Monday, May 9, 2011

CHL Playoffs: Sea Dogs break log jam

Until tonight every league final in the CHL was tied. Portland-Kootenay 1-1. Owen Sound-Mississauga 2-2. Saint John and Gattineau were also even at 1-1, but the #1 ranked Sea Dogs took a 2-1 lead with about as convincing win as you can get.

Gerard Gallant's charges bolted out of the gate outshooting the Olympiques 18-5 in the opening frame, but thanks excellent goaltending from Maxime Clermont, including a breakaway save on possible top 5 pick Jonathan Huberdeau, his Gattineau mates were only down 1-0, and almost escaped unscathed. Stephen McAulay, a Blues 6th round pick beat Clermont with just one second to go.

Saint John didn't let intermission stall their momentum either scoring 2 more times in the middle frame while outshooting Gattineau 12-2. Huberdeau made it 2-0 just 1:49 in and Aiden Kelly gave the visitors a 3 goal lead after 2.

I wonder if Olympiques Head Coach and playoff guru Benoit Groulx peeled some paint in the intermission as Gattineau had just 7 shots through 2. They did fire 10 on Saint John tender Jacob DeSerres - who did well to stay sharp - in the 3rd but the Dogs scored twice to make it a 5-0 final with total shots being 35-17.

The Centre Robert-Guertin was reportedly rocking and that's where game 4 will be Wednesday where the home side will try and pull even at 2.

The OHL final resumes Tuesday. Owen Sound has won 2 straight overtime games, and both teams have won in the their opponents barn. Game 5 will be in Mississauga.

The WHL also hits the ice again Tuesday and the Ice will have home ice advantage. The clubs combined for 19 goals in two very entertaining opening games. Portland will be without Tayler Jordan who was suspended one game for a checking from behind major and Brad Ross who has been suspended indefinitely after an altercation with Matt Fraser in which Ross picked up roughing and tripping penalties. Both guys were hurt and left the game for good. Jordan's major occurred just 23 seconds after the Ross/Fraser incident and sent Kootenay on it's way as they scored 4 straight power play goals.

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