Monday, March 19, 2012

Southwest Prospects Weekend Wrap Up, Canadian Hockey League Edition

After a very busy weekend where the NCAA Hockey Conference Championships & Canadian Hockey League Regular Season has wrapped up this weekend. Here's a look at how Southwest Based Standouts did over the Weekend and where they will be playing as the NCAA Hockey Tournament & the Canadian Hockey League Playoffs begin later this week.

Here's the NCAA Hockey Tournament Brackets, as well as the 1st Round Schedules for the Ontario Hockey League (OHL), Western Hockey League (WHL). The Quebec Major Junior Hockey League 1st Round Schedule hasn't been released yet.

Plymouth only played in one game as the Whalers had an uphill climb to take over the #1 Seed in the Western Conference as the London Knights were finishing their final 3 game in 3 day stretch where the Knights held most of the major tiebreakers between the #1 &; #2 Seeds. Noesen ended the regular season on a red hot stretch by scoring a goal a game (11 Goals in 11 Games) which included a hat trick against the Oshawa Generals on February 24th and a 2 goal game against Owen Sound on March 11. In addition to his 11 goals, he also added 5 assists during the final stretch of the season to show that he can help set up teammates like Richard Rankell.

Noesen finished the Regular Season on top of the Plymouth Whalers Scoring for the 2nd straight year with an impressive 82 points where he surpassed his total for goals from last year (38 this year, 33 last year) and will be looked upon again to have a huge playoff run where the Whalers pulled off a huge upset of the Kitchener Rangers in the OHL Western Conference Quarterfinals last season before losing to the eventual Champions Owen Sound Attack. During last year's playoff run, the Plano Native was able to score 11 points in 11 games which included a team leading 6 goals during the run that saw them reach the Western Conference Semifinals last season.

This year the Playoffs for the Whalers will be getting underway on Friday March 23rd when Plymouth will play the #7 Seeded Guelph Storm in a best of 7 series. Guelph finished the regular season with a .500 record with a 31-31-6 record and the Whalers good for 68 points during the regular season and the Whalers were able to win 3 of the 4 regular season head-to-head matches where all 4 games turned out to be high scoring games which included an 8-4 win in November & a 7-5 win in December. So expect to see some fireworks to erupt in this playoff series which starts Friday Night in Plymouth, Michigan.

Here's the #2 Plymouth Whalers VS. #7 Guelph Storm Series Schedule

3/23, GM 1: @ Plymouth  6:05 PM

3/25, GM 2: @ Guelph  5:35 PM

3/27, GM 3: @ Plymouth  6:05 PM

3/29, GM 4: @ Guelph  6:05 PM

3/31, GM 5*: @ Plymouth  6:05 PM

4/1, GM 6*: @ Guelph  5:35 PM

4/3, GM 7*: @ Plymouth  6:05 PM

After the Kelowna Rockets have had their #6 Seed in the WHL Western Conference locked up for a couple of weeks now, this was about making sure the Rockets were solid and ready to go when the WHL Playoffs begin this week as the Rockets will face a very tough Portland Winterhawks that just missed out on the U.S. Division Title & the #1 Seed by 2 points against the Tri-City Americans.

He hasn't been the kind of person that puts up big stats as Martin finished the regular season with 15 points (1G 14A), he scored his only goal of the season in an OT Winner against the Regina Pats back in December. His game is more of a 2 way defensemen as he looks to improve his speed to help out on counterattacks to be the defensemen that could force turnovers and look to perform breakouts, he's been working on improving his faceoffs over the course of the regular season.

This past weekend saw the Rockets end the regular season in strong form as they were able to get 3 out of 4 points in a home-and-home weekend against the Vancouver Giants. On Friday, the Rockets put the Giants on notice where despite losing the game, 5-4 in OT, Kelowna was up 3-1 in the 2nd and 4-3 in the 3rd that the Giants were able to tie it at up on both occasion's. Vancouver's Jordan Martinook finished up a hat trick that was able get him his 40th goal of the year just over a minute in the OT to win the game, 5-4.

The Next night saw the Rockets win a SO where the roles were reversed where the Giants scored the opening goal, then Moar, Rigby & Lees each scored to make it 3-1. Then after the Giants came back to tie the game at 3-3 in the final 5 and a half minutes in the 3rd period to force the SO where Rockets Left Winger Zach Franko scored the only goal in the SO to give the Rockets a 4-3 victory to finish the regular season.

Kelowna will be the #6 Seed in the WHL Western Conference Playoffs and will head to Oregon to open up the series on Friday & Saturday with Kelowna hosting Game 3 & 4 next Tuesday & Thursday as the Rockets will look for some magic that the 2008-09 team had when they won the WHL Championship and came just one win short of the Memorial Cup that saw them lose to the Windsor Spitfires that year.

Here's the #3 Portland Winterhawks VS. #6 Kelowna Rockets Schedule

3/23, GM 1: @ Portland  9:00 PM

3/24, GM 2: @ Portland  9:00 PM

3/27, GM 3: @ Kelowna  9:05 PM

3/29, GM 4: @ Kelowna  9:05 PM

3/31, GM 5*: @ Portland  9:00 PM

4/2, GM 6*: @ Kelowna  9:05 PM

4/4, GM 7*: @ Portland  9:00 PM

Unlike Noesen & Martin who already had playoff spots clinched, Colin Jacob's Seattle Thunderbirds was in a playoff battle for the last several weeks that came up short for the 2nd straight year for the Thunderbirds as they failed to make the playoffs as Seattle got drilled, 8-2, in their season finale and lost a critical game to the Everett Silvertips, 6-4, that would have knocked out of the Everett Silvertips from the Playoff Race and would have seen Seattle clinch the League's Final Playoff Spot. Instead, it will be the Everett Silvertips advancing to the Playoffs instead of the Thunderbirds who will be on the outside looking in for the 3rd straight year.

Jacobs finished the regular season by playing in 44 games after he was out for most of the 1st half of the season with shoulder problems who didn't make his season debut till December 12th. He finished the regular season with 19 points (9G 10A) with a -18 and 46 penalty minutes. He was focused on improving his defensive and physical game as his shoulders were getting better over the course of the 2nd half of the season. 

Those numbers don't sound great but this was a Thunderbirds Team that scored the 2nd fewest goals in the season (173), only Prince George had scored fewer with 166. Seattle also had the worst GD in the league with a -119 over the course of the season, so it made it very difficult for the Thunderbirds to have a competitive shot at the playoffs. For them to keep it this close all the way to end of the season should be considered a strong feat in itself.

1 comment:

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