NHL Playoff Predictions

The NHL Playoffs have started, and after one of the most exciting seasons in history, many fans are looking forward to watching how it will all end. There are a lot of uncertainties for this year, and many questions to be answered. Here are my predictions for this year’s NHL Playoffs. 

Eastern Conference Winner: Carolina Hurricanes 

The Carolina Hurricanes had an incredibly successful season, finishing 3rd overall in the league. With Vezina-caliber goaltending and an incredibly deep roster, the Canes can compete with practically any team. Their biggest worry is starting the playoffs without their starting goaltender, Frederik Andersen, but if they can get him back and make it through the first round, they will likely go all the way. There aren’t really any holes within this team, which cannot be said about many of the teams in the playoffs. 

Western Conference Winner: Calgary Flames 

The Calgary Flames were the third winningest team in the Western Conference and confounded many expectations to get to the top of the Pacific Division. Their offensive output was ridiculous, with 2 100-point players in Johnny Gaudreau and Matthew Tkachuk, as well as 3 40-goal scorers. Additionally, their play in their own end was solid, with a strong defensive core as well as another Vezina candidate out of Jacob Markstrom. Because of this, the flames let in the 3rd fewest goals in the league. The flames have a relatively easy route to the conference finals, and whoever they end up facing there likely will not be prepared. 

Stanley Cup Winner: Carolina Hurricanes 

The Flames and Canes will be a spirited series from two of the most consistent teams, but I believe the edge will have to go to the Hurricanes. However, this will be an incredibly evenly matched series that will likely come with a couple of surprises. 


Dark Horses 

Edmonton Oilers 

Edmonton is a weird case. They have struggled a lot in recent seasons, both in and out of the playoffs, despite having the two best offensive players in the league. They have been on a losing streak in playoff games going back to 2017. Their defense and goaltending are incredibly shaky, and average at best. But the Oilers are one team I could potentially see making a solid run. They are a speedy, offensive team that can catch a lot of teams off guard. They were revitalized mid-season with the appointment of Jay Woodcroft as Head Coach, going 26-9-3 in his control and ending the season with a ton of momentum. And at least Oilers goalie Mike Smith has a decent history in the playoffs. 


Toronto Maple Leafs 

Toronto has not won a playoff series since 2004. If they can do as much as win this series, they could probably do anything. 


Series To Watch 

St. Louis vs Minnesota 

This will be the most evenly matched series in the playoffs. Two heavily offensive teams, who experienced incredibly passionate regular-season matchups, are to face off in the first round. There shouldn’t be a single game that isn’t a war. 


Edmonton vs Calgary 

The battle of Alberta, one of the best rivalries in the NHL, will likely return for the first time in 30 years, if there aren’t any surprises. It should be an excellent match up of star power and offense. 


Conn Smythe Winner-Frederik Andersen 

If the Carolina Hurricanes win the cup, I believe Andersen would be the winner as long as he could recover from his injury and previous playoff woes. He will be an important backbone to an already deep team and be a major help every step of the way. 


Breakout Players 

Seth Jarvis, Carolina Hurricanes 

Jarvis had a solid rookie season, with 17 goals and 40 points in 68 games. If the Canes do end up making the cup run, he will definitely be one of the many cogs that helps them get there. 


Bowen Byram, Colorado Avalanche 

Colorado’s 2019 first round pick had his rookie season cut short due to lingering concussion issues but was strong in the sample size we got from him. If Colorado makes a deep run, which is likely, Byram, Devon Toews, and Cale Makar will set a dangerous offensive standard for blueliners in the league. 

This year’s playoffs look to be incredibly exciting. Many teams have already defied expectations, so it’s not always easy to predict what will happen next. But no matter what happens, it’s important to just sit back and take it all in. It’s still a long road to the finals.

Season Recap: All Three Boys’ Hockey Teams Have Winning Seasons 

The 2021-2022 boys’ ice hockey season has been one of ups and downs for the three teams at Northwood School. Despite many struggles between these teams, the new three-team format was one of success on multiple fronts. With efforts from Prep, Varsity, and High School teams, there was no shortage of boys’ hockey this year at Northwood.  

