Sunday, April 19, 2009

CHL Playoff Update - Final Fours Underway

All 3 CHL leagues are down to the final four and at least 2 games in to each series. Here's a look at how things are shaping up so far...


The Calgary Hitmen continue to roll and their post season winning streak has hit 10 games. The Hitmen edged Brandon 5-4 thanks to a third period come back completed by goals from the St. Louis duo of Ian Schultz and Brett Sonne. Alex Plante (EDM), Keith Seabrook (WSH), Joel Broda (WSH) and Michael Stone (PHX) all had 2-points on the night for Calgary. Brandon had equal performances from Matt Calvert (CLB), Scott Glennie ('09) and Brayden Schenn ('09).

The Hitmen have only been taken to overtime once in the playoffs, in Game 2 of their opening round against Edmonton. Sunday's win was the 7th game of the playoffs where Calgary had scored 4 or more goals. Since February 1st (18 regular season + 10 playoff games) the Calgary has only been beaten twice.

The series shifts to Brandon for the next two games beginning on Tuesday night.

That is also going to be game 3 in the Vancouver - Kelowna series as well which is now knotted up at 1-1 thanks to a 4-3 overtime win on Sunday by the Giants. Casey Pierro-Zabotel's (PGH) goal at 19:25 of the extra frame could prove to be huge as this series moves to Kelowna tied as opposed to 2-0 in favor of the Rockets.

Mikael Backlund (CGY) now has 5 points in the series after adding two assists on Sunday. Jamie Benn (DAL) continues to lead the WHL playoff scoring race with 24 points, a 5-point cushion on teammate Cody Almond (MIN). On the Vancouver side of things, Jonathon Blum (NSH) is the league's top scoring blueliner with 6 goals and 17 playoff points.


As Dean mentioned, the Brampton Battalion were making short work of the Belleville Bulls - until Sunday that is. The Bulls delivered a message that they weren't going to just fold up after losing the first two games. Belleville beat Brampton 6-2 and four second period goals.

Nick Palmieri (NJ) notched a hat trick and Shawn Lalonde (CHI) scored twice to pace the Bulls passed Brampton. Anthony Peluso (STL) scored both of Brampton's goals in the lopsided loss.

The Battalion had a 2-1 lead after the first but the 5 unanswered tallies in front of 3200 fans gave the home side the win and a bunch of momentum and renewed confidence heading into Tuesday's game 4.

The other OHL match up has been everything it was billed up to be. Three games in and all three settled in overtime, including the 5-4 win by Windsor on Sunday that gives them a 2-1 edge. John Tavares ('09) had 3 points for the Knights but London blew a late 4-2 lead and surrendered the OT winner to Eric Wellwood (UFA).

Taylor Hall ('10), Greg Nemisz (CGY) and Andrei Loktionov (LA) were held off the score sheet in Game 3 but the Spitfires still found a way to get it done. Hall, Ryan Ellis ('09), Loktionov and Dale Mitchell (TOR) sit 1-2-3-4 in OHL playoff scoring with Brampton's Cody Hodgson sharing in the top 5.


Drummondville is out to a 2-0 lead on Rimouski after a 4-3 win on Sunday. The Oceanic held a 3-1 lead at one point thanks to a pair from Jordan Caron ('09) but couldn't hold off the powerful Voltigeurs. Drummondville scored three unanswered markers in the final 20 minutes including the winner from Patrik Prokop (UFA), a power play goal with just 17 seconds left in the game. The next two games will be played in Rimouski, site of the 2009 Memorial Cup.

Meanwhile, the Shawinigan Cataractes evened their series with Quebec thanks to a 4-3 win on the road. Matthew Pistilli (UFA) scored twice for Shawinigan who now switch to hosts for the next two games.

Drummondville's Yannick Riendeau (BOS) continues to lead the Q in playoff scoring with a CHL high 32 points. The Volts have had the most potent offence so far and so seeing 4 of their players at the top of the league scoring race comes as no surprise. Only one active player in the top 15 doesn't play for Drummondville, Shawinigan or Quebec and that's Keven Veilleux (PGH) of the Oceanic.

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