Monday, May 25, 2009

NA Championship Update

First off, Happy Memorial Day Everyone!

What an upset the Windsor Spitfires pulled off, from the verge of elimination to being crowned champions of major junior hockey. After losses to Kelowna and Drummondville, a win against the Rimouski Oceanic kept them alive to where it started a rally in which 3 wins in 4 days put them in the championship against the WHL Champions Kelowna Rockets. Then in the title game, a 3 goal surge in 4 minutes made the difference in a 4-1 win over as Adam Henrique, Dale Mitchell, and Rob Kwiet in the 1st period overwhelm the Jamie Benn led Rockets throughout the game as the Spitfires defense took over to win the game 4-1.

For Kelowna, a bad ending to a great season for the Rockets after Kelowna won their first 2 games. It was mostly a rusty after having 4 days off between the end of the round robin and the championship game might have had an impact and a raging Spitfires squad who was the favorite took over the tournament.

Drummondville and espically Yannick Riendeau was probally the tournaments biggest disappoinment as the Bruins Prospect only scored 2 goals in the 4 games after having leading both the QMJHL Regular Season and Playoffs in scoring (126 PTS in Reg. Season, 52 PTS in Playoffs). Everyone knew that he needed to be a big time factor for the Voltigeurs to have a chance of winning and he came up short in the Memorial Cup. Drummondville after getting to the semifinal, they lost to Windsor 3-2 in OT after comming back from trailing 2-0.

Tournament Host Rimouski wanted to prove that they could be a strong host and did that early with some close games, after losing 4-1 to Kelowna in the openier, the Oceanic pulled off the biggest upset of the event by beating the Spitfires 5-4 after comming out on top 4-3 at the 2nd intermission which had a very wild 2nd period. Just 34 seconds into the 3rd period, Logan Macmillan scored early to make it 5-3 and were able to hold on the win. After losing to Drummondville in OT, they were ousted with a 6-4 loss by Windsor in the Tie Breaker Game.

Stanley Cup

Were on the verge of a Stanley Cup Rematch between the Detroit Red Wings and Pittsburgh Penguins as the Red Wings lead the Blackhawks 3-1. The only ray of hope for the Blackhawks was winning game 3 4-3 in OT. However, CHI Goalie Nikolai Khabibulin was injured in game 3 and had to put in Christobal Huet to finish the game. However in game 4, the the Blackhawks hopes quickly faded with a 6-1 DET win where starter Huet was pulled in favor of 3rd string goalie Corey Crawford after Huet gave up 3 goals early in the 2nd period to make it a 5-1 DET lead where the Red Wings basically clinched a 3-1 lead in the series. Game 4 is on May 27 and I would expect some Red Wings Celebrations in Detroit as I would expect them to clinch a Stanley Cup Final's Spot to attempt to defend their title.

For the Penguins, the last 2 games have been controled early and often. A 3 goal victory in game 2 and a 4 goal victory in game 3 have basically flushed the Hurricanes hopes out of this series. Sidney Crosby and Evgeni Malkin have come back since having a lackluster playoff run, now has 28 points and leading the playoffs in scoring. Carolina goalie has fallen off the universe in this series giving up 13 goals in the last 2 games and his GAA has fallen to a very average 2.65 GAA. It dosen't sound bad, but it's not good enough in the post season when you have players like Tim Thomas and Jonas Hiller who had great runs and for Hiller, almost ousted the Red Wings in the 2nd round by taking DET to 7 games.

Game 4 of the ECF is tomorrow night while game 5 of the WCF is on Wedesnday night and by Thursday. I would expect to start getting ready for the Stanley Cup Final which I hope will be a classic. A rematch in the Stanley Cup hasn't happened since 1984 between the Edmoton Oliers and the New York Islanders. Let's get the finals going!

Calder Cup

Just like the Stanley Cup Final, the AHL Calder Cup Championship is nearing a possible championship series as the Hershey Bears and the Manitoba Moose are both one win away from the championship series.

Previously to game 3, Manitoba looked like a buzz saw with a 3-0 series lead before the Aeros won game 4 in Houston with a 5-4 win in OT with Matt Beaudoin having a huge game with 2 goals and 2 assists including the OT game winner. Goalie Anton Khudobin has been great in these playoffs and has been a huge factor for the Aeros sucess, in 17 games he has a strong 2.70 GAA and a .900 SV%, the Kazakh goalie who has had injury problems in his AHL Career is comming up huge and the Moose are now knowing that the Aeros are here to fight to the death and that a Western Conference Title won't be easy.

Manitoba's success has be helped out by players like Mike Keane, who at 42 years old, still has proven that he can be a factor in the AHL and hopes to be a serious part of an AHL Calder Cup title. Also players like Jason Krog and Mike Bliznak who have been fantasic in the playoffs. Right now the Manitoba Moose should be considered the favorites to win the Calder Cup.

Earlier today, the Hershey Bears played a Memorial Day afternoon game where the Bears have clinched the Eastern Conference Championship with a 5-2 win over the Providence Bruins with 3 straight goals Chris Bourque, Darren Reid and Quintin Laing in the 3rd period to clinch a spot in the AHL Calder Cup Final.

Here's the story from game 5:

Hershey basically controlled the Eastern Final with winning 4 in a row after Providence won the series openier. For Hershey, the Bears will need players like Alexandre Giroux who's has an impressive 20 points in 16 games this year, goaltender Michal Neuvirth has been very strong with a great 2.03 GAA and a .929 SV%. If these players can contuine to play well against the Manitoba Moose most likely, it should be a great championship series.

Game 6 of the Manitoba VS. Houston will be taking place tonight at the MTS Center in Winnipeg, Manitoba at 7:05 PM.

Phoneix Coyotes situation

The last couple of weeks have been involved where the NHL has taken control of the team and one of the owners that would be intrestred has a claus that he would move the team to Hamilton, Ontario which is just outside of Toronto. Usually, I would want to do what ever it takes to keep a team from moving. However, the Phoenix Coyotes are unfixable where they are right now. Of all the teams in the Sun Belt Region of the USA, Phoenix has been the worst.

Other cities that some people who want them to move to either put a team back in Winnipeg or Quebec City. However, I would like to see a new city be considered. It's been amazing that in the entire history, neither the Pacific Northwest or Canada's Maritime Region have been considered. This would be a perfect time to consider these regions, you would expand the league and consider new cities that have never been in the NHL.

