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...)
The Western Hockey League is the very picture of dichotomy. Its Eastern Conference is locked in a struggle for dominance, while the West’s playoff picture is quickly coming into focus.
In the Prairies the Saskatoon Blades and Brandon Wheat Kings both have 84 points, with Saskatoon given the advantage with two games in hand.
The Blades edge might be short lived as Brandon is rolling, earning points in the last 11 games.
The Calgary Hitmen are in charge of the Central Division with 82 points and are white hot with eight straight wins.
The Hitmen and Wheat Kings are hitting their stride at the right time of year, climbing the standings and taking momentum into hockey’s second season. They will decide who is the hottest team in the league Monday night as Brandon will visit Calgary.
The Wheat Kings will have to keep a close eye on Brandon Kozun, whose 29 goals and 54 assists has the most points in the WHL. Brandon will also have to watch out for Tyler Fiddler who had two goals Friday night against the Prince Albert Raiders.
Despite the success of the Blades, Hitmen and Wheat Kings, no team in the East has booked tickets to hockey’s second season just yet.
Compare that knot to the WHL’s Western Conference where the playoff picture is almost completely sorted out.
The Tri-City Americans, Vancouver Giants, Portland Winterhawks, Everett Silvertips and Spokane Chiefs have all clinched postseason spots.
Further, on Saturday night Portland beat Prince George 3-1, eliminating the Cougars from contention. This means that of the 12 teams in the West, half already know how they’ll be spending the playoffs.
The Seattle Thunderbirds will probably join Prince George soon, as they haven’t won a game since Jan. 9 when they, of course, earned a 3-1win over the Cougars. Since then it’s been 10 regulation losses and three in overtime.
That leaves it up to the Kelowna Rockets, Kamloops Blazers and Chilliwack Bruins to claim the final three postseason berths.
Friday, Feb. 12 2010
QMJHL – Quesnel leads Val-d’Or to win over Montreal
Alexandre Quesnel put the Val-d'Or Foreurs on his shoulders Friday night.
He scored back-to-back goals to lift the Foreurs to a 3-2 win over the Montreal Junior in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. (See more...)
OHL – Generals get pounded by Majors as Brace scores twice
Riley Brace and the Mississauga St. Michael's Majors were happy to take advantage of the slumping Oshawa Generals.
Brace scored a pair of goals and added an assist to lift Mississauga to a 6-0 win over Oshawa in the Ontario Hockey League Friday night. (See more...)
WHL – Hitmen run streak to seven straight with win over Raiders
Tyler Fiddler and the Calgary Hitmen continue to roll.
Fiddler scored twice, including the winner, to lead Calgary to a 3-1 win over the Prince Albert Raiders in Western Hockey League action on Friday night. (See more...)
Lefrancois scored four times and had two assists to lead the Rimouski Oceanic to a 9-6 win over the Halifax Mooseheads in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action Saturday night. (See more...)
OHL – Whalers’ Seguin scores OT winner to beat Sting
When the Plymouth Whalers are in a tight game they know they can rely on Tyler Seguin.
Seguin scored twice, including the overtime winner, as the Plymouth Whalers topped the Sarnia Sting 5-4 in Ontario Hockey League action Saturday night. (See more...)
WHL – Cougars eliminated from playoffs with loss to Winterhawks
It's no surprise to Western Hockey League fans: the Prince George Cougars won't be making the playoffs.
With a 3-1 effort the Portland Winterhawks officially knocked Prince George out of the WHL post-season Saturday night. (See more...)
QMJHL – Tigres drop Chicoutimi as Pulin earns 75th careers win
Kevin Poulin made history as the Victoriaville Tigres rolled to a win Sunday afternoon.
Poulin made 17 saves as Victoriaville dumped the Chicoutimi Sagueneens 7-1 in Quebec Major Junior Hockey League action. (See more...)
OHL – Hodgson scores first two if season as Battalion down Petes
Cody Hodgson is getting back into the swing of things.
The Vancouver Canucks draft pick scored his first two goals of the season as the Brampton Battalion shut down the Peterborough Petes 4-0 on Sunday afternoon in Ontario Hockey League play. (See more...)