With the Medicine Hat Tigers 2-1 win over Swift Current in game 6 Sunday night, the Broncos were eliminated and all the second round matchups were set. Before we get to who I pick to move on to the Eastern conference finals, let’s look back and see how close I was on predicting round 1.
(1) Edmonton 103pts v (9) Prince Albert 75pts
Prediction: Edmonton in 5
Actual: Edmonton in 4
I gave the Raiders a chance to win one game based on how their power play performed in the regular season. Prince Albert converted only 1 of their 10 power play chances and that certainly wasn’t going to be enough. Also talked about how few penalties Prince Albert takes. They limited the Oil Kings to only 12 power plays but Edmonton got 5 goals off of those opportunites. Edmonton dominated the series which is why they won in 4.
(2) Regina 85pts v (7) Brandon 77pts
Prediction: Brandon in 6
Actual: Brandon in 4
I think this was pretty much everyone’s pick for the upset of the first round. I don’t know that anyone saw a sweep coming. Regina ended the first round as the #2 ranked power play but apart from those 4 goals on 13 chances, wasn’t much offense for the Pats. Couple that with the Wheat Kings ability to score seemingly at will, it was a mismatch. Brandon scored at least 5 goals in each game.
(3) Calgary 103pts v (6) Kootenay 83pts
Prediction: Calgary in 6
Actual: Kootenay in 6
I had talked about how Kootenay had limped into the playoffs and how much they relied too much on the duo of Descheneau and Reinhart for scoring. Well, they are relied upon for a reason: they produce. They combined for 12 goals and 34 points in the 6 games vs Calgary. With 1+ point per game output from Jagger Dirk, Luke Philp and Zach Franko, they had more than enough offence to upend the Hitmen. With the added emotional lift of having teammate Tim Bozon drop the puck for the deciding game 6, the Ice weren’t going to be denied. Also, Calgary was very undisciplined, giving Kootenay 36 power plays. With that kind of offense, you can’t give them those chances.
(4) Medicine Hat 92pts v (5) Swift Current 85pts
Prediction: Swift Current in 7
Actual: Medicine Hat in 6
Swift Current had come into the playoffs earning points in 9 of their last 10 games. They weren’t able to carry that into the first couple of games in Medicine Hat. While close games, the Broncos weren’t able get over the Tigers to win on the road. Swift Current did win the next two at home to tie the series. Medicine Hat won game 5 at home and then closed out the series by being the first team to win a road game. Despite going 6 games, the Tigers gave up the second fewest goals of the East playoff teams and that kept Swift Current’s ability to come back at bay.
On to the next round:
(1) Edmonton 4-0 v (7) Brandon 4-0
Both teams doubled up their opponents goal totals in their 4 game series. Edmonton outscored PA 18-9 and Brandon had 24 goals to Regina’s 12. The difference is how many came even strength. The Oil Kings had 5 of their 18 with the man advantage while the Wheat Kings only had 4 of their 24 on the power play. This should be a tight series without a lot of penalties called and that should work to Brandon’s advantage to score a couple more goals. Overall, though, it won’t be enough to move on. Edmonton’s defence will keep most of Brandon’s shots to the outside and Jarry should get most of those.
Edmonton in 5
(4) Medicine Hat 4-2 v (6) Kootenay 4-2
Kootenay scored at least 5 goals in 5 of their 6 games vs Calgary. They scored 16 goals total in their 3 games in Cranbrook. Conversely, Medicine Hat scored more than 2 only two times, both at home. Will the Tigers be able to score on the road? Having home ice will help them, especially if it goes 7, but the Ice’s offence may be too much for Medicine Hat to handle. Deschaneau is coming off a game 6 in which he scored a hat trick and he is riding a 4 game scoring streak in which he has 7G and 8A. If he can keep that up and the auxiliary scoring continues, this series could be over quick.
Kootenay in 6