I want these regions to be rep. because these cities are both great sports towns. Seattle has a team in the Western Hockey League while Halifax, Nova Scoatia has been in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League and is one of the most est. teams in the Canadaien Maratime Region including making the league semifinals last season. Whenever the NHL considers moving or expanding, these cities need to be consdiered big time to grow a new fan base in new areas of North America.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Memorial Cup, Calder Cup and Stanley Cup Updates

Other then the Memorial Cup, Stanley Cup and the Calder Cup playoffs going on. It's been pretty slow in the hockey world right now. So on this post will be briefs from all 3 roads to the the championships.

Stanley Cup

With the Conference Finals now underway, it's starting to look like that we may be on a road to a rematch for the Stanley Cup as the Red Wings and Penguins are currently both up. Especially out west, where last night was game 2 in DET between the Red Wings and the Blackhawks as the Red wings now lead the series 2-0. The Blackhawks have done a great job to comeback from behind. However, the 2nd period in both games have been problematic as in game 1 where a goal from Johan Franzen helped the Red Wings tip the game in their favor to go up 2-1 on the way to a 5-2 win.

In game 2, CHI Toews scored first at the 12:49 mark of the 1st period, but the Red Wings struck back just 4 minutes later to tie at 1-1, in the 2nd and 3rd, it was a mostly defensively affair as the Red Wings scored late in the in the 2nd while Toews scored his 2nd of the game to tie at it at 2-2, in OT Marcus Samuelsson scored just 5 minutes into the extra period to win 3-2 to go up 2 games to none as the series now heads to CHI for games 3 and 4 coming up on Friday and Sunday.

Here's some things to follow in this series

Chicago to me has a chance because the Blackhawks is one of the few teams in the league that can keep up with Red Wings in both the Puck Possession and the speed. However, they need to sure up their defense as they haven't been able to keep a lead so far in the series.

Also, Nikolai Khabibulin is a much better goalie then Chris Osgood. Khabibulin has a strong GAA with just under 3 and does a much better job with better rebound control and can make the big saves, Osgood has benefited from a high scoring offense in where he is a mediocre goalie at best and most of the goals he's given up have been pretty soft and it almost cost them against Anaheim in the Conference Semifinals. During the regular season during the time he's been with the Red Wings, he hasn't played more then 46 games in a season and even spent some time in the AHL with the Grand Rapids Griffins during the 2005-2006 season. If the Blackhawks can slow down the pace of play and force Chris Osgood to make some big saves, the Blackhawks does have a chance despite being down 2-0.

Personally, I'm hoping the Red Wings don't win the Cup again because they just too dominant. Go Blackhawks.

Out east, it's the Penguins who drew first blood as the won 3-2 in a back and fourth game where Miroslav Satan and Evgeni Malkin scored just 90 seconds apart to give the Pens a 2-0 lead then Philippe Boucher to give them a 3-2 win.

Sidney Crosby who had a great series against Washington, had only 1 assist but had a great game defensively and goalie Marc-Andre Fleury stopping 23 of 25 shots including a huge part of blocked shots near the end of the game including a great shot from Jussi Jokinen where it just missed an open net that could have sent it to OT.

This series is going to depend on the goaltenders a lot as both Marc-Andre Flueury and Cam Ward are both real strong goalies with a lot of playoff experience and very durable.

Apart from the superstars, players like Philippe Boucher and Chad Larose will need to continue as hard working guys to get gritty and tough shots off while d men Sergei Gonchar will be a huge part of the D line for PIT while for the Hurricanes Joni Pitkanen will need to be huge to help Carolina.

Memorial Cup

With just one round robin game tonight between Drummondville and Rimouski, last night's win by the Spitfires put this tournament upside down. With the Spitfires waiting to see who they will play in the Tie Breaker Game and Kelowna already in the Final thanks to a 2-1 record and the best GD, they will be off until Sunday to determine who will they will play for the Memorial Cup.

Here's the Results so far in the Round Robin.

GM1: Kelowna Rockets 4 Rimouski Oceanic 1 (1-0, 2-0, 1-1)
GM2: Drummondville Voltigeurs 3 Windsor Spitfires 2 (OT) (0-0, 0-1, 2-1, 1-0)
GM3: Rimouski Oceanic 5 Windsor Spitfires 4 (0-0, 4-3, 1-1)
GM4: Drummondville Voltigeurs 4 Kelowna Rockets 6 (2-1, 1-2, 1-3)
GM5: Windsor Spitfires 2 Kelowna Rockets 1 (0-0, 1-1, 1-0)

Here's the reaming schedule, The loser will play Windsor in the Tie Breaker Game as both the 3rd and 4th place teams will be 1-2 while the winner will be 2-1 but with a less of a GD then Kelowna.

GM6: Rimouski Oceanic VS. Drummondville Voltigeurs

Tie Breaker: Drummondville/Rimouski Loser VS. Windsor Spitfires

Semifinal: Drummondville/Rimouski Winner VS. Tie Breaker Winner

Final: Kelowna Rockets VS. Semifinal Winner

The best player so far has been Jamie Benn by far, maybe the most impressive ind. performance in years took place on Monday night with a 4 goal game that he took over the game to clinch a spot in the Championship. The big question is other then who will they play in the Final is how will the long layoff affect them?

For Windsor, this has been a disappointing tournament with players like Taylor Hall and Andrei Loktionov who haven't been scoring like they did in the OHL Playoffs.

As for Drummondville, a strong tournament has a chance to get better with a win with Yannick Riendeau needing to play better as he only has 1 goal so far in the 2 games and will need to increase his scoring output if the Voltigeurs will have a chance of winning.

For Rimouski, they were wanting to perform strong at home, after getting pounded by Kelowna in the openier, the Oceanic came back strongly by beating the Spitfires 5-4 with 5 different goal scores in the game. A semifinal birth would be a very strong result for the host.

Calder Cup

The big story on the road to the Calder Cup has been the Manitoba Moose have been just a buzzsaw in which they haven't lost a game since April 19 (Game 3 of the 1st round Series against Toronto). Since then, the Moose sweeped Grand Rapids in the Division Final and are currently up 3-0 against the Houston Aeros. For the Moose, Jason Krog is 3rd overall in playoff scoring with 14 points (5G 9A) while it's the goaltending that Cory Schneider who has an amazing 1.76 GAA and a .935 SV%.

Right now, it may not matter who's going to play them from the Eastern Final between the Providence Bruins and the Hershey Bears, they look just too strong to be taken down.

