The 2016 OHL Championship finals between the London Knights with Daniel Bernhardt (2015 fourth) and Ryan Mantha’s (2014 fourth) Niagara IceDogs got underway Thursday evening in London. Bernhardt and his Knights came away with a 4-1 win to grab a 1-0 series lead.
The Knights who entered the finals with the OHL’s second best record during the regular season handed the IceDogs just their second loss of the entire playoffs ending a 10 game winning streak. The Knights spotted the IceDogs a 1-0 lead after a goal in the second period and came back with four unanswered goals to earn the win.
Bernhardt was scoreless for the Knights with no shots and an “even” for the game. Mantha had a bit of a rough night as the 6’5 defender was scoreless on three shots with a -2 and two minor penalties. Game two will be Saturday night in London.
The third Ranger prospect still active Ryan Gropp (2015 second) and his Seattle Thunderbirds will get their WHL Championship final series against the Brandon Wheat Kings underway with game one on Friday in Brandon. It is Seattle’s first trip to the finals since 1997 while Brandon is returning after falling to Kelowna last year.
The NHL Network will have a one hour highlghts show of the game one on Saturday afternoon at 1:00 PM.
And nobody asked me but the way I see things I do not expect the Rangers to sign 2013 third round pick Pavel Buchnevich until next year. Buchnevich can make more money in the KHL next season and has little bargaining power because of the NHL/NHLPA CBA would force him to sign a three year two-way entry level deal. If Buchnevich were sent to the AHL then he could make as little as 65,000 playing in the minor leagues.
Wait a year and Buchnevich at 22 only has to sign a two year two-way deal BUT the CBA says the Rangers would own his draft rights until June 1st 2017. Buchnevich would be in a position where if he was not to make the Rangers then like several of his fellow Russians have been doing demand an “out” clause where he could return to the KHL rather than play in the AHL.