Wednesday, April 27, 2011

CHL Playoffs: Half of Memorial Cup Field Filled

2 of the 4 teams have been decided for the 2011 Mastercard Memorial Cup, one Q league finalist has been decided and Mad Max dominates Medicine Hat in Kootenay. It was a wild night in the CHL playoffs.

In Kootenay the Ice got out the brooms and swept the Medicine Hat Tigers thanks to a very convincing 7-2 win. The story in this one was Max Reinhart and his 5 goal night, including 2 of the shorthanded variety. Reinhart tied a 30 year old WHL record joining Dave Chartier of the Brandon Wheat Kings(1981), Don Nachbaur of the Billings Bighorns(1978), and Dave Kryskow of the Edmonton Oil Kings(1971). Kootenay has now won 11 straight, and have swept the #1 and #3 ranked teams in the WHL's Eastern Conference. It's Kootenay's first trip back to the WHL final since 2002 when the went onto win the Memorial Cup. Maybe now the Ice will get some fan support as less then 3500 showed up to watch them sweep Medicine Hat tonight.

In Spokane the trend of close games continued between the Chiefs and Portland Winterhawks as game 3 was yet another 1 goal win. Spokane led twice in regulation only to have Portland battle back to tie things and force overtime with about 3 minutes to play. The Winterhawks seemed lucky to get to extra time as Spokane went 0-9 on the power play. But the fact is they did get to 'next goal wins time' where Brenden Leipsic notched the game winner. Mac Carruth was the star for Portland. Game 4 goes Friday back in Spokane where the Chiefs will try and tie up the series.

In the OHL Owen Sound punched their ticket to not only the OHL final but the Memorial Cup as well with an emphatic knock out blow of the Windsor Spitfires. The Attack wrapped up the series with a 10-4 win on home ice thanks to 4 point nights from Andrew Shaw and Matt Petgrave. Shockingly Windsor's Jack Campbell was in between the pipes for all 10 goals. The Attack led 4-2 after 40 but blew it wide open in the 3rd with 6 goals in about a 12 minute span. They'll now face Mississauga in the final, because the Majors are the Memorial Cup hosts, Owen Sound is already in. Both teams took out their opponents in 5 games during the semi finals and have combined for just 3 losses in the post season. Windsor's loss marks the first time in 3 years they won't be representing the OHL and winning the Mastercard Memorial Cup.

In the QMJHL, one finalist was decided while another inched closer to joining them. Saint John swept away Lewiston with a 6-5 win Wednesday night but the Sea Dogs needed everything they had to oust the Maniecs. Lewiston stormed out to a 3-0 lead just 5 minutes in, chasing Mathieu Corbeil-Thériault with 2 goals on 2 shots. Saint John answered back with 4 goals and the teams were tied at 4 through 40. The teams traded goals in the first 5 minutes of the 3rd before Saint John sealed with under 3 minutes to play with a Stephen McCauley goal. With Lewiston losing expect the rumour mill about the Maniecs moving to Summerside P.E.I to ramp up.

The Sea Dogs will now await the winner of Quebec and Gatineau, and they might not have to wait much longer. The Remparts took a 3-1 series lead with a 2-1 victory, the 4th straight one goal game of the series and the 3rd straight win for Quebec. Joel Champagne's 2nd of the game stood up as the winner and Louis Domingue made 29 saves for the win. Game 5 goes Friday in Quebec.

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