In the Eastern Conference Final, both the Bears and Bruins are tied at 1-1 apeice with game the series off untill Friday night. In game 1, Providence took a close one on the road 3-2 with Marquardt scoring midway through the 3rd period, Providence almost got a great comeback with Oskar Osala's 4th goal of the playoffs. Then in game 2, the Hershey Bears fought back with all the goals scoring the 3rd period with Andrew Joudrey and Alexandre Giroux scored just 3 minutes apart to make it a 2-1 win with goaltender Michal Neuvirth stopping 25 of 26 saves and the only goal given up was a on the PP with 30 seconds left. This series is going to be a long one as they will be a great fight for the Eastern Conference Title, but a Moose team should be waiting as they probally will have a big advantage with a solid effort and playing far fewer games in the postseason.

The Moose have a chance to close out the West tonight will game 3 of the East will be on Friday.

Thursday, May 14, 2009

2009 Canadaien Junior Hockey Leagues Memorial Cup

The 4 teams that will compete for the Memorial Cup have been determined and will get started tomorrow night between the Western Hockey League Champions WHL Kelowna Rockets and the Tournament Host Rimouski Oceanic, while the OHL and QMJHL Champions between the Windsor Spitfires VS. Drummondville Voltigers will be coming up on Saturday afternoon.

For Dallas Stars fans, Jamie Benn will be the main story line as he hopes to end his junior career with WHL and Memorial Cup Titles after having a great playoff run where he lead the entire league in playoff scoring with 33 points (13G 20A). Some other players to watch for Kelowna include Goalie Mark Guggenberger who has been great in the playoffs with an impressive 2.36 GAA and a .907 SV% where teams have had a tough time with a strong defensive game as well. Kelowna chances could improve if some of their other scores like Cody Almond and Mikael Backlund will need to come up to keep up with players like Windsor's Taylor Hall and Drummondville's Yannick Riendeau. One thing that could help out the Rockets is that they were the 1st of the teams to win their league championship and clinch a Memorial Cup Spot, so they should be the most rested and should help them out in tomorrow's tournament openier, in addidition, Kelowna has been in the Memorial Cup a lot in recent years as this is their 4th Memorial Cup tournament this decade as they won the WHL in 2003 and 2005, and being the tournament host in 2004. This team will be dangerous, espically if the defense plays well. For Kelowna, they have recent history on their side as the WHL has won 5 of the last 8 Memorial Cups (Red Deer Rebels in 2001, Kootenay Ice in 2002, Kelowna Rockets in 2004, Vancouver Giants in 2007 and Spokane Cheifs last year). Also the WHL to me prepars teams and their players during the season where they travel the most of all the Major Junior Leagues (Espically in the Eastern Conference). Kelowna has been here many times before and will be playing well in the Cup.

This year's tournament host is the Rimouski Oceanic who after a slow start to the regular season, came on strong with a strong 44-23-1 record for 89 points who finished 2nd in the Quebec East Division behind the Quebec City Ramparts. Then in the playoffs, they beat Chicoutimi in a 4 game sweep, in the Quarterfinals being in against the Atlantic Division Champions Moncton Wildcats in 5 games then in the semifinals. They were elinmated by the Drummondville Voltigers in 4 straight where they eventully won the QMJHL Championship. If Rimouski is going to have a strong showing, their forwards will need as they goaltending has been a bit weak at times with Maxim Gougeon had a medicore 8-5 record with a 3.07 GAA during the playoffs and this is following a regular season where he had 2.94 GAA, he also has a hard time stopping saves even when he is getting help from their skaters. If Rimouski has any chance of having a strong showing at home, they goaltending will need to improve. As for the offense, Philippe Cornet lead the team in scoring with 77 Points (29G 48A) during the regular season but only had 4 goals in the playoffs. Rimouski will surely be the underdog at home espically showing their low seeding during the QMJHL Playoffs.

Many experts picks to win the Championship this year is the Windsor Spitfires. Looking at their stats and how few problems they had. Their's now surprise with the record of the 57-10-1 during the regular season, then losing only 4 games in the entire playoffs. Windsor had 5 players in the top 10 in playoff scoring including the top 2 in the combo of Taylor Hall and Andrei Loktionov which are a very dangerous, you can only hope to contain these 2 when they are on the ice. As for their goaltending, Andrew Engelage could be a game stealer as he proved that they he can steel games like they did against the London Knights where every game went to OT and showed to everyone that they can win all sorts of games. What makes them the experts favorite right now is the strong team defense as they had the fewest goals in the OHL allowed with just 171 goals and were 2nd overall in all of the major Juniors with only the Moncton Wildcats giving up only 149 Goals. To beat these guys, teams will need to attack the defense hard to have a chance to beat the Spitfires. They should be the favorites, because anyone can score in major juniors but the defense at this level just get's tourched and if you have a strong defense, you will have a chance here. Unfortanly for Windsor, the recent history of the OHL isn't good as they have won only twice in the last decade with the last champion comming in 2005 with the London Knights.

Finnally, the Drummondville Voltigers became the final team in the Memorial Cup as they beat the Shawinigan Catarctes in 7 games back on Tuesday night. Voltigers superstar, Yannick Riendeau who just signed with the Boston Bruins who scored an amazing 52 points (29G 23A) which just crushed everyone on the playoff scoring race including Dany Masse who scored an impressive 36 points and is a great player in his own right. Mike Hoffman and Christopher Didomenico are also on the oppenents watch list in this tournament. On Defense guys like Andrew Randazzo will be needed with a +17 with the regular season and is not afriad to take hits. Goaltending wise, Anaheim signee Marco Cousineau has been great since his trade from the Baie-Comeau Drakkar with a solid 2.44 GAA during the playoffs and a .910 in the GAA. If he can support players like Riendeau and Hoffman, Drummondville could be in great shape, espically if they can beat the OHL Windsor Spitfires on Saturday in their tournament openiner. The last QMJHL Team to win the Memorial Cup is the Quebec City Ramparts in 2006.

