Welcome to the daily WHL playoff recap focusing on the Eastern Conference. Here is a look back at the day that was:
Portland Winterhawks (4) vs Seattle Thunderbirds (2)
The Winterhawks kicked off round two with a 4-2 victory over their rivals, the Seattle Thunderbirds. This was Portland’s fifth consecutive win after sweeping Prince George in the first round. The game was tight checking as there was a combined total of 49 shots in Game 1.
Seattle got on the board first thanks to Jared Davidson’s fourth midway through the first. It would stay 1-0 Seattle until Marcus Nguyen tied it in the second followed by James Stefan to take the lead midway through the period. Seattle would later tie it thanks to Matthew Rempe late in the second but Portland kept pushing and got goals from Clay Hanus and Robbie Fromm-Delorme in the third for the 4-2 victory.
The game came down to special teams as Portland was able to capitalize going one for four with the man advantage. Seattle went zero for one. With these two teams so evenly matched, look for special teams to play a big factor in this series. Game 2 goes Sunday night in Portland.
Kamloops Blazers (4) vs Vancouver Giants (3)
The Kamloops Blazers took Game 2 of the series thanks to a 4-3 comeback win in Game 2. Just like Game 1, special teams were the difference as the Blazers went one for nine while the Giants failed to score going zero for five on the power play. Jesper Vikman made 35 saves while Dylan Garand stopped 23 of 26.
The Blazers jumped out to a lead thanks to Drew Engolt’s second before the Giants scored twice to end the first. First it was a Alex Cotton shot from the point followed by a shorthanded goal from Evan Toth. The Blazers retook the lead in the second scoring three straight. Connor Levis, Caedan Bankier and Daylan Kuefler on the power play helped Kamloops take a 4-2 lead. Ethan Semeniuk scored late in the second to push it to 4-3 but that is as close as the Giants would come.
The series now switched to Vancouver with discipline being the main focus for Game 3. Both these teams have deadly power plays so giving up 14 combined opportunities is not ideal. Game 3 goes Tuesday in Langley.