Welcome to the daily WHL playoff recap focusing on the Western Conference. Here is a look back at the day that was:
Prince George Cougars (1) vs Portland Winterhawks (2)
The Portland Winterhawks are officially the first team through to the second round as they swept the Prince George Cougars on Wednesday night. Although the series was close, Prince George just didn’t have enough firepower to beat former teammate Taylor Gauthier in net. In four games, he finished the series with a .965% save percentage and a goals against average of 1.00.
James Stefan got Portland on the board midway through the first while Luke Schelter provide the game winner shortly after. Johnny Hooker brought the Cougars within one late in the second but it wasn’t enough as Portland won 2-1. Cougars Tyler Brennan who was strong all series stopped 40 of 42 shots in the game.
The Winterhawks will now head back to Portland and wait for the other series to wrap up.
Kelowna Rockets (3) vs Seattle Thunderbirds (2)
The Kelowna Rockets stayed alive with a thrilling overtime win at home versus the Seattle Thunderbirds. The Rockets power play finally came alive scoring twice on five attempts including the overtime winner. Kelowna is now three for 19 on the power play in the playoffs.
Seattle jumped out to a 2-0 lead thanks two goals from Lucas Ciona. Despite being outshot, Kelowna was able to score three straight to win the game in overtime. In the second, they got back to back goals from Gabriel Szturc and Noah Dorey while Adam Kyyd ended the game with 15:55 of overtime. Talyn Boyko made 36 saves in the win.
The series now shifts to Seattle for a crucial Game 5 on Thursday night. If Kelowna wants to stay alive, they need to shut down the Thunderbirds power play once again and limit their shots. The accesso ShoWare Center is one of the loudest arenas in the league and you know the fans will be excited to see the Thunderbirds punch their ticket to the next round with a victory.
Vancouver Giants (2) vs Everett Silvertips (6)
This series continued to get nasty as Everett defeated Vancouver 6-2 in Game 3. The teams combined for 96 penalty minutes and the game saw six players ejected. Expect some suspensions to be handed down before Game 4.
Everett once again jumped out to a four goal lead with two goals from Ryan Hofer and a goal each from Matthew Ng and Niko Huuhtanen. Fabian Lysell got one back on the power play but Ng scored his second just 15 seconds later. Adam Hall made also got one on the power play before Huuhtanen buried his second for the 6-2 victory.
While there were some suspendable hits late in third, one major reason the game got out of hand late was Everett calling a timeout up four with around a minute left in the game. Both benches including the coaches will screaming at each other and the timeout caused the third scrum of the period as the final whistle went. Expect the same levels of physical play during Game 4 on Friday night as it is clear these teams do not like each other.