Here's how the teams got to the Memorial Cup

Kelowna Rockets (Western Hockey League Champions)

Regular Season

Record: 72 GP 47-21-4 98 PTS 267 GF 178 GA 3rd in Western Conference, 2nd in B.C. Division

Top Scores: Colin Long 68GP 91PTS (33G 58A), Jamie Benn 56 GP 82PTS (46G 36A), and Cody Almond 70GP 66PTS (33G 33A)


Top Score: Jamie Benn 19GP 33PTS (13G 20A)

Goaltending: Mark Guggenberger 16-6 2.36 GAA .907 SV%

Conference Quarterfinals
Beat Kamloops Blazers in 4

Conference Semifinals
Beat Tri-City Americans in 6

Conference Finals
Beat Vancouver Giants in 6

League Championship
Beat Calgary Hitmen in 6

Windsor Spitfires (Ontario Hockey League Champions)

Regular Season

Record: 57-10-1 115 PTS 311 GF 171 GA 1st in Western Conference, 1st in West Division

Top Scores: Taylor Hall 63 GP 90 PTS (38G 52A), Ryan Ellis 57GP 89 PTS (22G 67A), Greg Nemisz 65GP 77PTS (36G 41A)


Conference Quarterfinals
Beat Owen Sound Attack in 4

Conference Semifinals
Beat Plymouth Whalers in 6

Conference Finals
Beat London Knights in 5

League Championship
Beat Brampton Battalion in 5

Drummondville Voltigers (Quebec Major Junior Hockey League Champions)

Regular Season

Record: 68GP 54-10-4 112 PTS 345GF 189GA 1st in Quebec Central Division

Top Score: Yannick Riendeau 64GP 126PTS (58G 68A), Dany Masse 68GP 110 PTS (44G 66A), Mike Hoffman 62 GP 94 PTS (52G 42A)


Top Score: Yannick Riendeau 19GP 52PTS (29G 19A)

Divisional Round
Beat Lewiston Maineiacs in 4

League Quarterfinals
Beat Montreal De Junior in 4

League Semifinals
Beat Rimouski Oceanic in 4

League Championship
Beat Shawinigan Catarctes in 7

Rimouski Oceanic (Tournament Host)

Record: 68 GP 44-23-1 89PTS 267 GF 223GA 2nd in Quebec East Division

Top Scores: Philippe Cornet 63 GP 77PTS (29G, 48A) Sebastien Piche 62GP 72PTS (23G 49A)


Top Score: Kevin Veileux 13GP 19PTS (7G 12A)

Divisional Round
Beat Chicoutimi Sagueneens in 4

League Quarterfinals
Beat Moncton Wildcats in 5

League Semifinals
Lost to Drummondville Voltigers in 4

Monday, May 11, 2009

Texas Brahmas win CHL Presidents Cup Championship

After just dominating games 4 and 5 last week, the Texas Brahmas have won the 2009 CHL Preisdents Cup Championship with a 6-3 win back on Tuesday night and then a 6-3 win won Wedesnday night to clinch the Championship. In both games, the main part was 4 goal 2nd periods to help pull away from the Colorado Eagles with players like Justin Kinnen, Tyler Skworchinski and Brett Jeager who was just amazing during the playoffs where the Brahmas just lost 1 game at home during the playoffs, that game was game 1 against Odessa in the Southern Conference Final. On defense, of the big reasons for the championship was that they were able to control and isolate the top scores for the Eagles like Greg Pankewicz, Kevin Ulanski and Riley Nelson during the series. The only player for Colorado that was able to give the Brahmas any kind of trouble was Ed Mcgrane who scored 13 goals in the playoffs while no one else had more then 5 goals in the playoffs, remember this was a team that went 45-15-4 for 94 points and the best record overall during the Central Hockey League Regular season. What an amazing performance for the Brahmas during the playoffs which helped them win their first ever CHL Preisdents Cup Title.

A lot of celebration came over the weekend for the Brahmas, first on Friday, a Championship Party at the NYTEX Sports Center where the players, the coaching staff and owners were their with a bunch of fans and live music to celebrate and the Preisdents Cup was their for fans to see it and take pictures with it. Then on Saturday, the city of North Richland Hills held a parade in their honor and the celebrations are not over yet. Tonight at the North Richland Hills City Council Meeting, they will be officaly recognitionsed for their championship and will most likely have name a Texas Brahmas day comming up to honor them.

What makes this amazing that back in 2006, the future of the team was in limbo as the agreement with the city of Ft. Worth at the Ft. Worth Civic Center was out, and with very little success during their time there, including failing to make the playoffs 5 years in a row, not many cities were wanting to take them. However, give credit to the city of North Richland Hills for giving them a chance at the NYTEX Sports Center. Since then, it's nothing but good times and lots of success for the Brahmas. Last year, they went 40-22-2 which was good enough for 4th, they got back in the playoffs with a run that included knocking out the top seeded Bossier-Shreveport Mudbugs which got them to the Conference Final. Then this year, the return was complete with the top seed in the Southern Conference and winning a championship and getting revenge against the Eagles.

As for the team leaders during the post season, Jason Deitsch lead the team in scoring with 26 points (11G 15A). Goal scoring wise, Tyler Skworchinski led the team with 13 goals. Goaltending wise, Brett Jeager was fantastic with a 12-4 record with 1 shutout with a strong 2.20 GAA and a .930 SV% and came up with some great saves throughout the playoffs.

One thing we know for sure is that the Brahmas have entered a new era of success and with talent they have, th should be able to be a regular Championship Contender for years to come and fan base for the Brahmas is back and will contuine to make the NYTEX Sports Center a worst nightmare for opposing teams in the Central Hockey League and will contuine to exict fans in the D/FW Area.

Great Work Brahmas this year and let's get some more titles in years to come!!

Here's the Brahmas road to the Championship!

Regular Season

64 GP, 42-16-6 90PTS Southeast Division Champions, 1st in Southern Conference

Top Scores:
Scott Sheppard 57 GP 66PTS (32G 34A), Jordan Cameron 55GP 60PTS (23G 37A), Grant Jacobsen 61GP 55 PTS (21G 34A)

Brett Jeager 44GP 28-9-5 2SO 2.36 GAA .924 SV%, David Cacciola 25GP 14-7-1 3SO 2.76 GAA .912 SV%


Top Score
Jason Deitsch 16GP 26PTS (11G 15A)

Goaltending Brett Jeager Brett Jeager 12-4 1 SO 2.20 GAA .930 SV%

Playoff Results

Conference Semifinals VS. Rio Grande Valley Killer Bees

Brahmas win series 4-0

Game 1: 4-2 (W)
Game 2: 5-4 (W)
Game 3: 6-2 (W)
Game 4: 3-1 (W)

Conference Finals VS. Odessa Jackalopes

Brahmas Win Series 4-3

Game 1: 1-3 (L)
Game 2: 4-1 (W)
Game 3: 3-0 (W)
Game 4: 0-2 (L)
Game 5: 7-5 (W)
Game 6: 0-2 (L)
Game 7: 8-1 (W)

Presidents Cup Championship VS. Colorado Eagles

Brahmas Win Series 4-1

Game 1: 5-3 (W)
Game 2: 4-5 (OTL)
Game 3: 6-2 (W)
Game 4: 6-3 (W)
Game 5: 6-2 (W)

With the CHL Season now over, they will be a 2nd Dallas area team in the Central Hockey League starting up next season over in Allen. It will be called the Allen Americans. It was determined by the teams owners and it reflects the areas patriotisim and the Lone Star Pride the area has. The colors will be red, white and blue with a Star and a giant silver A inside the logo.

