Welcome to the daily WHL playoff recap focusing on the Eastern Conference. Here is a look back at the day that was:
Winnipeg ICE (8) vs Prince Albert Raiders (2)
It’s about 8.5 half to 9 hour drive from Winnipeg to Prince Albert. Based on the first period, the ICE had no interest in taking a trip back. The ICE scored four in the first and outshot the Raiders 13-1 en route to a win to clinch the series.
The ICE scored four in the first, one in the second, and three in the third. Zachary Benson had two goals and one assist. Jack Finley had one goal and two assists. Connor McClennon scored two goals while Matthew Savoie had a goal and an assist. Mikey Milne and Jonas Woo each scored their first ever WHL Goals.
The ICE vaunted powerplay did not score tonight. They were zero for five, however, they were not needed as the ICE scored 8 even strength goals. Reece Vitelli and Sloan Stanick scored for the Raiders. For the third time in this series, Taikhon Chaika was relieved by Max Hildebrand. This time Chaika was out at the 1:57 of the second. He made 10 saves in 15 shots.Hildebrand made 17 saves on 20 shots. Daniel Hauser had a quiet night. He only faced 13 shots. He made 11 saves. The ICE outshot the Raiders 35-11. The ICE will await to face the lowest seeded team in the next round of the WHL Playoffs.
Red Deer Rebels (3) vs Brandon Wheat Kings (1)
Kai Uchacz opened the scoring for the Rebels with a power play goal at the 47 second mark. Jhett Larson then gave the Rebels a 2-0 lead heading into the second. After a scoreless second, Vincent Iorio cut the lead to one at 6:28 but Chase Coward and the Rebels stood their ground. Uchacz would later got his second of the game to seal the game late.
Coward was outstanding again in goal for the Rebels. He made 27 saves for the win. Ethan Kruger made 31 saves to keep the Wheat Kings in the game. Kalan Lind added two assists for the Rebels. The Rebels will look to wrap up the series Sunday afternoon in Brandon.
Moose Jaw Warriors (6) vs Saskatoon Blades (3)
Game 5 was a microcosm of this series. The Warriors jumped out to an early lead while the Blades had to chase and ultimately could not catch up. Moose Jaw jumped out to a 2-0 lead by the 9:08 mark in the first thanks to goals by Jagger Firkus at at 5:55 and Denton Mateychuk at 9:08. Josh Pillar got the Blades within one on the powerplay 14:02 to make it 2-1 Warriors after one.
Firkus and Pillar each scored their second of the game in the second period. Firkus gave the Warriors 3-1 lead at 8:52. Pillar got the Blades back within one at 13:00 to make it 3-2. The Warriors stretched it out in the third. Thomas Tien gets his first of the series to give the Warriors the 4-2. Trevor Wong got the Blades within one again at 12:47, but Atley Calvert got an insurance goal. Robert Baco put one in the empty net to give the Warriors the win and the series.
It was another game where several Warriors were involved offensively. Firkus had a three point game. (2G, 1A) and so did Mateychuk (1G, 2A). Calvert had goal and an assist. Brayden Yager and Maxximus Warner had two assists each. Egor Sidorov had two assists for the Blades. Carl Tetachuk made 26 saves for the win. Nolan Meier, who is the all time leader in wins in the WHL, made 35 saves for the Blades. The Warriors will await for the results of the Red Deer Rebels and Brandon Wheat Kings before they know who they play next. If the Rebels win the series, the Warriors will face the Winnipeg ICE. If the Wheat Kings win, they will face the Edmonton Oil Kings.