The boys Prep team, under new management from Head Coach Mark Morris and Assistant Coach Steve Mallaro, had a highly successful season in their first year with the Prep Hockey Conference (PHC). This team joined an exclusive group of Northwood boys’ hockey teams to hit 40 wins in a season, with a record of 41-19-2. In the PHC Playoffs, the Huskies defeated Culver Academies and South Kent Selects, while finishing second in their division.  

Coach Morris was satisfied overall with the team’s progress and was happy with the way the season went. 

Varsity goalie Ben Norton ’22 (Photo provided)

“It was great to work with this bunch, and I thought we got a lot out of it, individually and collectively. We were able to knock off some of the top prep teams in the country, and it was also a great league we were a part of this year with the PHC.” 

With over a dozen seniors graduating at the end of the year, there are obviously some big shoes to fill in terms of players. However, Morris is more than ready for what is ahead. 

“I felt like we accomplished a great deal as a group and look forward to the future with a lot of excitement and anticipation.” 

The Varsity team was also treated to a winning season, going 21-20-2 with 113 goals on the year. Despite the loss of Head Coach Jeff Miller for most of the season due to health issues, the team continued to develop, with Tim Wolford acting as an interim coach. While not playing for league playoffs such as the Prep team, the Varsity boys continued to fight with every game, and were buoyed by the return of Coach Miller for the final stretch of the season. 

The Varsity team also stands to lose a few players, however not as many as the Prep team. Despite the inconsistencies and changes, the team stayed strong, and retains a lot of hope for the upcoming seasons. 

The High School team, which unofficially merged with the Varsity team throughout the season, also had a successful year, despite only playing 23 games. The team went 13-9-1, for a winning percentage of .587.  

Despite all the changes from previous years to this year, it managed to be successful across the board for boys’ hockey at Northwood School. As the organization continues to go down this road, it is safe to say many of the challenges faced this season will be ironed out. There is plenty of hope ahead for each of the teams. 

Students Have Varied Plans for Break 

This year, the school’s annual spring break is set to begin today, on Friday, April 8th. This period, consisting of nearly two and a half weeks of recess, is one of the most anticipated stretches of the year for many of the students at Northwood. This year’s spring break is the latest the school has seen in recent memory. With many different types of people and backgrounds at the school, there are a lot of different agendas for break from person to person. Here are a few different students and what their plans for spring break are. 

Many students are taking the time off and using it for some much-needed rest, and a chance to go on vacation. “I’m going on vacation to the Caribbean this spring break,” Jacob Jaslow ‘23 said. “I’m excited to get out of the cold and into the warmth. Maybe tan a little bit. Who knows?” 

For others, it is a much simpler matter. Many are content with being able to go home and spend time with those close to them, like Shashwath Sunkum ‘22. “I’m just going to be staying in Ohio, chilling with family, studying for APs.” 

Members of the soccer team still have commitments during break. Gonzalo Munoz ‘24 will be spending his first week of break with the team, as they head to Texas for the Dallas Cup. However, after that, Gonzalo has plans for his time off.   

“We are going [to Dallas] from the 8th to the 18th, so we will have a week left personally,” Munoz said. “I will go to Miami, to a friend’s house.” 

Speaking of commitments, two members of the Boys’ Varsity Hockey Team, Sam Lyne ‘24 and Ben Norton ‘22 are representing Great Britian’s U18 National team, as they attend the Division 2A World Championships in Tallinn, Estonia, during the front end of break. After they get finished, Lyne plans to return home.  

“I am going home after my World Championships and spending time with my family and friends,” Lyne said. 

With many different agendas for students this break, a common theme seems to be rest and relaxation. Students are ready to enjoy the time off in whatever way they are able to. 

Students Excited for Winter Carnival 

The annual Northwood Winter Carnival is set to return today. The Winter Carnival has been a part of Northwood’s history for many years now and is an important event for many of the students and staff. Students get to enjoy a day off from classes and other commitments while participating in a friendly competition with other members of the school. 

Winter Carnival was canceled in 2020 due to the pandemic, but it returned in 2021 and was a highlight of the school year for many students. Jacob Jaslow ‘23 is enthusiastic about the winter carnival.  

“As a third year here, I have only experienced one winter carnival, but it was a lot of fun. Everybody is super competitive, and it’s nice to see everyone come together for this event. Everyone in the school is a competitor in something, and it is interesting to see everyone showcase their skillsets.” 

