Open Mike Night - 3/7/09
In continuing the updates from the world’s playoffs. The Western Hockey League is next on the docket.
The top-ranked Calgary Hitmen doused the Edmonton Oil Kings in four straight. Led by Capitals Joel Broda’s 5+5=10 and +10 rating, the Hitmen advanced to the next round. Smooth skating defenseman Paul Postma posted five points and plus-8 rating. Oil Kings netminder Torrie Jung, despite his best efforts, couldn’t keep the hard working Hitmen off the scoreboard.
Seventh-ranked Lethbridge pulled off a rare CHL first round upset. They beat Saskatoon with the help of Zach Boychuk, Carolina’s top prospect. Boychuk has been far and away the club’s best player while players like Carter Ashton and Kyle Beach have struggled so far. Luca Sbisa’s power play goal with less than seven minutes to go in game seven gave the Canes the win. Braden Holtby’s efforts shouldn’t go unrecognized despite the Blades falling in seven games.
The Wheat Kings took care of business, taking Kootenay in four games. The series looked to be pretty lopsided from the onset, however, the Ice put up quite the battle on their own home turf. Of course, Brandon is led by Brayden Schenn (11 pts.), Scott Glennie (11 pts.) and Matt Calvert (9 pts.). Keith Aulie and Colby Robak have paired up to be a tremendous shutdown pairing (combing for a +25).
The Medicine Hat Tigers stormed back from a 3-2 deficit to take the fourth-ranked Swift Current Broncos in seven games. Tyler Ennis has taken the WHL by storm – 19 points in nine games so far (second place has 13 points in seven). Ennis was literally a one-man show against the Broncos and willed them to victory.
The top-ranked Vancouver Giants spanked the Prince George Cougars in four games. Top prospect d-man Jonathan Blum and Penguins prospect Casey Pierro-Zabotel have led the way with nine points so far in these playoffs. 2009 eligible forward Evander Kane has had a good playoffs, playing taking his sandpaper style to the Cougars. Tyson Sexsmith has put on a clinic so far in these playoffs, going 6-0 with a 1.43 GAA and .938 save pct.
The Tri-City Americans survived an early scare from the Everett Silvertips to prevail in five games. American Mitch Fadden is the second leading scorer in the WHL playoffs with 11 assists and 13 points. Defenseman Taylor Ellington notched five assists but the Silvertips were overmatched by a much more talented Tri-City squad. 2008 first rounder, Chet Pickard led the Americans to the next round.
The Kelowna Rockets swept the Kamloops Blazers out of the first round. Jamie Benn, has he has been all year, is leading the way for the Rockets. Meanwhile, Tyler Myers and Tyson Barrie are leading the way from the blueline. It was a pretty disappointing series for Kamloops and top forward Tyler Shattock who was limited to just a single assist in four games after going a point-per-game during the season.
The Spokane Chiefs defeated the Seattle Thunderbirds in five games. Canes prospect Drayson Bowman, with the help of Mitch Wahl, led the Chiefs to the second round. It was a disappointing series for Ondrej Roman but not so for Dustin Tokarski who sufficiently stymied the T-Birds. It was a tremendously disappointing series for Seattle – Prab Rai and Jim O’Brien had a disappointing series and Thomas Hickey was unable to rally his team to victory.