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#WHLPlayoffs Roundup: Americans rout Royals on the Island to begin Round Two series

Jonathon Howe

 

Swift Current Broncos (3) at Moose Jaw Warriors (5)
Moose Jaw leads series 1-0
Game 2: Saturday, April 7 – Mosaic Place, Moose Jaw, Sask. – 7:00 p.m. MT

The Moose Jaw Warriors picked up where they left off on Tuesday, scoring a big win over an East Division rival with a 5-3 decision against the Swift Current Broncos to take a 1-0 lead in their Round Two series.

Tanner Jeannot (Nashville Predators) scored a pair of goals while 2018 NHL Draft prospect Justin Almeida had a goal and an assist in the winning cause.

It was all Warriors in the first half of the game. Jayden Halbgewachs (San Jose Sharks) got the only goal of the first as he redirected a Brandon Schuldhaus shot. Then in the second with the Warriors buzzing on the power play, the puck bounced around in the slot and wound up on the stick of Almeida, who wired it past Stuart Skinner to double the home side’s lead.

Less than three minutes later, the Warriors were adding to their lead as Jeannot tipped a point shot from Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings) to make it a 3-0 game. The Broncos would find their way on the scoreboard late in the middle period as Sahvan Khaira put the puck on net from the right half wall, with it finding it’s way through traffic to get the visitors on the board.

The Broncos continued to chip away at the lead early in the third. Andrew Fyten broke up ice on a short-handed rush and drove to the front of the net before depositing the puck past Brody Willms to bring the Broncos within a goal. The Warriors would quickly restore the two-goal lead though as Brayden Burke (Arizona Coyotes) pounced on a loose rebound at the side of the net.

The goals from Coyotes prospects would continue minutes later for the other side as Tyler Steenbergen (Arizona Coyotes) was fed a perfect pass from Aleksi Heponiemi (Florida Panthers) in the slot and made no mistake on his seventh of the post-season.

That would be all from the Broncos though as the Warriors added an empty-net goal late and held on for the victory.

Willms finished with 25 saves on 28 shots in the victory. Skinner stopped 20 of 24 shots in the loss.

The quartet of captain Brett Howden (New York Rangers), Josh Brook (Montreal Canadiens), Clague, and Schuldhaus each had a pair of assists in the contest. Fyten had the lone multi-point game for Swift Current.

Brandon Wheat Kings (1) at Lethbridge Hurricanes (5)
Lethbridge leads series 1-0
Game 2: Saturday, April 7 – Enmax Centre, Lethbridge, Alta. – 7:00 p.m. MT

The Lethbridge Hurricanes remained perfect on home ice in the 2018 WHL Playoffs Friday, opening their Round Two series against the Brandon Wheat Kings with a 5-1 victory.

Hurricanes captain Jordy Bellerive (Pittsburgh Penguins) and teammate Taylor Ross each scored twice as the Hurricanes took the first lead in the series.

The Hurricanes struck short-handed for the first goal of the series as both Ross and Jadon Joseph created a rush up ice with Joseph controlling the puck. Joseph would eventually feed it over to Ross with a perfect pass and the Kronau, Sask. did the rest for his seventh goal of the post-season. Three minutes later, Bellerive cleaned up his own rebound to double the Hurricanes lead, a lead they’d take into the second.

Responding back in the middle period were the Wheat Kings, as Marcus Sekundiak beat Logan Flodell by batting the puck out of midair on a rebound in front of the net to cut the Hurricanes’ lead in half.

Lethbridge kept coming though as they maintained their solid reputation on the power play. Picking up the puck in the slot, Logan Barlage’s shot was turned aside, but the rebound came directly to Joseph, who was ready to score from a sharp angle at the side of the net, restoring the two-goal lead.

Early in the third, it was another power play and another rebound cleaned up in front of the net as Ross tallied his second of the contest. Bellerive closed out the game with his sixth of the post-season, the Hurricanes’ fourth power-play goal of the game.

Flodell stopped 25 of 26 shots for the victory while Dylan Myskiw took the loss, stopping 30 of 35 shots.

Brad Morrison and 2018 NHL Draft Prospect Calen Addison picked up where they left off from Round One as each tallied three assists in the victory. Joseph finish with a multi-point game himself, recording a goal and an assist.