The Winter Carnival is comprised of many different events that occur throughout the day. Each student is assigned to one of four teams, called “Peaks” named after Adirondack mountains: Skylight, Gothics, Big Slide, and Wolfjaws.  

The four peaks compete in 20 events to be the ultimate winner for the day. The events include dodgeball, tug-of-war, curling, broomball, talent show, baking contest, snow football, dogsled race, and many more. The events begin at 9 AM and continue until after dinner. The night concludes with ice cream sundaes in the dining room and music and games in the indoor turf field. 

Winter Carnival is a day that practically every student looks forward to, and Jaslow is no different. “It’s an experience I won’t forget, and I would recommend it to anyone who inquires about it. Roll Gothics.” 

Hockey Teams Have Successful Weekend

Members of the Varsity hockey team celebrate a goal on Feb 27, 2022 at the Olympic Center (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge)

Last weekend was eventful for each of the Huskies hockey teams, with efforts from Prep, Girls, and Varsity/High School teams. Here is a short recap of each team’s weekend. 

The Prep hockey team traveled up to Shattuck-St. Mary’s School to participate in the PHC (Prep Hockey Conference) Playoffs. In three games, the Huskies went 2-1, defeating Culver Academies 5-1, losing to Shattuck-St. Mary’s School 3-1, and beating South Kent School 3-2 in the consolation match. Defenseman Nolan Woudenberg ‘22 notched 1 goal and 5 points on the weekend to lead the team. Forwards Carson Hall ‘22, Bill Zonnon ‘24, Bryan Jones ‘22, and Billy Batten ‘23 each recorded 2 points. 

The Girls’ hockey team also had important games this weekend, traveling to Nichols School in Buffalo to compete in the NAPHA (North American Prep Hockey Association) Playoffs. The team went 3-1 on the weekend, beating A-21 Academy 3-0 and Nichols School 5-2 on Friday, losing to Shady Side Academy 4-1 on Saturday, and beating Nichols again 2-0 on Sunday. Their successful weekend earned them the opportunity to face off against Gilmour Academy next weekend to compete for champion of the NAPHA West. 

This weekend the Varsity/Highschool Teams celebrated their senior weekend with two games against the South Kent 16U team. The team’s seniors, including defenseman Liam O’Donoghue, defenseman/forward Cian Murphy, forward Chris Wandelt, forward John Dole, forward Nicholas Bennett, and goaltender Ben Norton, were celebrated on Sunday for their senior status. After a 4-0 loss on Saturday night, the team came back with a 4-3 shootout victory, with goals from Adrian Meyer ‘24, Nicholas Bennett ‘22, and Camden Abel ‘23. Bennett was also responsible for scoring the shootout winner. 

Prep Hockey Hopes to Win First PHC Championship

Early yesterday morning, coaches and players alike on the boys Prep Hockey team boarded a charter bus and left campus for remote Faribault, Minnesota with the goal of winning the first-ever Prep Hockey Conference (PHC) League Championship. The PHC, which is in its first year, is comprised of six different North American prep schools including Mount Saint Charles Academy, South Kent School, Shattuck-St. Mary’s School, St, Andrew’s College, Culver Academies, and of course, Northwood School, all of which will be attending the playoffs to compete to be the champions of the league. The league’s top seed, Shattuck St. Mary’s is hosting the tournament.  

Assistant Coach Steve Mallaro is optimistic about the upcoming weekend. “I think it will be a good weekend for us. It’s been a long season so hopefully we can put together a good effort this weekend,” Mallaro said. 

Northwood and Shattuck-St. Mary’s players in the handshake line after a Northwood Invitational game in 2017 (Photo: Mr. Michael Aldridge).

This weekend marks the first time this season the Prep team has traveled by plane for a hockey-related outing. Having finished second in the East division, the team will need to face off against Culver at 2:30 PM CST today to ensure their spot in the semifinals against Shattuck-St Mary’s, whose regular season record earned them a bye in the first round.  If the Huskies can defeat Shattuck, they will play in the finals on Sunday at 11:30 AM CST.  

The tournament seedings were determined by the outcome of designated league games. Each team ended up playing eleven league games this season.  

“It’s a big weekend for our school as a whole,” said Mallaro. “We’re going out there to represent Northwood and who we are.” 

Every game this weekend will be streamed live on HockeyTV. Standings, stats, and the schedule for the weekend can all be found on the official PHC website. 

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