The media team polled league executives on who they viewed as the biggest underdog/toughest opponent headed into playoffs, the results and predictions are presented below as well as why each team will live up to expectations and why they’ll fail those expectations as well.
Spryfield came into the season as a middle-of-the-pack team looking to make some noise. Boy did they make it. It seemed not long ago that the Spartans were destined for a first round exit but now they are the ‘Ultimate’ underdog, in a poll by their peers Spryfield received the most votes for the likeliest underdog headed into playoffs and a vote for the toughest team, not bad for a team who had to forfeit the majority of the third week…
Why they’ll succeed:
Spryfield is a team built around being a nuisance in the best way, if Brad Marchand played in the OHA (who knows right?) he would definitely have the word Ultimate attached to his name. Entering the final ten game stretch, they are on a four game win streak and look poised to jump in the standings. They play annoying in-your-face hockey and are the epitome of sandpaper in the chat box. Spryfield will win it all by coupling their fire and brimstone attitude with pure spitefulness and take home the OHA trophy.
Why they’ll fail: (See above).
The same attitude and play style will be their undoing when that attitude turns to anger and that play style turns reckless. Brad Marchand has won a cup, but he’s also helped cost one as well, Spryfield will fall in the latter.
Natural Talent has been number one since day one. There aren’t many teams with a winning record against Natural Talent (by my account there is exactly one team with a winning record, Motor City) and even fewer who have had competitive games. This team has survived a goalie carousel that saw three goalies play exceptionally given the circumstances, an Owner that was unavailable for two weeks, and a seven-player roster dump, NT is built for adversity and by-proxy built for playoffs…
Why they’ll succeed:
NT has three players in the top scorers, including both the Owner and GM and cut a player that would have raised that number to four, two goalies in their respective leaderboard, and a Dank. This team has no perceivable weakness, they play up-tempo hockey with a relaxed vibe and seem to run circles when they actually do make an effort. Natural Talent will win it all with the same humble arrogance they’ve had all season, scoring goals and danking fools one game at a time, all leading up to a cup celebration on Ditka Island.
Why they’ll fail:
Natural Talent is a double edged sword, because natural talent is exactly what they have and the thing about being naturally talented is that time and effort take a back seat. Natural’s undoing will come in the form of reckless penalties and lackadaisical play which will culminate in a four game sweep at the hands of a lower seed team. Natural Talent is built for success but was also built for failure