final.

Goaltending will also be a storyline in the series, with the OHL’s number #1 netminder of the regular season, Michael McNiven, continuing his solid play between the pipes.

In starting all 11 playoff games for the Attack, McNiven has posted an 8-3 record to go along with a sterling 1.92 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. He also leads all goaltenders with a pair of shutouts in the 2017 Playoffs.

While McNiven has bore the load for Owen Sound in the playoffs, the Otters have employed a goaltending tandem in their journey to the Western Conference Final.

Troy Timpano has suited up in all 11 games for Erie, posting a 6-3 win/loss record to go alongside his 2.78 goals against average and .892 save percentage. Joseph Murdaca has also seen some time in the crease for the Otters and has been credited with two wins over three games. In 95 minutes of action, Murdaca has allowed just one goal and has a .63 goals against average as well as a .968 save percentage.

Game 1 of the Western Conference Championship Series gets underway at 7:00pm on Friday, Apr. 21 from the Erie Insurance Arena and will be available live on Rogers Local 53 as well as on Kia of Owen Sound/Terry’s Trailer Service Bear Radio. Game 2 will be on Saturday night, also at 7:00pm and is available live on TV and Radio.

The series then shifts back to Owen Sound for Games 3 and 4, which will be played on Monday, Apr. 24 and Wednesday, Apr. 26. Both games will get underway at 7:00pm as well.

Tickets for Games 3 and 4 of the Western Conference Final are available at the MacVicar & McComb ReMax Attack Box Office, online at www.attackhockey.com, or by calling 519-371-7452.

SEASON TICKET HOLDERS ARE REMINDED THAT THEY HAVE UNTIL 1:00pm THE BUSINESS DAY PRIOR TO EACH HOME GAME TO CLAIM THEIR TICKETS BEFORE THEY ARE RELEASED FOR SALE TO THE GENERAL PUBLIC. THE DEADLINE FOR MONDAY, APR. 24’s GAME IS FRIDAY, APR. 21 AT 1:00pm.

2016-17 Season Series Results
Erie won the Season Series 4-2-0-0
Oct. 21, 2016: OS 4 – ERIE 3
Oct. 22, 2016: ERIE 5 – OS 2
Nov. 8, 2016: ERIE 5 – OS 1
Dec. 3, 2016: ERIE 3 – OS 2
Dec. 4, 2016: ERIE 6 – OS 1
Feb. 26, 2017: OS 4 – ERIE 2

Playoff History
The Owen Sound Attack and Erie Otters have never met in the Ontario Hockey League Playoffs

Series Schedule
Game 1, Fri., April 21 Owen Sound at Erie, 7:00
Game 2, Sat., April 22 Owen Sound at Erie, 7:00
Game 3, Mon., April 24 Erie at Owen Sound, 7:00
Game 4, Wed., April 26 Erie at Owen Sound, 7:00
Game 5, Fri., April 28 Owen Sound at Erie, 7:00*
Game 6, Sun., April 30 Erie at Owen Sound, 2:00*
Game 7, Mon., May 1 Owen Sound at Erie, 7:00*
*if necessary

The Playoff Preview is presented by Joe Tomato’s, located next to the Galaxy Cinemas on the Sunset Strip. Fans can enjoy half priced wings and appetizers at Joe Tomato’s following each and every Attack home game simply by bringing their ticket stubs to their waiter or waitress.

The Attack Playoffs are powered by the all new 2017 Nissan Qashqai; a real game changer coming soon to Baywest Nissan.

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