The Canadian Hockey League’s post-season continues to roll along, with many first round match-ups being settled in the past couple of days.
There are now six series waiting to be resolved in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, Ontario Hockey League and Western Hockey League.
The QMJHL’s two remaining series will be wrapped up Tuesday night as the Rimouski Oceanic host the Chicoutimi Sagueneens and the Gatineau Olympiques visit the Montreal Junior’s home ice in Verdun, Que.
Quebecois junior hockey fans should expect Montreal and Rimouski to prevail and move on to the next round.
The OHL’s quarter-finals are just waiting on the Tuesday night finale of the Frontenacs – Brampton Battalion series in Kingston.
Ethan Werek’s devastating knee injury on Sunday coupled with the triumphant return of the Battalion’s Cody Hodgson spells out defeat for the Frontenacs. Expect Brampton to meet the Barrie Colts on Thursday night.
There are three series still on the go in the WHL. I’m sticking to my earlier prediction that the Calgary Hitmen will be able to beat the surprising Moose Jaw Warriors.
The Silvertips should still be favoured to snuff out the Kelowna Rockets in Everett on Monday night and the Portland Winterhawks should be able to eke out one more win over the Spokane Chiefs.
Friday, March 26th 2010
QMJHL – Saint John moves on to QMJHL quarter-finals
The Saint John Sea Dogs advanced to the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League quarter-finals with a decisive victory Friday night.
Jonathan Huberdeau scored in each period and added two assists as the Sea Dogs thumped the P.E.I. Rocket 7-2 in QMJHL playoff action. (See more...)
OHL – Spirit edges Rangers in physical playoff match-up
The Saginaw Spirit held on to beat the Kitchener Rangers 4-3 in a physical Ontario Hockey League playoff game Friday night.
The Spirit were up 4-0 when, at the 13:49 mark of the third period, a scrum broke out. When the dust settled, Saginaw's Tyler Murovich, Michael Kantor and Garret Ross had all earned game misconducts, while Kitchener's Micky Sartoretto and Andrew Crescenzi were also booted. (See more...)
WHL – Tigers top Ice, take 3-2 playoff series lead
Tyler Bunz came up big as the Medicine Hat Tigers took the lead in their Western Hockey League playoff series.
Bunz made 31 saves, including 17 in the second period, as Medicine Hat earned a 5-2 win over the Kootenay Ice in WHL post-season action Friday night. (See more...)
Saturday, March 27th 2010
QMJHL – Wildcats squash Cape Breton; advance to second round
Goaltender Nicola Riopel's stellar play is putting the Montcon Wildcats further into the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoffs and his name into the record books.
Riopel made 30 saves as the Wildcats mauled the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 4-0 in QMJHL post-season action Saturday night. (See more...)
WHL – Hitmen hold off Moose Jaw Warriors for win; force Game 7
The Calgary Hitmen survived a rally by the Moose Jaw Warriors to post a 7-3 win and even their Western Hockey League playoff series Saturday night.
The Hitmen trailed the series 3-1 before winning Thursday and Saturday. The deciding seventh game will be Monday night in Calgary. (See more...)
Sunday, March 28th 2010
QMJHL- Tigres slip by Shawinigan 2-1 in OT; win series
Philip-Michael Devos was the overtime hero Sunday for the Victoriaville Tigres.
Devos scored on the power play 13:04 into the extra period to lift Victoriaville to a 2-1 victory over the Shawinigan Cataractes, helping the Tigres clinch their first-round Quebec Major Junior Hockey League playoff series. (See more...)
OHL – Frontenacs beat Battalion to force Game 7
The Kingston Frontenacs tied their Ontario Hockey League playoff series 3-3, but lost captain Ethan Werek in the process.
Kingston scored twice in the second period to rally to a 2-1 win over the Brampton Battalion on Sunday afternoon, forcing a decisive seventh game in their OHL playoff series. (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...)
As I’ve mentioned on my bio page, I work at the Canadian Press as a Junior Hockey Editorial Assistant. (The Junior denotes the level of play, not my position.) It’s a really fun job that lets me pursue two of my loves: writing and following sports.
It’s also nice because at parties people get all excited about what they assume is an exciting, glamorous job.
Inevitably, they ask me how it all works. I figured I would break it down for my readers.
Every Friday and Saturday night I go to CP’s newsroom for about 9 p.m., just as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League’s games are wrapping up.
Covering the QMJHL is very straight forward.
All I need to do is create a “round-up” from their website’s detailed game sheets. As long as no games are postponed or go to a shoot out, I can do this in an hour to an hour and a half. Here’s one I wrote on Jan. 3: QMJHL: Martel wins 222ndgame as Sagueneens beat Remparts.
As I’m finishing my QMJHL writing results from the Ontario Hockey League will begin to trickle in.
For most OHL games, CP has freelance writers on location that we call “stringers”. Stringers email in copy that I read over, format, and then put on the wire as a 150-400 word story. We also receive copy from member papers. For example, we often get material on the Kingston Frontenacs from the Kingston Whig-Standard.
Once all the stringer and members have sent in their work, I write separates for any games that didn’t have a reporter on location. Like my QMJHL round-up, I rely on the OHL’s website for my information.
When that’s all done I cobble all the OHL stories together as a round-up. Here’s an OHL overview from Jan. 3: OHL: Bulls rally from early deficit to defeat Generals.
By this point it’s around midnight and some Western Hockey League games will be done.
The WHL is tricky because it is spread over three time zones, so I have to keep my eye on the scores page of their website constantly. Often times there will be a game in Brandon, Man., or some early games in Regina or Saskatoon that will require my attention before I’m even done the OHL.
Covering the WHL ramps-up the amount of work I have to do.
Again, I rely on stringers and members to supply me with copy for separates, and I bolt it all together to make a round-up. Here’s a lengthy one from Jan. 2: WHL: Giants win chippy game against Chiefs.
An extra wrinkle in my WHL work is that I also have to create box scores for “agate”.
What’s agate? I’m glad you asked.
Agate is defined by Wikipedia as “a unit of typographical measure. It is 5.5 typographical points, or about 1/14 of an inch. [...]. An agate font was commonly used to display statistical data or legal notices in newspapers. It is considered the smallest point size that can be printed on newsprint, and then read legibly.”
In other words, when you flip to the back of your sports section and look at all the box scores and standings, you are looking at agate. The standings of all three leagues are updated in agate, but the WHL has individual box scores done in agate as well.
The WHL is the most involved of the three leagues in the Canadian Hockey League. It’s got the most teams, the most fans, and therefore requires the most coverage. In small towns like Prince Albert, Sask. or Kennewick, Wash., the WHL is the biggest show in town.
More often than not, the small arenas that host WHL games are sold out.
When all is said and done it is between 2 and 3 a.m. and I have written or edited between 16 and 18 separate game stories and put together three round-ups. That sounds like a lot, but it’s actually not so bad – typically between 2,200 and 4,000 words. The stories and agate appear across Canada, in parts of the United States, as well as on websites like TSN.ca.