Braden Schneider and Ben McCartney had the lone assists for the Wheat Kings in the loss.

Tri-City Americans (7) at Victoria Royals (0)
Tri-Cities leads series 1-0
Game 2: Saturday, April 7 – Save-On-Foods Memorial Arena, Victoria, B.C. – 7:05 p.m. PT

So that week off for the Tri-City Americans may have only made them stronger.

A 27-save shutout from Patrick Dea and an offensive explosion featuring seven different goal scorers led the way in a rout of the Victoria Royals Friday night to begin their Round Two series.

Captain Michael Rasmussen (Detroit Red Wings) had the only goal of the first period, one that would stand up as the game-winner while his teammates added a trio of goals in each of the second and third periods.

Dea stopped eight shot in the first, eight in the second, and 11 in the third. He’s the first Americans goaltender to record a shutout in the WHL Playoffs since…Dea himself shutout the Kelowna Rockets in Game one of their series back on March 22. Dea also helped his team’s offensive efforts in the contest, picking up a secondary assist on Bean’s goal midway through the second period.

Goals from WHL Player of the Month Morgan Geekie (Carolina Hurricanes), Jake Bean (Carolina Hurricanes), and Nolan Yaremko featured in the second.

Dylan Coghlan (Vegas Golden Knights), Jordan Topping and Parker AuCoin added goals in the third as the Americans scored seven or more goals for the second time in the 2018 WHL Playoffs.

Rasmussen and Geekie each finished with a goal and three points while Yaremko, Coghlan, and Bean finished with a goal and an assist. Noah Gregor led the Royals with six shots.

Griffen Outhouse stopped 31 shots in the loss. Dean McNabb made a single save in a minute-and-a-half of action.

Portland Winterhawks (5) at Everett Silvertips (2)
Portland leads series 1-0
Game 2: Saturday, April 7 – Angel of the Winds Arena, Everett, Wash. – 7:05 p.m. PT

The Portland Winterhawks waltzed into Everett and took Game One of their WHL Playoffs Round Two series with a clinical 5-2 victory over the top team in the Western Conference.

The Winterhawks’ core of leading stars contributed to the team’s offensive showing, but it was a win largely inspired by players further down on the club’s depth chart.

Goals in the first period from Jake Gricius and Conor MacEachern came in the first 10 minutes of the contest. Gricius’ goal came 2:13 into the game as John Ludvig’s shot rebounded off Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) and to an awaiting Gricius in front of the net, who made no mistake on burying his second of the post-season. Seven minutes later, it was MacEachern’s turn to strike on a similar play as Reece Newkirk put the initial shot on net, with the Prince George, B.C. product tallying his first of post-season.

John Ludvig also tallied his first of the playoffs, adding the the Winterhawks’ lead early in the second, picking up on the loose puck that had deflected into slot and firing it on net, through a group of bodies and into the net for Portland’s third goal of the game.

Matt Fonteyne got the Everett Silvertips back in the game, batting the puck out of mid-air for his fourth of the post-season. Sean Richards would bring the Silvertips within a goal late in the second period, but before the home side could press for the equalizer, Kieffer Bellows (New York Islanders) and Skyler McKenzie (Winnipeg Jets) connected for an incredible goal that would stand up as the insurance marker in the game.

Cody Glass (Vegas Golden Knights) added the lone goal of the third period to close out the victory.

Cole Kehler (Los Angeles Kings) continued to have the Silvertips’ number, stopping 32 of 34 shots in the contest. Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers) turned aside 31 of 36 shots in the loss.

Bellows and rookie Ty Kolle each finished with a pair of assists in the contest. Ludvig had a goal and an assist in the victory.

#WHLPlayoffs schedule for Saturday, April 7
Game 2 – Swift Current Broncos at Moose Jaw Warriors – 7:00 p.m. MT (MJ leads 1-0)
Game 2 – Brandon Wheat Kings at Lethbridge Hurricanes – 7:00 p.m. MT (LET leads 1-0)
Game 2 – Tri-City Americans at Victoria Royals – 7:05 p.m. PT (TC leads 1-0)
Game 2 – Portland Winterhawks at Everett Silvertips – 7:05 p.m. PT (POR leads 1-0)

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