Saskatoon may be the #2 ranked team in Canada but it's the Kootenay Ice moving on to the WHL's Eastern Conference finals after completing the sweep of the Blades on Wednesday night. A 4-point effort from Matt Fraser (DAL) led Kootenay to a 5-2 victory at home putting an end to the season for the team many expected to represent the WHL in Mississauga.
Saskatoon actually scored the game's first goal and held the lead after the first period but Kootenay struck twice in the second and were up 4-1 by the mid-point of the final frame. Max Reinhart (CGY) scored twice before Cody Eakin's (WSH) empty-netter hammered home the final nail in Saskatoon's coffin.
The Los Angeles Kings will undoubtedly bring Brayden Schenn to join them as they get set to begin their NHL playoff series against San Jose on Thursday.
Kootenay now awaits the winner of the Medicine Hat and Red Deer series which will go to at least 5 games after the Rebels earned a 1-0 win in Tigerville. With possible league MVP Darcy Kuemper on the shelf with an undisclosed injury, Red Deer started Dawson Guhle with 15-year-old Bolton Pouliot dressed as the back up.
Guhle stopped all 19 shots he faced and Byron Froese's (CHI) goal at the 11:27 mark of the third period stood up as the game winner. That series shifts back to Red Deer for game 5 on Saturday night. Red Deer has only managed to score three goals through the first four games of the series. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins, the #1 ranked player on NHL Central Scouting's final draft list, has yet to hit the score sheet.
The other WHL game on Wednesday night was in the Western Conference, game 4 between Portland and Kelowna in the B.C. city. Nino Niederreiter (NYI) ended the evening with 3 assists as the Winterhawks won the game 4-2 and took a 3-1 lead in the series. Portland directed 39 shots at Kelowna's net, Adam Brown made 35 stops in the loss for the Rockets.
Game 5 is back in Portland on Friday when the home team has a chance to close it out and move on to the Western Conference Finals.
Spokane and Tri-City square off in Game 4 of their series tomorrow in Kennewick, WA. The Chiefs currently lead the best of 7 by a 2-1 margin.
In the OHL, both Owen Sound and Mississauga have advanced to their conference finals after winning game 4 in their respective series. The Attack proved to be too much for Plymouth while the Majors rolled over the Sudbury Wolves.
Niagara currently leads Oshawa 3-1 while Saginaw holds a 2-1 edge over the two-time defending Memorial Cup champs Windsor Spitfires.
The QMJHL is 4 games into round two and no team has broken out the brooms. Saint John can eliminate Victoriaville on Friday as they lead 3-1.
Lewiston is poised to upset the Montréal Juniors and can do the deed in the Quebec club's own rink on Friday night. The Maineiacs are up 3-1 amidst growing rumors of their impending sale/relocation to Summerside PEI.
The Quebec Remparts can get past the 2012 Memorial Cup hosts from Shawinigan with a win on Friday night.
The only series that is certain to go 5 games is Gatineau vs Drummondville as the two clubs are knotted up with 2 wins each.