Habs prospects in CHL playoffs: Michael McNiven continues to dominate
Several prospects are eliminated from the playoffs, while Fiore flies away
The semi-finals are now set across the board in the Canadian Hockey League, and there are very few Montreal Canadiens prospects and tryouts who remain in the mix to earn a berth in the Memorial Cup, where Mikhail Sergachev, Jeremiah Addison, and the Windsor Spitfires are waiting.
Ontario Hockey League
London Knights vs. Erie Otters (Erie wins series 4-3)
Victor Mete and the Knights battled the Otters in a tightly contested series that went to overtime in game seven. The Otters put 63 shots on goal, with the final one beating Knights goaltender Tyler Parsons 10:40 in the first overtime period. Alex Debrincat, top scorer in the OHL playoffs this season, kept up his scoring pace in this series scoring four goals and adding five assists, including an assist on the overtime goal that won them the series.
Mete will join the IceCaps for their 2017 Calder Cup playoff run, having signed an ATO early Wednesday afternoon.
Owen Sound Attack vs. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (Attack wins 4-2)
Owen Sound won four straight in their series against the Greyhounds after losing the first two games before turning it completely around in their favour.
In the ultimate game, Michael McNiven pitched a shutout, blocking all 42 shots he faced. Petrus Palmu was kept off the scoring sheet for the first time since game one, scoring goals in five games in a row, but the Attack still managed a 1-0 win to move on to the semi-finals.
In 11 OHL playoff games McNiven is sporting a .931 save percentage, along with two shutouts.
Owen Sound will now play Erie in one semi-final and the winner goes on to face the winner of the Peterborough Petes and the Mississauga Ice Dogs .
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Saint John Sea Dogs vs. Val D’Or Foreurs (Sea Dogs win 4-0)
The Sea Dogs easily destroyed the Foreurs in this quarterfinal series, winning the final game 7-1 and remaining undefeated in the playoffs thus far. Simon Bourque was quiet for the majority of the series but exploded for four points (one goal, three assists) in the final game, including the series-winning goal for a second consecutive round.
The Sea Dogs will now go on to face the Chicoutimi Saguenéens in the semi-finals.
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles vs. Charlottetown Islanders (Islanders win 4-0)
We were following this series to keep an eye on Giovanni Fiore, who was an impressive tryout at development camp and rookie camp for the Canadiens. The Screaming Eagles faced the mighty Islanders who swept them in four games, despite Fiore’s four goals and two assists in four games.
Soon after Cape Breton was eliminated Fiore signed an entry-level contract with the Anaheim Ducks, and an amateur tryout with the AHL San Diego Gulls, as to join the team on their playoff run. As a result Fiore will now be removed from our list. The undefeated Islanders will now face the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada in the other semi-final.
Western Hockey League
Everett Silvertips vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (Thunderbirds sweep series 4-0)
The Silvertips lost three straight one-goal games in this series, including a heartbreaking overtime loss in game three. By game four, the Silvertips didn’t have much left, and the Thunderbirds easily beat them 4-1 to remain undefeated. They will face the Kelowna Rockets in the first semi-final.
Silvertips captain Noah Juulsen had a hard time containing the Thunderbird offence, and his own offensive game suffered as a result. Overall Juulsen did not have much on an offensive imprint for Everett in these playoffs. His future was described as “up in the air” now as to whether he will join the AHL St. John’s IceCaps for their playoff run or simply end his season now.
Medicine Hat Tigers vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes (Hurricanes win 4-3)
This series went seven games and could have tipped either way the final game was decided in overtime. Unfortunately it was the Hurricanes who came away with the win, scoring a shorthanded goal to seal the series.
Matt Bradley was on the ice for that final goal as well as the game-tying goal by Lethbridge that took the game into overtime. He had a pretty good series prior, putting up points in all but the first two games of the series. He scored two goals and added an assist in game six, helping the Tigers to tie the series and send it to game seven.
Bradley’s future is now up in the air, as his rights are set expire on June 1st, and there is no sign that the Habs will offer him an entry-evel contract by then. The Canadiens have no WHL prospects left in the Memorial Cup hunt.
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