Welcome to the daily WHL playoff recap focusing on the Western Conference. Here is a look back at the day that was:
Portland Winterhawks (2) vs Prince George Cougars (1)
The closest game of the night happened in Portland as the Winterhawks held on to defeat the Cougars 2-1. Special teams were a major factor as the Winterhawks went zero for five with the man advantage while the Cougars went zero for one. With the win, Portland extends their series lead to 2-0 with the series shifting in Prince George.
This game was all about goaltending as Tyler Brennan put on a show with 44 saves. He was the main reason the Cougars were able to stick around in the game up until the end. At the other end, it was Taylor Gauthier stopping 22 of 23 shots for the win.
For the Cougars, it was former Winterhawk Jonas Brøndberg with the goal while Portland got goals from Kurtis Smythe and Luca Cagnoni. Game 3 goes Tuesday night in Prince George.
Kamloops Blazers (6) vs Spokane Chiefs (2)
The Kamloops offense continued to click scoring six times in Game 2 versus the Chiefs. Unlike Game 1 where they were shutout, Spokane was able to find the back of the net twice for their first two goals of the playoffs. Kamloops now leads the series 2-0.
This was a penalty filled affair that ended with another attempt to injury misconduct for the second game in a row. This time it was Kamloops’s Drew Englot who received the penalty and may be subject to further discipline.
For the Blazers, it was former Chief Luke Toporowski who led the way with two goals while Matthew Seminoff, Connor Levis, Fraser Minten, and Daylan Kuefler also scored for Kamloops. On the Chiefs side, it was former Blazer Nick McCarry and Graham Sward with the goals. Due to arena availability, Game 3 will be in Kamloops on Monday night.
Seattle Thunderbirds (7) vs Kelowna Rockets (3)
The Seattle Thunderbirds once again dominated the Kelowna Rockets, this time by a 7-3 score. Seattle potted three power play goals on seven attempts while Kelowna finally got on the board in the series. Thunderbirds now lead the series 2-0.
For the Thunderbirds, it was Lukas Svejkovsky who led the way scoring a hat-trick for Seattle. He would also finish the game with seven shots on goal. Jared Davidson also had a phenomenal game with four assists and six shots on net. Other goal scores for Seattle included Henrik Rybinski, Kevin Korchinski and Reid Schaefer.
On the Kelowna side, it was Adam Kydd who got them on the board ten minutes into the third. Mark Liwiski and Pavel Novak also scored for the Rockets. Game 3 is set for Tuesday night as the series shifts to Kelowna.
Everett Silvertips (7) vs Vancouver Giants (3)
Everett exploded for four goals in the first on their way to a 7-3 victory over the Giants. This game was extremely physical with a lot of rough stuff behind the play and after the whistle as it is clear these two teams really dislike each other. The series in now tied 1-1.
Niko Huuhtanen led the way for Everett with two goals and two assists including the game winner. The Silvertips also got goals from Ronan Seeley, Jacob Wright, Ryan Hofer, Michal Gut and Olen Zellweger. Everett dominated the first period outshooting Vancouver 22-6 in the frame. They were clearly the better team all night which led to a big win and tying the series.
For Vancouver, Mazden Leslie, Alex Cotton and Ethan Semeniuk with the goals. The big question is whether Jesper Vikman will be ready for Game 3 as he did not play after capturing the win in Game 2. Game 3 is scheduled for Wednesday night in Langley.