Monday, March 15, 2010

Western Hockey League Eastern Conference Quarterfinals

The Western Hockey League's Eastern Conference is shaping up to be the toughest Conference to advance from in this year's Road to the Memorial Cup. With the top 3 teams looking to battle who all have 100+ points as the Calgary Hitmen were probably one of the big surprises in Brandon Kozun carrying the scoring load and at 107 points, earned him the WHL's Scoring Title this season.

Brandon is looking to their forwards of Matt Calvert, Brayden Schenn and Scott Glennie to have another long playoff run before running into the Calgary Hitmen who were just a buzzsaw during the Eastern Conference Playoffs last season. In addidition to the top 3, the Wheat Kings are loaded with scoring options with 8 players scoring at least 20 goals this season.

Brandon's Goaltending has improved a lot over the course of the regular season when the Wheat Kings brought Jacob De Serres who started the year as Calvin Pickard's Backup in Seattle. In 32 games with the Kings this season, he had an impressive 25-5-1 and gave up just 83 goals during the season.

Saskatoon boast a strong defense as the Blades come in to the Playoffs with some strong and big guys. The Blades boast a big Defensemen line with all but 2 D-Men being 6'0" or taller. So the Blades have the ability to beat you up as well. Defensemen Scoring could be key for a strong run in which they looking for redemption after losing to the Lethbridge Hurricanes after finishing 2nd in the East last year.

On Defense, Colby Robak finished 4th in Defensemen Scoring with 66 points (16G 50A) this season. Saskatoon also has Travis Hamonic and Alexander Urbom who are dangerous on the blueline as well.

The always enterainting 4-5 series will have the Medicine Hat Tigers and the Kootenay Ice who was one of the best teams in the 2nd half of the season. One of the more promosing Americans in this year's Draft Class is California Native Emerson Etem who was in the Top Prospects Game this season and scored 37 goals this season.

Kootenay has one of the more underrated goalies who played an impressive 55 games for a goalie at this level and had a 2.75 GAA who has improved his game big time since starting the season with the Moose Jaw Warriors.

The League's bottom 3 teams in Red Deer, Swift Current and Moose Jaw are looking to raise some havoic and cause an upset this season.

Red Deer has a great scorer in Willie Coetzee who's looking to get back in the grove in the post-season. During the last part of the regular season he scored just 5 goals in the last 11 games, but he's had 2 major scoring droughts with an 8 game drought back in Feb. and he's currently on a 5 game scoring drought to end the regular season.

Also look for Slovak Stud in Andrej Kudrna who scored 30 this season for the Rebels after getting traded from Vancouver early on in the season after a bad start to the season. He has also 24 assists, but needs to improve his defense as he's a -11 this season. This is a start regression after his season with Vancouver where he was a +9 for the season.

Swift Current and Moose Jaw were able to pull away from Prince Albert in the final month of the regular season. For Swift Current especially, they will need to be able to cool off the fire power that Brandon will be brining. The Broncos have Cody Eakin who finished in a tie for 3rd in goals with 47 this season along with Brandon's Matt Calvert. The question, can any of the secondary scoring come through with players like Justin Dowling and Michael Stickland

Moose Jaw fizzled after the first couple of months of the season. The major issue for the Warriors is the lack of defense that has kept the Warriors down this season, they don't have a fast defense to keep up with teams like Calgary and Brandon in the Eastern Conference and this won't be a great matchup for the Warriors against the Hitmen to start the playoffs.

#1 Calgary Hitmen VS. #8 Moose Jaw Warriors

Calgary Hitmen Regular Season Record: 52-17-3 107 PTS 269 GF 177 GA

Calgary Leading Scorers

Brandon Kozun 65 GP 107 PTS (32G 75A) (WHL Scoring Champion)

Tyler Shattock 72 GP 78 PTS (30G 48A)

Joel Broda 66 GP 73 PTS (39G 34A)

Calgary Goaltending

Martin Jones 48 GP 36-11-1 2.21 GAA .919 SV%

Michael Snider 24 GP 16-5-2 2.54 GAA .901 SV%

Moose Jaw Warriors Regular Season Record: 33-27-12 78 PTS, 243 GF 247 GA

Moose Jaw Leading Scorers

Quinton Howden 65 GP 65 PTS (28G 37A)

Jason Bast 60 GP 64 PTS (33G 31A)

Brenden Rowinski 68 GP 61 PTS (30G 31A)

Moose Jaw Goaltending

Jeff Bosch 24-19-6 3.18 GAA .903 SV%

Brandon Glover 30 GP 9-8-6 3.40 GAA .890 SV%

All Calgary Hitmen Home Games are @ Pengrowth Saddledome

All Moose Jaw Warriors Home Games are @ Moose Jaw Civic Center

Game 1, 3/18: @ Calgary 8:00 PM

Game 2, 3/20: @ Calgary 8:00 PM

Game 3, 3/22: @ Moose Jaw 8:00 PM

Game 4, 3/23: @ Moose Jaw 8:00 PM

Game 5, 3/25: @ Calgary 8:00 PM*

Game 6, 3/27: @ Moose Jaw 8:00 PM*

Game 7, 3/29: @ Calgary 8:00 PM*

*If Necessary

#2 Brandon Wheat Kings VS. #7 Swift Current Broncos

Brandon Wheat Kings Regular Season Record: 50-18-4

Brandon Wheat Kings Leading Scorers

Matt Calvert 68 GP 99 PTS (47G 52A)

