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- Happy Wednesday everybody!
- The 2016 WHL post season is upon us! To say I am excited for Friday night would be an understatement. Today I want to break down the matchup between the Pats and the Hurricanes and take a look at the other series in the Eastern Conference so lets get right to it.
- PATS VS HURRICANES - If the regular season is any indication, this is shaping up to be an incredible exciting series. The Pats went 3-1-0-0 in the four meetings during the season series and outscored the Canes 24-22. The four games were nothing short of offensive slug fests, the two teams averaged a combined 11.50 goals per game.
As you can imagine the goaltending numbers are nothing to aspire too. The Hurricanes Stuart Skinner in 4 appearances went 1-2-0-0 with a 4.86 GAA and a .857 save percentage. Jayden Sittler in 2 appearances against Regina was 0-0-0-1 with a 6.47 GAA and a .850 save percentage. The Pats Tyler Brown meanwhile was 2-1-0-0 in the season series with a 5.20 GAA and a .880 save percentage. The numbers don't necessarily reflect the play of the goalies however, the teams in front of them just gave up a ton of chances and if not for some massive saves, the two clubs would have combined for 20 plus goals a game. It's been that wide open.
The Pats are led by Adam Brooks who has 10 points in four games against Lethbridge, Cole Sanford has 8 and Lane Zablocki 6. The Canes Brayden Burke has 13 points against the Pats and Tyler Wong 11.
It will be a battle of two of the leagues top three scorers during the regular season. Adam Brooks led the WHL with 120 points and Brayden Burke of the Hurricanes finished third with 109 points.
The Hurricanes own the leagues top powerplay with a 28.9 % success rate during the regular season. The Pats powerplay was tied for 15th at 19.0%. The Pats PK was 12th at 78.4 % and had the third most short handed goals with 13. The Hurricanes penalty kill was 79.3 %. In the season series, the Pats scored 4 goals on 14 powerplays while the Canes scored 5 times on 14 man advantages.
The Pats went 20-13-2-1 on home ice and 16-15-1-4 on the road. The Canes were 28-7-0-1 on home ice and 18-17-1-0 on the road. The Pats were 1-1-0-0 in Lethbridge and 2-0-0-0 at home in the season series. The Pats went 21-13-0-3 after the Christmas break while the Hurricanes were 22-13-1-1. Only two other teams in the Eastern Conference had 20 plus wins after the break, they were Brandon and Red Deer.
This one could go the distance, and as always, I will refrain from making a prediction in the series the Pats are playing in.
- OIL KINGS VS WHEAT KINGS - For the third consecutive season Brandon will take on Edmonton in the playoffs. The Oil Kings beat the Medicine Hat Tigers in the one game play in last night 6-4. Brandon went 1-1-1-1 against Edmonton in the season series, the most recent game however was an 8-3 Wheat Kings win on February 19th. Brandon was led by Jayce Hawryluk who had 6 points in the season series while Edmonton's Brett Pollock had 8 points. The Wheat Kings won 9 straight to finish the regular season and in my opinion will make quick work of the Oil Kings in this one. I would be surprised if Edmonton wins a single game.
- WARRIORS VS RAIDERS - Prince Albert is the second seed in the East Division taking on the 3rd seeded Warriors. However Moose Jaw to me is the favorite to win the series. The Warriors went 6-2-0-0 in the season series and won the last five. Moose Jaw outscored Prince Albert 31-24 in the 8 games played. Dryden Hunt and Brayden Point have run roughshod on the Raiders, each recording 15 points, Hunt in 8 games and Point in 7. Zach Sawchenko has been equally as good in the Warriors goal with a 6-1-0-0 record, a 2.27 GAA and a .926 save percentage. The Raiders Jordan Tkatch and Reid Gardiner each have 7 points in the 8 games against Moose Jaw while Rylan Parenteau was 1-5-0-0 in goal with a 3.87 GAA and a .877 save percentage. The playoffs are a new season and both teams kind of limped to the finish but it seems the matchup really favours the Warriors in this one. I'm taking Moose Jaw in 6.
- HITMEN VS REBELS - Well right off the bat, the schedule for this series is a tough one. The two teams will play three games in three days to start with game 3 going in Calgary at 4 o'clock on Sunday afternoon. They will then enjoy four days off before game 4. The joys of playing in an NHL city... The Hitmen won the season series with the 2016 Mastercard Memorial Cup hosts with a 4-2-0-1 record. A couple of Calgary defenceman were the difference, Travis Sanheim and Jake Bean each had 10 points against the Rebels. Red Deer won 8 of 10 to close out the year and Calgary 7 of 10. I think it's going to come down to who gets the better goaltending and that's almost too close to call but I will take the Rebels in 7.
- Out West I have the Royals over the Chiefs in 4, Kelowna to beat Kamloops in 6, Seattle over Prince George in 6 and Everett to beat Portland in 5. Other than the Wheat Kings and Royals who I think will make quick work of their round one opponents, the other 6 series really could go either way. This is going to be an incredible playoffs.
- I made my case Sunday for Adam Brooks to be named the WHL Player of the year. If you missed it, have a read here.
- The WHL Bantam Draft lottery will be held this morning at the WHL Office in Calgary to determine the order of the first six selections in the first round of the 2016 WHL Bantam Draft. The lottery will involve the six non-playoff teams (Kootenay, Vancouver, Saskatoon, Swift Current, Tri-City, and Medicine Hat) from the 2015-16 season. A team may only move up a maximum of two positions in the WHL Bantam Draft. The 2016 WHL Bantam Draft will be held in Calgary, AB, on Thursday, May 5, 2016. The lottery selection will be available live online at WHL.ca.
- Be sure to catch tonight's episode of Pats TV on Access 7 starting at 6:30. My guests this week are Adam Brooks, Colby Williams and goaltendign coach Rob Muntain.
That's all I have for today, have a great week and talk to you from the rink Friday night!