Here's a link with the logo:

As for the other new team entering the league next season is in Independence, Missouri. They will let area reisdents to vote on the list of the final 10 to find out what the new team will be called.

Here's the list of teams.

Independence Freedom
Independence Ice Hawks
Independence Outlaws
Independence Pioneers
Independence Presidents

Missouri Bullfrogs
Missouri Express
Missouri Maulers
Missouri Mavericks
Missouri Mules

Junior Update and the Memorial Cup.

The Canadaien Hockey League Memorial Cup get's underway on Friday and 3 of the 4 teams have been determined. 3 of the 4 teams have been determined as the WHL Champion Kelowna Rockets, OHL Champion Windsor Spitfires and the Tournament Host Rimouski Oceanic have clinched spots. The only spot left is in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) as the Drummondville Voltigers and the Shawinigan Catarctes as that series will head to a game 7 after Shawinigan have won the the last 2 games to comeback after Drummondville were up 3-1.

Out in the Western Hockey League (WHL), it's the Kelowna Rockets who are in the Memorial Cup for the 4th time this decade after taking out the Calgary Hitmen in 6 games. After Kelowna went up 3-0 and ended Calgary's 12 game playoff winning streak after sweeping the Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes and the Brandon Wheat Kings. The Hitmen cameback with wins in games 4 and 5. However, game 6 back on Saturday went to OT tied at 1-1 before Tyson Barrie was the OT hero winning the WHL 2-1 and winning the series in 6 games. Prior to Kelowna ousting Calgary, the Rockets knocked out the Kamloops Blazers, the Tri-City Americans, and the Vancouver Giants. Kelowna will open up against Tournament Host Rimouski Oceanic on Friday.

For the OHL Champion Windsor Spitfires, they were the best team from start to finish. After having a 57-10-1 record with an impressive 115 points during the Regular Season. They were a buzzsaw in the OHL Playoffs, they sweeped the Owen Sound Attack, then took out the Plymouth Whalers in 6 games in the Conference Semifinals, and then knocked the London Knights out the playoffs in 5 games where every game went to OT which includes this year's projected top NHL Draft Pick in John Tavares. Then in the Final, Brampton basically had no chance in the final as they were knocked out in 5 games. With players like Taylor Hall and Andrei Loktionov all having double digit goals in the playoffs, they could be very dangerous to take down the Memorial Cup.

This year's host is the Rimouski Oceanic who themselves had a good season where they went 44-23-1 for 89 PTS. In the postseason, making it to the league semifinals who got crushed Chicoutimi in the Divisional Round, then upset the #2 seed Moncton Wildcats before getting sweeped by the top seed Drummondville Voltigers in the league semifinals. Rimouski is looking to have a good showing in the Memorial Cup as the host after having solid seasons.

Only one spot left up for grabs as the Drummondville Voltigers and the Shawinigan Catarctes will play for the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) Championships after Shawinigan has won games 5 and 6 after comming back from a 3-1 series lead for Drummondville. Game 7 is tomorrow night and the winner will play the Windsor Spitfires in their opening game of the Memorial Cup on May 16.

Here's the schedule for the CHL Memorial Cup.

5/15, RR1, Rimouski Oceanic VS. Kelowna Rockets at 7:00
5/16, RR2, Windsor Spitfires VS. QMJHL Champions at 4:30
5/17, RR3, Rimouski Oceanic VS. Windsor Spitfires at 4:30
5/18, RR4, Kelowna Rockets VS. QMJHL Champions at 7:00
5/19, RR5, Kelowna Rockets VS. Windsor Spitfires at 7:00
5/20, RR6, QMJHL Champion VS. Rimouski Oceanic at 7:00
5/21, TIEB, If Needed at 7:00
5/22, SF, 3rd Seed VS. 2nd Seed at 7:00
5/24, Final, SF Winner VS. 1st Seed at 4:30

The Tie Breaker Game will only be played if their is a tie in the standings after the Round Robin.

USHL Clark Cup and RBC Cup

2 of the other top junior championships have been determined over the weekend as the Indiana Ice beat the expansion Fargo Force in 4 games.

For Indiana, they came out of a wide open East Division where the top 3 seeds Green Bay, Cedar Rapids and Indiana who finished just 2 points from each other at the end of the regular season. During the final, Fargo won the 1st game, but after that, the Ice just sent the Force a beat down outscoring them 16-3 while winning their 3 games to win the USHL Clark Cup.

The Force had a great showing in the regular season, despite finishing 3rd in the West Division Regular Season with a 32-23-5 record with 69 points, they were competivie in a huge majority of the games and were paired up against the Omaha Lancers in the 1st round where they just sweeped the Lancers. Then just had their way against the top seeded Lincoln Stars 3-0, for the Stars, they were hoping that this could be their year to win the Championship after finishing on top of the West by a secure 9 point margin and getting the West Final last year. For Fargo, they made history as only the 2nd expansion team ever to compete for the Clark Cup.

For the RBC Cup, the Vernon Vipers beat the Humboldt Broncos who were looking to defend their championship. For the Vipers, they were unbeaten 6-0 during the championships as they went 4-0 during the round robin, then in the semifinals, the Kingston Voyageurs were downed 6-3 then a goaltending duel was done as the Vipers beating the Broncos 2-0 last night to clinch the championship. For Vernon, this was a 5th national title for the Vipers and the first in a decade. They also have won the RBC Cup in 1990, 1991, 1996, and 1999.

The future of Mike Modano

Earlier today, Mike Modano made it offical that he will return for his 20th season for the Stars next season. Modano has the longest stay of any athelete in the Dallas area and told the team that he stays feels great and is exicted to have another shot at a Stanley Cup in the future. I had a feeling that he might have come back becuase with the talent we have right now and with his new role, to me, he has prehaps one more great shot at a championship in him and he is hungry to have a shot after the injury riddled season that had them out of the playoff race come season's end. This will be the final year of a 5 year contract and has played 1400 career games and has 1329 points in his 19 year career. I'm sure he wants the new season to get underway so bad when October gets year to have a year to have a shot at the playoffs.

Here's the story from the Dallas Stars Website:

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Texas Brahmas VS. Colorado Eagles Game 3

A 3 goal outburst in the 3rd period for the Brahmas have helped out the Brahmas from what was a very close and tight game into one where the Eagles penalties hurt them and the Brahmas went from up 3-2 and sweating it out to a 6-2 convincing win and is now just 2 wins away from winning the Preisdents Cup Championship.