Brayden Schenn 59 GP 99 PTS (34G 65A)

Scott Glennie 66 GP 89 PTS (32G 57A)

Brandon Wheat Kings Goalies

Andrew Hayes 42 GP 25-12-2 2.68 GAA .906 SV%

Jacob De Serres 35 GP 25-8-2 2.91 GAA .899 SV%

Swift Current Broncos Regular Season Record: 37-30-5 79 PTS, 231 GF 232 GA

Swift Current Top Scorers

Cody Eakin 70 GP 91 PTS (47G 44A)

Justin Dowling 72 GP 78 PTS (32G 46A)

Michael Stickland 69 GP 57 PTS (25G 32A)

Swift Current Goaltending

Morgan Clark 46 GP 24-14-3 2.92 GAA .907 SV%

Mark Friesen 47 GP 17-20-5 3.17 GAA .899 SV%

All Brandon Wheat Kings Home Games are @ Westman Place

All Swift Current Broncos Home Games are @ Credit Union I-Plex

Game 1, 3/19: @ Brandon 7:30 PM

Game 2, 3/20: @ Brandon 7:30 PM

Game 3, 3/23: @ Swift Current 8:00 PM

Game 4, 3/24: @ Swift Current 8:00 PM

Game 5, 3/26: @ Brandon 7:30 PM*

Game 6, 3/29: @ Swift Current 8:00 PM*

Game 7, 3/31: @ Brandon 7:00 PM*

*If Necessary

#3 Saskatoon Blades VS. #6 Red Deer Rebels

Saskatoon Blades Regular Season Schedule: 46-19-7 99 PTS, 258 GF 227 GA

Saskatoon Leading Scorers

Derek Hulak 72 GP 84 PTS (31G 53A)

Walker Wintoneak 70 GP 74 PTS (25G 49A)

Stefan Elliott 72 GP 65 PTS (26G 39A)

Saskatoon Goaltending

Steven Sanford 44 GP 28-8-4 2.72 GAA .902 SV%

Adam Morrison 36 GP 18-13-3 3.29 GAA .895 SV%

Red Deer Rebels Regular Season Record: 39-28-5 83 PTS, 202 GF 222 GA

Red Deer Leading Scorers

Willie Coetzee 72 GP 81 PTS (29G 52A)

Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 67 GP 65 PTS (24G 41A)

Andrej Kudrna 69 GP 54 PTS (30G 24A)

Red Deer Goaltending

Darcy Kuemper 61 GP 28-23-4 2.73 GAA .908SV%

Kraymer Barnstable 27 GP 11-5-1 3.32 GAA .888 SV%

All Saskatoon Blades Games are @ Credit Union Center

All Red Deer Rebels Games are @ Enmax Centrium

Game 1, 3/20: @ Saskatoon 8:05 PM

Game 2, 3/21: @ Saskatoon 8:05 PM

Game 3, 3/24: @ Red Deer 8:00 PM

Game 4, 3/25: @ Red Deer 8:00 PM

Game 5, 3/27: @ Saskatoon 8:05 PM*

Game 6, 3/29: @ Red Deer 8:00 PM*

Game 7, 3/31: @ Saskatoon 8:05 PM*

*If Necessary

#4 Kootenay Ice VS. #5 Medicine Hat Tigers

Kootenay Ice Regular Season Record: 43-24-5 91 PTS, 252 GF 215 GA

Kootenay Leading Scorers

Dustin Sylvester 68 GP 93 PTS (35G 58 A)

Steele Boomer 71 GP 67 PTS (26G 41 A)

Kevin King 69 GP 63 PTS (28 G 35 A)

Kootenay Goaltending

Todd Mathews 55 GP 33-14-5 2.75 GAA .907 SV%

Nathan Lieuwen 26 GP 10-10-0 3.09 GAA .896 SV%

Medicine Hat Tigers Regular Season Record: 41-23-8 90 PTS, 276 GF 232 GA

Medicine Hat Scoring Leaders

Linden Vey 72 GP 75 PTS (24G 51A)

Wacey Hamilton 67 GP 71 PTS (24G 47A)

Bretton Cameron 68 GP 67 PTS (40G 27A)

Medicine Hat Goaltending

Tyler Bunz 57 GP 31-19-5 2.91 GAA .898 SV%

Deven Dubyk 21 GP 9-4-2 3.45 GAA .896 SV%

All Kootenay Ice Home Games are @ Cranbrook Rec. Place

All Medicine Hat Tigers Games are @ Medicine Hat Arena

Game 1, 3/19: @ Kootenay 8:00 PM

Game 2, 3/20: @ Kootenay 8:00 PM

Game 3, 3/23: @ Medicine Hat 8:00 PM

Game 4, 3/24: @ Medicine Hat 8:00 PM

Game 5, 3/26: @ Kootenay 8:00 PM*

Game 6, 3/28: @ Medicine Hat 7:30 PM*

Game 7, 3/30: @ Kootenay 8:00 PM*

*If Necessary

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