The Minor Atoms started the first round of playoffs against the London Jr. Knights on February 16th at the Carling Arena in London. The game plan was to keep London off the scoreboard, playing and thinking defence first. The Lakers had a great start with an excellent effort from all three lines and the team showed strong penalty killing for the first two periods. The Lakers were up 2-0 going into the third period, with goals from Ryley Cribbin on a pass from Brent West and also a goal by West unassisted.
It was a very strong game by netminder Wyatt Nicholson, perhaps his best effort of the year. The Lakers tired in the third period, resulting in additional penalties and a couple of powerplay goals against them. London added an empty net goal to close out the game 4-2. The fourth place Lakers squad made sure the first place Knights knew they were going to be in a series with a well-rounded effort.
Game 2 had the Lakers playing at home at the Maitland Recreation Centre in Goderich. The Lakers were able to keep the Knights off the scoreboard for one period, as they ended the first period with no score. Brandan Bean guarded the Lakers net; making a couple of big saves early in the game. Throughout the first and second period, the Lakers out chanced the Knights but could not capitalize on their opportunities. The Lakers scored a powerplay goal by West on a play from Neve VanPelt and Cribbin.
London had a 3-1 lead heading into the third, after capitalizing on unsuccessful Lakers clearing attempts. The Lakers again had numerous scoring opportunites in the third, but could not beat the solid London goaltending. London potted a couple more goals for a 5-1 win and a 2-0 series lead.
It is evident the Laker team can skate with the first place Knights and are making a lot of good defensive plays/decisions. However, a huge scoring outburst is required to keep this series alive.