John Chidley A blog about reading, writing, pop culture and sports.


My weekend in junior hockey April 2-4

Brendan Shinnimin and the Tri-City Americans need to re-discover their disciplined play if they're going to move on in the Western Hockey League playoffs.Generally, things are unfolding as they should in the second round of the Canadian Hockey League playoffs.

By and large, the favourites are dominating. The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League is a perfect example of this: the Victoriaville Tigres are out to a 3-0 lead in their series with the Quebec Remparts, while the Saint John Sea Dogs, Moncton Wildcats and Drummondville Voltigeurs are all up 2-0.

Not surprisingly, the Windsor Spitfires and Barrie Colts are continuing their dominance in the Ontario Hockey League, quickly establishing 3-0 leads in their match-ups. The Ottawa 67’s are up on the Mississauga St. Michael’s Majors 2-1. The London Knights have a similar lead over the Kitchener Rangers.

The Western Hockey League is no different: the Vancouver Giants, Brandon Wheat Kings and Calgary Hitmen all have solid 2-0 leads.

No, there is only one team that has been a disappointment this post-season: the Tri-City Americans.

Although Tri-City finished the regular season at the top of the Western Conference’s standings, they really stumbled to the end of the year, going 5-5 in their final 10 games.

If it wasn’t for the Spokane Chiefs beating the Everett Silvertips 3-2 in literally the last game of the WHL season, the Americans would have finished in third in their conference and had a much tougher pairing in the opening round of the playoffs.

Surprisingly, Tri-City struggled in that opening pairing against the Chilliwack Bruins, eking out a 4-2 series win.

The Americans game, at its height, is marked by a balanced approach with and without the puck. Although they had the third-best offence in the league their best scorer, Brendan Shinnimin, was only 14th overall.

Similarly, Tri-City had the least number of penalty minutes (986) in the entire league. A real accomplishment, considering the rough-and-tumble style of the WHL.

That kind of discipline has disappeared in the past month of Americans’ play, and it is hurting their chances of contending for a WHL championship.

 Friday, April 2nd 2010
QMJHL – Couturier helps Voltigeurs slip by Rimouski in overtime
Sean Couturier made sure his Drummondville Voltigeurs started their second-round Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff match-up on the right foot.

Couturier forced overtime with two minutes left in regulation and then scored the winner 24 seconds into the extra period as the Voltigeurs eked out a 5-4 win over the Rimouski Oceanic on Friday night. (See more...)

OHL-  67's cruise to win over Majors to tie series
Anthony Nigro and the Ottawa 67's made a statement in the second game of their Ontario Hockey League playoff match-up Friday night.

Nigro had two goals and two assists as the 67's crushed the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors 7-2. (See more...)

WHL – Hitmen gain playoff momentum, down Medicine Hat Tigers
Kris Foucault kept the Calgary Hitmen's post-season roll going on Friday night.

Foucault scored twice to lead Calgary to a 5-2 win over the Medicine Hat Tigers in their Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal opener. (See more...)

Saturday, April 3rd 2010
QMJHL – Huberdeau scores twice as Sea Dogs beat Gatineau
The Saint John Sea Dogs are rolling through the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs and don't seem ready to let up.

Jonathan Huberdeau scored twice as Saint John routed the Gatineau Olympiques 7-2 in the QMJHL quarter-finals Saturday night. (See more...)

WHL – Giants beat out Winterhawks in physical playoff game
The Vancouver Giants and Portland Winterhawks opened their Western Hockey League playoff series with a bang on Saturday night.

Brendan Gallagher had four goals and an assist as the Giants out-paced the Winterhawks 9-6 in an unruly opening to their second round match-up. (See more...)

Sunday, April 4th 2010
OHL – Colts slip by Battalion in OT; take 2-0 series lead
Luke Pither's impeccable sense of timing has the Barrie Colts in control of their Ontario Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal.

Pither was the overtime hero as the Colts eked out a 3-2 win over the Brampton Battalion in OHL playoff action Sunday afternoon. (See more...)