First I was at this game and let me tell you, I would highly recommend going to a Brahmas hockey game at NYTEX Sports Center. What it lacks in arena size and the number of fans, it well more than makes up for the noise levels it creates and strikes a fear in oppenents where they have lost just 8 games all season at home and it creates an amazing atompshere where the fans have enjoyed the games all year. If you do want to go to a game at NYTEX, get your tickets early because the NYTEX only holds about 2500 and they will sell out quick. More on the arena a little bit later.

Tyler Skworchinski contunied a fantasic playoff run with his 12th goal of the postseason and the 1st of 2 when he scored on unassisted PP Goal 11 minutes in to make it 1-0. This was just part of a dominting 1st period where they were outshooting the Eagles 12-5 which included Travis Banga just missing a backhanded shot early in the game. As for later on, a fight between Grant Jacobsen and Kevin Ulanski who's one of the teams main enforcers in a fight early in the game. Later on in the period, Brett Jeager stopped a huge save with about 5 minutes left in the period on a Colorado PP with a great chance where he was helped by Justin Kinnunen to clear the zone. The SOG were 12-5 at the end of the 1st and the Brahmas were looking to contuine the great start throughout the game.

Ed Mcgrane helped out with his 1st of his 2 goals of the night when he tied at 1-1 with helpers from Pankewicz and Schneekloth from the faceoff at 8:04 of the 2nd on the PP. However, just 2 minutes later, Matt Quinn who usually is one of the last guys you would think of to score made it 2-1 just 2 minutes later to take back the lead. After the 2-1 lead, things got physical when some big time some penalties including Mcconnell for Texas and Jay Birnie roughed each other up on what should have been fighting majors but were only matching minors for roughing, Texas was given a PP when Greg Pankewicz was the 3rd man in and was also given a roughing minor. With about 5 minutes left in the 2nd, it looked like the Brahmas were going up 3-1 but Penner made a great stop on Matt Quinn on a great breakaway chance, however, the Eagles Ed Mcgrane was given a great pass to slam a great slap shot from the faceoff circle to make it 2-2 on a SH Chance. The question for the Brahmas, was could they anwser after tieing it at 2-2 again, the anwser was yes when Travis Banga flicked a shot into the corner to make it 3-2 with 1:57 left in the 2nd period from Benedict. With just 30 seconds left, Benedict committed a huge slashing penalty in which it created a huge P.K. to end the 2nd and start the 3rd.

After a huge penatly kill, the Brahmas got a huge momentum shift when Grant Jacobsen scored to make it 4-2 5 minutes into the 3rd period. The Eagles created a huge hole for themselves with several huge penatlies with Konrad Reeder committed a Butt Ending penalty which was a 5 minute major and then became a misconduct where he was ejected and then Kevin Mcclelland committed an abuse of officals penalty which gave the Brahmas a huge PP to help put the game away. The Brahmas did just that with goals from Tyler Skworchinski and Pete Rouleau as they scored less then 2 minutes apart to put the game out of reach at 6-2 and to help put the Brahmas in which they were put up 2-1 in the series with game 4 comming up on Tuesday night. This was a night were disicpline problems hurt the Eagles in which they had 37 penalty minutes on 13 infractions including the 10 minute miscounduct in which put the nail in their coffin.

What a night for the Brahmas in which just the fans were terrific, the noise level was great and the Brahmas have a chance to win the championship on home ice if they can win both games 4 and 5 comming up tonight and tomorrow night. This is a great place to see a game and the energy on the ice was just awesome, unlike the NHL, they don't have the talent to try to razzle and dazzle you. So they get by with their speed and physicality where it brings it own exictment all throughout the energy.

I would highly reccomnd just anyone who works in hockey from setting up tournaments, working in leagues and if you are looking for a place to play some games, this is a great place. I also think that the Dallas Metroplex High School Hockey League should play some games here because it's a small enough place where you could be able to fill most of the venue (Espically for League and State Championships). This is not just a great hockey place, but it also has an area for indoor soccer and volleyball in which they could probally be easily be madeover to a basketball court, this is a great multi indoor sports arena that I don't know why hasn't been known about more because it's a great place for sports.

Dallas area player goes high in WHL Bantam Draft

A member by the name of Seth Jones of the Dallas Stars Bantam AAA team was drafted 11th overall by the WHL Everett Silvertips. He's a defensemen with great mobility with a great wrist shot and is working on a slap shot. The 15 year old will probally start out with his Bantam team or possibly with a Junior A team in Canada before he gets his chance with the Silvertips. Overall the Silvertips took 11 players overall and with a team that struggled this season where they finished 7th with a record 27-36-9 with 63 points before losing to the Tri-City Americans in the 1st round in 5 games.

In addidition to Seth Jones, another dallas player went in the WHL Bantam Draft was D Cole Martin who was selected in the 3rd round by the Kelowna Rockets which traded from the Prince Albert Raiders.

Congrats to both players who were selected and good luck to them as they contuine they travel and junior careers.

Monday, May 4, 2009

Texas Brahmas VS. Colorado Eagles Game 2

Game 2 of the Presidents Cup saw another see saw game where you had several lead changes and event went into OT where Ed Mcgrane who's had a great playoffs scored early in OT to tie the best of 7 series at 1-1.

A fast start to the game in Colorado with Riley Nelson scoring just 2 minutes in with his 5th goal of the playoffs with a great pass just outside the face off circle from Jay Birnie to put them up 1-0. After that, the Eagles went into penalty trouble where they spent 8 minutes in the box, fortunately for the Eagles were able to fend off the Brahmas PP till Scott Sheppard scored the 1st of 2 PP Goals just over 2 minutes from each other where Jason Deitsch helped him to put the Brahmas up 2-1 lead into the 1st intermission. Texas were looking to keep their momentum going after winning game 1 in Colorado.

If the Brahmas were looking to keep the Eagles down in the series, as for the Eagles they had problems. For the 2nd straight game, the Eagles controlled the 2nd period out shooting the Brahmas by a huge margin, but Jeager was able to keep them at bay untill F Konrad Reeder at the 7:16 mark of the 2nd period on the PP with the Assists from Schneekloth and Hogg to help tie it at 2-2 nearly midway into the game. Later in the period just about when the Eagles PP was to expire, one of the Defensemen that usually brings a physical presence to the team, Scott Polaski scored his 1st goal of the playoffs to take a 3-2 lead with help of Hogg's 2nd assist of the 2nd period and Erik Adams who has 0 goals but 7 assists in the playoffs put them up 3-2 late in the 2nd period where it was looking like it would be to tie up the series at 1-1.

