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Dvorak Playing Key Role for London in OHL Playoffs

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – Coyotes prospect Christian Dvorak, the first-line center and co-captain for the London Knights, will enter the Ontario Hockey League’s championship series vs. the Niagara IceDogs as the third leading scorer in the OHL playoffs to date.

That’s quite impressive especially considering his linemates, wingers Mitch Marner and Matthew Tkachuk, rank first and second, respectively, ahead of him on that list. The trio combined to notch an astounding 344 points (121 goals, 223 assists) in the regular season and has produced 96 points (41 goals, 55 assists) in just 14 playoff games.

“I think we’ve built some good chemistry as a line,” Dvorak said. “Mitch is very gifted offensively and can make plays out of nothing, and he’s a good shooter as well. Tkachuk is a very good player, too. He sees the ice well and is good in front of the net and down low. I think we all complement each other very well.”

Photo by Getty Images.

Dvorak, whom the Coyotes drafted 58th overall in 2014, clearly is a highly-productive component of the line, too. This season he led the OHL in goals with 52, and he finished second with 121 points in 59 games. He also is considered one of the league’s top defensive forwards.

Recently, the Knights flipped a coin to determine which of their co-captains, Dvorak or Marner, would be the team’s nominee for the OHL’s most outstanding player award. Marner won the coin toss and, soon after, the award.

“We have two equally important players on our team and two players who could be MVP,” Knights assistant G.M. Rob Simpson told the London Free Press. “They were both equally important. . . . We actually flipped a coin to decide because the league came back and told us we couldn’t put two on the ballot and we couldn’t come to a decision because they should both be on there.”

London will enter the championship series vs. Niagara, which begins Thursday, with a nine-game winning streak in the playoffs. After beating Owen Sound four games to two in the first round, London then swept Kitchener and Erie to reach the title series.

“I don’t think anyone expected us to sweep those kind of teams, but we did and we’re on a bit of a roll right now,” Dvorak said. “Everyone on our team is buying in and is playing a 200-foot game. We’re all making sure we’re playing defense first and when we do that our defense leads to offense. We’ve been able to create opportunities and execute on those plays.”

Dvorak is expecting a challenging series vs. Niagara, which has won 10 playoff games in a row. The team that prevails will represent the OHL in the 2016 Memorial Cup.

Christian Dvorak. Photo by Getty Images.

“They’re a very good hockey team and very deep, and they’re on a roll right now, too,” Dvorak said. “They’re going to be a tough team to beat and it’s definitely going to be an exciting series.”

Dvorak is looking forward to competing against fellow Coyotes prospect Brendan Perlini, who also was drafted in 2014, 12th overall.

“We’re good friends and it will be pretty exciting to play against him,” Dvorak said. “He’s a tremendous skater and has a great shot as well. We have to try and contain him and not let him shoot a lot.”

Dvorak is expected to make a serious run at making the Coyotes roster at training camp in September. But, for now, he’s not too concerned about where he’ll play next season.

“I’m having a lot of fun right now,” Dvorak said. “Our team is doing well and that’s really the most important thing. This is a great opportunity to win the OHL and that’s what it’s all about.”

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