As all Canadian Hockey League fans know, last weekend was the end of the regular season with the final playoff berths being decided as late as Sunday.
There are tight races in all three leagues, but I have my favourites to join the Wheat Kings as they host this year’s Memorial Cup in Brandon, Manitoba.
For starters, I really like the chances of the Drummondville Voltigeurs to win the President’s Cup and represent the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League. They’ve won 16 straight behind the incredible goaltending of Jake Allen. Although he did not look strong in the World Junior Championship final for Canada, Allen is arguably still the best goaltender in Canadian junior hockey today.
One of the strongest teams in Canada since the Christmas break, the Barrie Colts have run away with the Ontario Hockey League’s Eastern Conference. They’ve got lots of firepower in Luke Pither (36 G, 58 A), Alex Hutchings (47 G, 34 A) and Bryan Cameron (53 G, 25 A) and a solid team dynamic that has made them into a consistently competitive team.
The Calgary Hitmen combine the best qualities of the Voltigeurs and the Colts – like Drummondville they’re the hottest team in the WHL and like Barrie they’ve got the best record in their league. In fact, it’s thanks to their 13-game points streak that they’ve been able to vault to the top of their standings.
Calgary will also have the benefit of the single best forward in the post-season: Brandon Kozun (32 G, 75A), Kozun has lit up the WHL to edge out Jordan Eberle for the Bob Clarke Trophy as the league’s leading scorer.
Friday, March 12 2010
QMJHL – Poulin has 26 saves as Tigres blank Lewiston
Goalies ruled the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League on Friday night.
Kevin Poulin turned aside 26 shots as the Victoriaville Tigres stormed past the Lewiston Maineiacs 5-0 in QMJHL action. (See more...)
OHL – Lindsay, Cuma and Nesbit lead 67’s past Generals
With just one more weekend left in the regular season, the Ottawa 67's are gearing up for the playoffs.
Cody Lindsay, Tyler Cuma and Thomas Nesbit scored third-period goals for the Ottawa 67's as they netted a 4-3 victory over the Oshawa Generals in Ontario Hockey League action Friday night. (See more...)
WHL – Wudrick strikes twice as Rockets down Giants
The Kelowna Rockets spoiled the coming home party for the Vancouver Giants Friday night.
Geordie Wudrick scored twice for the Rockets as they took a 4-3 game over the Giants in Western Hockey League action. (See more...)
Saturday, March 13 2010
WHL – Silvertips in a position to take conference
The Everett Silvertips put themselves in position to claim the Western Hockey League's U.S. Division title and the Western Conference's top seed Saturday night.
Thomas Heemskerk made 25 saves for his fourth shutout of the season as the Silvertips blanked the Chilliwack Bruins 5-0 in WHL action Saturday night. (See more...)
Sunday, March 14 2010
QMJHL – Voltigeurs pound on Maineiacs
Philippe Lefebvre and Jake Allen kept the Drummondville Voltigeurs white hot entering the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs.
Lefebvre had a hat trick and an assist while Allen made 15 saves as the Voltigeurs blasted the Lewiston Maineiacs 7-0 in QMJHL action Sunday night. (See more...)
OHL – Nesbitt the OT hero as 67’s outlast Sudbury
The Ottawa 67's entered the Ontario Hockey League post-season in fine fashion Sunday night.
Thomas Nesbitt scored 2:46 into overtime as Ottawa eked out a 3-2 win over the Sudbury Wolves in OHL action. (See more...)
This week junior hockey fans were treated to some great match-ups that might be previews of playoff matchups.
Friday night two of the highest seeds in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League locked up as the Drummondville Voltigeurs beat down the Quebec Remparts 8-2.
Even after absorbing the loss, the Remparts are in first in the Eastern Division. The win was more significant for the Voltigeurs who continued to put distance between themselves and the Victoriaville Tigres in the Central Division.
The game was headlined by Gabriel Dumont, who scored a hat trick for Drummondville and continues to be one of their strongest players.
On Saturday night the Barrie Colts dumped the Windsor Spitfires 8-5 in another high scoring game.
I’m not big on publicizing my predictions, but I wholly expect that this game could be a preview of the Ontario Hockey League’s playoff finals. The Colts have dominated the league’s Eastern Conference, not just clinching a playoff berth but also a title.
Meanwhile, the Spitfires have been strong in the Western Conference, putting a virtual all star team on the ice every night. They’ve also got the psychological advantage of being last year’s Canadian Hockey League champions.
This weekend was a good indication of what the postseason has in store.
Friday, Feb. 19th2010
QMJHL – Drummondville drills Quebec in top matchup
When two top-ranked teams meet, it's supposed to be a close game.
That wasn't the case Friday night as Gabriel Dumont scored in each period and the Drummondville Voltigeurs blasted the Quebec Remparts 8-2 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. (See more...)
OHL – Luciani’s hat trick leads Erie to victory
It was a home coming of sorts for goaltender Adam Courchaine of the Erie Otters.
Anthony Luciani earned the hat trick as Erie defeated the Ottawa 67's 5-2 in Ontario Hockey League play Friday night. (See more...)
WHL – Blazers celebrate Mucha’s night with win over Seattle
Forward C.J. Stretch made sure a milestone night for goaltender Kurtis Mucha was extra special.
Stretch went end-to-end and scored the winning goal in overtime to give the Kamloops Blazers a 5-4 Western Hockey League victory over the Seattle Thunderbirds Friday night. (See more...)
Saturday, Feb. 20th 2010
QMJHL – Shawinigan upsets Saint John
Antoine Houde-Caron and the Shawinigan Cataractes had one of the biggest wins of their season Saturday night.
Houde-Caron scored the eventual winner as Shawinigan tamed the Saint John Sea Dogs 3-1 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. (See more...)
OHL – Colts take down Spitfires
In a likely preview of the John Ross Robertson Cup, the Barrie Colts downed the Windsor Spitfires.
Alex Hutchings and Darren Archibald both had a pair of goals as Barrie raced to an 8-5 win over Windsor in Ontario Hockey League action Saturday night. (See more...)
WHL – Weal leads Regina over Chilliwack
The Regina Pats kept their playoff hopes alive with a much needed win Saturday night.
Jordan Weal had two goals and two assists to lift Regina to a 5-3 victory over the Chilliwack Bruins in Western Hockey League action. (See more...)
Sunday, Feb. 21st 2010
QMJHL – Rouyn-Noranda edges Chicoutimi
Richard Martel will have to wait a week for his next chance to make history.
Sergey Ostapchuk had the eventual winner as the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies held on to beat the Chicoutimi Sagueneens 2-1 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League play Sunday afternoon. (See more...)
OHL – Plymouth cruises to 11-3 win over Sarnia; clinches berth
The Plymouth Whalers earned a playoff spot in style Sunday afternoon.
Tyler Seguin and Ryan Hayes both scored twice and added an assist as Plymouth crushed the Sarnia Sting 11-3 in Ontario Hockey League action. (See more...)