With the 3rd period underway and the Colorado Eagles extended the lead to 4-2 just 3 minutes with a quick wrist shot from Jay Birinie with help from Hogg who had his 3rd assist of the game and Hammond who just blew away everone to help out with the breakaway to pass from Hogg who got it to Polaski to score and put the Eagles up 2. A timeout after the Eagles 4th goals was spose to regroup and try a new stragey, it worked like magic just 16 seconds after the face off as Jason Deitsch got the Brahmas back into the game by making it a 4-3 lead barley 4 minutes into the 3rd period. Sheppard flicked a bandhand pass to Sheppard who was waiting behind the goal line where he crashed Eagles goalie Andrew Penner to put behind the net. After that goal, the Eagles were playing a prevent defense to keep the Brahmas from tieing the game. Nine minutes into the 3rd period, the Brahmas Brandon Benedict helped the Brhamas tie the game at 4-4 to tie it and where it would eventully go into OT.

The Eagles were able to control play in the extra period when Ed Mcgrane received a cross ice pass on a breakaway where he zipped a great wrist shot passed Brahmas goalie Brett Jeager to help the Eagles win the game 5-4 in OT and tie the series at 1-1. Colorado outshot Texas 5-4 but controled play and were playing with a desperation not wanting to go into games 3, 4, and 5 down 2-0 in the Championship Series.

With the 2 games in Colorado behind us, the series shifts to the NYTEX Sports Center in North Richaland Hills, Texas for game 3 on Sunday May 3 in an afternoon game, then game 4 will be May 5 while game 5 will be on May 6. If the series returns for Colorado for games 6 and 7, Game 6 at the Budwiser Events Center will be on Friday May 8 with game 7 if needed would be on Sunday May 10 to decide the Central Hockey League Championship.

Through 2 games in this series, The Eagles will need to play and win in high scoring games as Colorado Goalie Andrew Penner isn't good enough where he would need to be the 1st star of the game. For Brett Jeager, he's proving to be a real strong part of the team as he has been great helping the team be able to comeback when they are behind and can keep a game tied where he was able to allow the Brahmas to come back to force game 2 to OT. For Penner to be sucessful in this series, he will need to get some help from his defense and will need to get some shots blocked to help him out.

Players like Tyler Skworchinski and Scott Sheppard are the best scores on this team, with Skworchinski 13 and Sheppard's 10 goals, they also have great abilties to set up with them having 5 and 6 assists. Deitsch has also been having a great playoff run be leading the team in assists in the playoffs with 14. Mike Vellinga has been pounding oppenets by forcing off their game and has an impressive +8 in the playoffs and can shut you down by stealing passes and setting up forwards going the other way on the ice. The Brahmas for the most part are in control in this series and they contuine to play well, they will without a doubt will win the Championship.

Calder Cup Update

Each of the 4 Division Final Series are 2 games into the American Hockey League Calder Cup Playoffs as the Houston Aeros took down the Peoria Rivermen in 7 games in the West Division Semifinals. Right now, it's the Milwaukee Admrials which are currently tied at 1-1 in the West Division Final. With the first 2 games in Milwaukee, the Aeros took game 1 2-1 while the Admrials took game 2 of the series 4-1 at home. Now the series will shift to the Toyota Center for games 3, 4, and 5 as game 3 will be tomorrow night as the Aeros hope to take a 2-1 lead at home and will need to hope players like Corey Locke who is leading the team in scoring during the playoffs with 10 PTS (4G, 6A) and Anton Khudobin with a strong 2.40 GAA so far in the playoffs. Their defense has been a questionable at times so far with being tied for giving the most goals with 22 given up. If they are going to have a long run, they will need to sure up the defense and committ to blocking shots which has been questioned at times this season.

Here's how the AHL Division Finals are going right now.

Atlantic Division

Providence Bruins VS. Worchester Sharks: Providence leads series 1-0

East Division

Hershey Bears VS. W/B Scranton Penguins: Hershey leads series 2-0

North Division

Manitoba Moose VS. Grand Rapids Griffins: Manitoba leads series 2-0

West Division

Milwaukee Admirals VS. Houston Aeros: Series tied at 1-1

Will Sergei Zubov Retire?

With Sergei Zubov having injury problems and having his current contract expring this season. One of the biggest questions the Stars will have this season is about Sergei Zubov leaving the team or possibly retiring all together. The last 2 years, Zubov has only played in 56 games combined, including only 10 in the 2008-09 season. This past year, he went out with a hip injury that basically kept him out from Jan. through the end of the season, if you ask me, he needs to offically announce retirement to allow one of their young defensemen to take a chance to be the teams #1 injury, somebody like Matt Niskanen or even Trevor Daley who has developed as a great player who can pass really well and can skate, deliver and take hits throughout the ice. He's had a great career both in the NHL and for the Russian National Team, but his time has gone and needs to step aside for the young defensemen to take a bigger role on the team. If he tries to comeback and has another injury plauged season, it could spell bad news on the defensive side of the ice like what happened this season.

Friday, May 1, 2009

Texas Brahmas VS. Colorado Eagles Game 1

Game 1 saw a see saw battle with lead changes, some great hits and what will set up as a great series for the Central Hockey League Championship. After being down 3-2 to start up the 3rd period, Brahmas Forwards Tyler Skworchinski and Scott Sheppard scored just 12 seconds apart to make it a 4-3 lead, then with 4 minutes left Jordan Cameron put the game away to win 5-3.

The Game got off to a cautios start with both teams not wanting to give up an early goal. In addidition, very few penalties early so the checking was a bit down. The game got going with a contversal tripping call which Eagles fans thought was weak. A minute later, the Brahmas scored first with Tyler Skworchinski's 10th goal of the playoffs at the 11:09 mark of the 1st period. 4 Minutes later for the Eagles, Kevin Ulanski scored his 5th of the post season to make it 1-1 which was a rebound from Ed Mcgrane that Brahmas goalie stopped Brett Jeager stopped but couldn't stop the rebound. With just a minute left in the 1st, and near the end of the PP, Brahmas D Justin Kinnunen sent a slap shot was delfected by Matt Quinn to give it a 2-1 lead. The pace started slow but picked up big time near the end of the period.

In the 2nd period, it was a tale of two halves as the Brahmas looked to contuine and build on their 1st period lead as they peppered Eagles Goalie Andrew Penner where the Brahmas were outshooting 24-13 at one point but Penner kept the Eagles in the game, including killing a Greg Pankewicz penalty midway through the game where the Brahmas hit the post on a great chance that would have put them up 3-1. However, the only goal of the period as Ulanski set up a Steve Haddon goal which tied the game at 2-2 and turned momentum in their favor. After tieing it at 2-2, the Eagles went spent huge chunks of time in the Brahmas zone outshooting them 10-1. With the game tied at 2-2, the Eagles looked to have the edge.

