We have entered the second round in the Canadian Hockey League playoffs, and many of the players we were following were eliminated, leaving only a handful of players to watch.
Ontario Hockey League
Mikhail Sergachev, Jeremiah Addison, and Hayden McCool were eliminated by the London Knights as the Memorial Cup hosts fell in seven games. They now will train and practise for a month while the rest of the field narrows down to a champion in each league.
Other prospects eliminated in the first round include Will Bitten of the Hamilton Bulldogs and Michael Pezzetta of the Sudbury Wolves.
London Knights vs. Erie Otters (Erie leads 2-1)
Erie swept the Sarnia Sting in the first round, and will prove to be a huge challenge for Victor Mete and the rest of the Knights to contain. The Otters were the top team in the OHL this past season, scoring 22 more goals than the next best team, allowing the second-fewest goals all season, and taking the second-fewest amount of penalties. In other words: the Otters are a powerhouse.
That being said, the Knights did manage to shut out the Otters in Game One, but Mete did not participate in the scoring and has only registered a single point in this series.
Owen Sound Attack vs. Sault Ste. Marie Greyhounds (Series tied 2-2)
Michael McNiven did not have a great start to the series, getting pumped for four goals in each of the first two games of the series. In both of those games the Greyhounds directed 38 shots McNiven’s way, so the Attack will have to tighten their defence to reduce the workload on McNiven. In the second game McNiven was named the third star despite the loss.
By the third game of the series the tables turned and it was Owen Sound who had around 40 shots on the Greyhounds, with Petrus Palmu having nine of them to himself. In fact, Palmu earned first-star honours for the game, scoring a goal and adding an assist. He is two points behind the playoff leader right now with 15 points. By the fourth game McNiven was once again named a star of the game, this time in a winning cause.
Here are all of Petrus Palmu’s points from the first round:
Quebec Major Junior Hockey League
Antoine Waked probably did not make the impression he was hoping to make with Canadiens brass, as he got injured early in the opening game of the first round and did not return before Rouyn-Noranda was eliminated.
Saint John Sea Dogs vs. Val D’Or Foreurs (Sea Dogs sweep 4-0)
The Sea Dogs remain one of two undefeated teams in the QMJHL playoffs, the other being the Charlottetown Islanders, having swept the Foreurs de Val D’Or in four games.
The regular season champion Sea Dogs were pushed to overtime in the first game of the series, winning 2-1 in the end, but the second game was a much easier romp for the Sea Dogs and by the third they won 7-3. The final game was a 7-1 slaughter.
Simon Bourque continues to be active offensively putting up four points in that fourth game, scoring the series-winning goal and adding three assists. He also scored the series-winning goal in the first round series against the Rimouski Oceanic.
Cape Breton Screaming Eagles vs. Charlottetown Islanders (Islanders leading 3-0)
Speaking of those undefeated Islanders, they are quite convincing in their wins against the Screaming Eagles. Only Giovanni Fiore seems to be getting much offence against them, scoring in each game, and earning second star in game number two for his six shots on net and the first star of the game in game three for his two goals and ten shots. Fiore remains one of the top Canadiens-related offensive prospects in the playoffs.
Western Hockey League
Canadiens tryout Michael Zipp quickly exited the playoffs as his Calgary Hitmen fell in four games in the first round. Zipp, the captain of the Hitmen, did not contribute offensively at all in the losing effort.
Everett Silvertips vs. Seattle Thunderbirds (Thunderbirds up 3-0)
Not a great start for Noah Juulsen and the Silvertips who lost three one-goal games in the series. These two teams were very close in the regular season standings, with Everett winning 100 points, while the Thunderbirds got 98 points. This series can yet turn, however the Thunderbirds are thus far undefeated in the playoffs and are carrying all the momentum.
Should Everett be eliminated Juulsen will probably either see action with the IceCaps in the AHL playoffs or be called up as part of the NHL black aces squad for the Montreal Canadiens. I would be surprised if his season ended with an elimination in junior.
Medicine Hat Tigers vs. Lethbridge Hurricanes (Series tied 2-2)
Lethbridge is a hard team to contain, and it shows in the scores of the games thus far, as the Hurricanes have won 7-4 and 5-2. Medicine Hat did come out strong in the first game of the series however and shutout the Hurricanes 4-0, then the pummelling began. Five unanswered goals for the Hurricanes in game three brought into question the Tigers’ fighting spirit.
Matt Bradley chose the right time to get going however, earning an assist on the overtime goal in game four for Medicine Hat, tying up the series at two.
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