At the start of the CHL playoffs it looked as if the Ranger prospects were going to see their teams go deep in their respective leagues. Right now towards the end of the second round only one team has advanced to their league’s conference finals as three others have their backs to the wall trailing 3-2 in their series.
Ryan Gropp (2015 second) we are not convinced is 100% recovered from his rumored concussion but Gropp’s Seattle Thunderbirds are heading to the WHL’s Western Conference finals. The Thunderbirds eliminated the Everett Silvertips in four straight games winning game four 4-1 for their second straight playoff sweep.
Gropp had a secondary assist on what proved to be the series winning goal, an even strength goal at 16:47 of the first period which put Seattle up 2-0. For Gropp it was his second straight game helping to set up the game winner.
The Thunderbirds are the defending WHL Western Conference Champions and are heading to conference finals to face the team they knocked off last year in the Kelowna Rockets. That series will start next Friday night in Seattle.
One last thing, a serious stick tap to the Thunderbirds who honored the three overage players of the Everett Silvertips as the game’s three stars. A very classy move to do as the three saw their WHL careers come to an end with tonight’s game.
Sergey Zborovskiy (2015 third) and his Regina Pats were able to force a game six after beating the Swift Current Bronces 3-2. Zborovskiy was scoreless with a +1 and an interference minor as the Pats now trail the Broncos 3-2 in the series.
The Pats who dominated the Broncos during the regular season have hurt by injuries but also suspect special teams play. The question now is can the Pats win this series after trailing 3-1?
Game six is in Swift Current on Saturday with if needed a game seven back in Regina on Monday.
Tim Gettinger (2016 fifth) and his Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds find themselves one game away from elimination after dropping a 4-3 decision in game five to the Owen Sound Attack. The Greyhounds dug themselves a 0-3 hole in the first period and never recovered.
Gettinger was scoreless on three shots but he has only a 1-1-2 for the series going scoreless in his last three straight games. The Greyhounds now have to win a game six in Owen Sound on Sunday just to force a game seven back home next Tuesday.
Gabriel Fontaine (2016 sixth) and his Rouyn-Noranda Huskies find themselves also on the brink of elimination after a 3-1 loss in game five to the Chicoutimi Saguenéens. The defending QMJHL champions have been in an outright war with the Saguenéens who have taken full advantage of a 2-3-2 format for this round of the QMJHL playoffs.
The Saguenéens won their second straight playoff game to grab a 3-2 series lead as the Huskies have struggled to find their offense. Gabriel Fontaine was held scoreless for the third straight game which is a large part of the Huskie’s struggles.
Fontaine was scoreless on four shots with a 13-9 record on faceoffs and one hit. The series is off until Monday for game six back in Rouyn-Noranda.
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