So it begins, the Winnipeg ICE will face off against the Medicine Hat Tigers in the first round of the WHL playoffs. The series will start on March 31st with game one at Wayne Flemmings Arena. The Winnipeg ICE come into the series with a historic 57-10-1-0 record and finished first in the WHL. The Medicine Hat Tigers have a record of 30-29-8-1 and finished eighth in the Eastern Division and 14th overall. So, will the Winnipeg ICE cruise through the first round?
Comparing the team’s stats after the regular season concluded:
Looking at the table above, it is clear that the Winnipeg ICE are the heavy favourites and should be the ones that feel the pressure, as they should. The ICE are one of the best, if not the best, teams in the CHL this year, yet should be scared of the Medicine Hat Tigers. The Tigers have had quite the roller coaster of a season, and they will not just be happy to be in the playoffs, they will want to take down the giant.
The Season Series
|1-3-0-0||Season Series Record||>||3-1-0-0|
|30.75||Shots Per Game||>||32.5|
These two teams met four times this season. The ICE dominated offensively, but every other stat shows that Medicine Hat is no slouch. The season series outcome does not mean that the Tigers will not win this series, please see Columbus Blue Jackets of 2018-19. It is a totally different beast when it comes to playoff games
The ICE Melters
As shown above, the teams met four times, and the ICE came out on top three times. Now that is playoff time, teams tend to try to shut down every team’s top players because they can really focus on one team. The player that the ICE need to focus on is Oasiz Wiesblatt. In the four games against the ICE, Wiesblatt put up four goals and two assists for six points. He was very noticeable on the ice, and Winnipeg will have to try to stop him, if they don’t he will keep feasting on the ICE.
The Tiger Tamers
. Leading the team goals against the Tigers are Conor Geekie and Connor McClennon, with Geekie having five goals and McClennon with four. The ICE has been tormenting the Tigers offensively all season long.
I predict that the Winnipeg ICE should win this series. I personally think it is not going to be easy, as the Tigers have played hard against Winnipeg this year. Medicine Hat will come out with no worries and no pressure, as they are playing the top team in the WHL, that is a dangerous thought to me. With that being said, I think that the ICE is just too good to lose this series, and I think that they take it in five games. This is when the games get dialled up to 11, and teams are always ready to go, so anything can happen. We will just have to be along for the ride and enjoy some amazing playoff games.