2 minutes into the 3rd period, Colorado took their first and only lead of the game when Kevin Ulanski scored on a perfect tape to tape pass from the face off circle to put them up 3-2. However, the lead wouldn't last very long as Tyler Skworchinski who scored his team leading 11th of the playoffs to tie it at 3-3 from Deitsch and Benedict, then just 12 seconds later, Scott Sheppard recevied a pass and took it him self on a pretty play to put the puck passed Penner into the upper right corner of the net and just like that, the Brahmas took a 4-3 lead 6 minutes into the 3rd period. Then with just 4 minutes left in the game, Jordan Cameron who has really improved his game from last year scored his 3rd of the playoffs to put the game out of reach as it trickled over the goal line to win it 5-3.


This will be a very close series throughout with the Brahmas having the advantage at home with them being next to impossible to beat. For the Eagles, this is their 4th Championship Series in 6 years winning in 2005 and 2007. However, this is the Brahmas year, they have too many offensive weapons, better goaltending and they want to put some revenge from the Eagles knocking out the Brahmas last year in the Northern Conference Final.

My Pick Brahmas in 6

What to watch in this series:

Tyler Skworchinski could be a big time MVP Canaditie if Texas wins the Championship by leading the team in goal scoring and his defense has picked up since just late in the regular season.

Brett Jeager and Andrew Penner have been fantasic in this series and with both teams having great offenses with a .938 SV% and a 1.95 GAA during the playoffs for Jeager. While Penner has been playing well with a 2.92 GAA and a .925 SV% in the playoffs in what has been his first major playoff run. Jeager has been performing better so that they will give him the edge.

If Texas wins game 2 tonight, they will make it hard for the Eagles to come back with the best home record in the CHL this season. During the regular season, they went an impressive 26-5-1 record during the regular season and just 1 loss in the playoffs which was game 1 in the Conference Final against Odessa.

In case your wondering, i'm going to be at game 3 of the CHL Championship series comming up on Sunday afternoon at the NYTEX Sports Center in North Richaland Hills. I will probally be wearing one of my Dallas Stars T-Shirts if you want to find me near the ice rink. If you are going to be their, I would like for you to show up and support the Brahmas on the road to the Central Hockey League Preisdents Cup Championship.

Here's a website of the NYTEX Sports Center:

In addidition, their's a video about the center on the website.

Junior Update:

The North American Hockey League is in the Round Robin Stage of the Robertson Cup Championship Tournament in Mason City, Iowa. Through 3 days of the 5 team, 4 game format. It's starting to come a 3 team race between the Mahoning Valley Phantoms, Wenatchee Wild, and the 2 time defending champions St. Louis Bandits. Bismarck and North Iowa are pretty much elinmated from Championship Contention with 0-2 records. Last night between the Mahoning Valley Phantoms and Wenatchee Wild was probally one of the wilder games in recent years as the Phantoms were up 4-0 midway through the game, however, the Wild came back with 4 goals in a row to force OT then DJ Vandercook scored his 3rd of the night to complete the come back and win and keep their Championship Hopes alive. The Round Robin ends on Saturday with the top 2 teams will compete for the Robertson Cup Championship on Sunday Afternoon at 2:00 PM.

My prediction here is the St. Louis Bandits will take on the Mahoning Valley Phantoms will play for the Championship. If this happens, this would mark the 3rd straight year they would play each other in the championship

Here's the Results so far and the reaming schedule

Day 1
Mahoning Valley Phantoms 4 Bismarck Bobcats 2 (3-0, 0-1, 1-1)
North Iowa Outlaws 3 Wenatchee Wild 4 (0-1, 2-2, 1-1)

Day 2
Wenatchee Wild 0 St. Louis Bandits 6 (0-1, 0-3, 0-2)
North Iowa Outlaws 1 Mahoning Valley Phantoms 2 (1-1, 0-1, 0-0)

Day 3
Wenatchee Wild 5 Mahoning Valley Phantoms 4 (OT) (0-2, 2-2, 2-0, 1-0)
Bismarck Bobcats 2 St. Louis Bandits 5 (0-2, 2-1, 0-2)

Day 4
Mahoning Valley Phantoms VS. St. Louis Bandits
North Iowa Outlaws VS. Bismarck Bobcats

Day 5
Wenatchee Wild VS. Bismarck Bobcats
North Iowa Outlaws VS. St. Louis Bandits

Early games start at 3:00 PM CDT, Late Games start at 7:30 PM CDT

Championship Game
2nd Round Robin VS. 1st Round Robin

The Championship Game will start at 2:00 PM CDT on Sunday

Last night was the opening game of the Ontario Hockey League Championship as the Windsor Spitfires just killed the Brampton Battalion 10-1 with the help of a 3rd period hat trick and some great early efforts of Russian Phenom Andrei Loktionov in the 1st period with the 1st 2 goals in the game. Windsor is cleary the best team in the OHL all year long and this series will finish up quick for Windsor.

The Championship Series in the Western Hockey League (WHL), Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL) and the United States Hockey League (USHL) get under way tonight.

In the WHL, Watch out for Jamie Benn of Kelowna, the Stars prospect is leading the entire playoffs in scoring with 28 points (11G, 17A). For Calgary, they have reached the WHL Championship with an unbeaten record with sweeps over the Edmonton Oil Kings, Lethbridge Hurricanes and Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference Playoffs. Goalie Martin Jones with an impressive 1.68 GAA in the playoffs.

It will be an all Central Division Final as the Drummondville Voltigers VS. Shawinigan Catarctes. These teams had the best records with both teams having over 50 wins durin the regular season and scoring over 300 goals during the regular season.

For the USHL, it's the 3 seeds between the Fargo Force and the Indiana Ice with Indiana having home ice advantage because of a better regular season record. During the playoffs, Fargo has knocked out the defending Clark Cup Champions Omaha Lancers and the top seeded Lincoln Stars sweeping both teams in 3 games. For Indiana, they knocked out the Cedar Rapids Roughriders in 5 games which included comming back from a 2-1 decefet after going down 2-1 and then in the Division Final, it was the Green Bay Gamblers in 4 games where they won the 1st game and then after comming back at 1-1, they won both games 3 and 4 while scoring 9 goals in the 2 games to get them to the Championship Series. For Fargo, they only the 2nd expansion team ever to make the Clark Cup and are hoping to be the 1st expansion team to ever win the USHL Championship.