#WHLPlayoffs Roundup: Howden’s OT heroics lift Warriors to Game Three win

David Zammit


Lethbridge Hurricanes (4) at Brandon Wheat Kings (5)
Lethbridge leads series 2-1
Game 4: Wednesday, April 11 – Westoba Place, Brandon, Man. – 7:00 p.m. CT

The Brandon Wheat Kings aren’t done yet.

The Wheaties answered back to a 2-0 deficit in their series Tuesday with a 5-4 win against the visiting Lethbridge Hurricanes, always staying one step ahead of the Hurricanes, even if just momentarily. As a result, the series is guaranteed to go back to southern Alberta for at least one more game.

2018 NHL Draft prospect Luka Burzan scored twice while Stelio Mattheos (Carolina Hurricanes) added a goal and four points in the victory. Ty Lewis (Colorado Avalanche) and Linden McCorrister each had a goal and three points in the victory too compliment the offensive effort.

The game’s first goal belonged to McCorrister, the last player to score a goal in Manitoba during the 2018 WHL Playoffs. The Game Six overtime hero from Round One was circling in the slot as Connor Gutenberg forced a turnover behind the net and fed it out front to McCorrister, who buried his fifth of the post-season.

Logan Barlage would answer back for the Hurricanes 13 minutes later though, placing himself in the perfect spot to tip home Zane Franklin’s centering attempt, with the Humboldt, Sask. product pointing to the sky afterwards in a moment of remembrance.

That tie wouldn’t last long though as Lewis benefited from a goal mouth scramble, capitalizing on a loose puck and sending it past Flodell to restore the one-goal lead heading to the second period.

Just 2:54 into the second though, 2018 NHL Draft prospect Calen Addison jumped up into the rush as the Hurricanes broke up ice, trailing behind enough to get the puck with time and space, making a move on the one Wheat Kings defender and wiring the puck past Dylan Myskiw to reset the game once again.

All of 18 seconds later though, Burzan had his first game as an immediate response to make it one-goal advantage for the Wheat Kings. Brad Morrison would convert on another odd-man rush for the Hurricanes, making it a 3-3 contest, but late second period goals from Burzan and Mattheos would stretch the Wheat Kings’ lead to two after 40 minutes.

Morrison struck in the third, but it wasn’t enough to deny the Wheat Kings the victory Tuesday, handing the Hurricanes their first loss in the series.

Myskiw finished with 35 saves on 39 shots in the win while Flodell made 35 saves on 40 shots in the loss. Taylor Ross had a pair of assists for the Hurricanes.

Moose Jaw Warriors (4) at Swift Current Broncos (3) – (OT)
Moose Jaw leads series 2-1
Game 4: Wednesday, April 11 –  Innovation Credit Union i-Plex, Swift Current, Sask. – 7:00 p.m. MT

Brett Howden (New York Rangers) came through in the clutch once again for the Moose Jaw Warriors Tuesday.

The captain had two goals, making one count as the game-winner 2:49 into overtime to put his Warriors up 2-1 in their best-of-seven Round Two series.

It was the Broncos who opened the scoring though as Aleksi Heponiemi (Florida Panthers) hooked up another perfect feed to Broncos captain Glenn Gawdin (Calgary Flames) for his seventh of the post-season. Brayden Burke (Arizona Coyotes) and Jayden Halbgewachs (San Jose Sharks) would strike back later in the first and then early in the second respectively to secure the visitor’s first lead of the game.

The Broncos would respond back with their own pair of goals though as Matteo Gennaro and Artyom Minulin struck for the Broncos 2:35 apart, placing the pressure back on the Warriors.

Searching for the equalizing goal in the third, Burke delivered for the Warriors 5:11 into the final period of regulation, tipping a shot from Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings) before Howden ended things in overtime just minutes in.

Brody Willms stopped 20 of 23 shots for the victory. Stuart Skinner (Edmonton Oilers) stopped 27 of 31 in the loss.

Burke finished with a pair of goals and an assist while Clague and Tanner Jeannot (Nashville Predators) each added a pair of assists. Heponiemi had a pair of assists for the Broncos in the loss.

Victoria Royals (5) at Tri-City Americans (6)
Tri-Cities leads series 3-0
Game 4: Wednesday, April 11  – Toyota Centre, Kennewick, Wash. – 7:05 p.m. PT

The Tri-City Americans survived a strong pushback from the Victoria Royals Tuesday, but held on for the Game Three victory, moving a win away from advancing to the Western Conference Championship with a 6-5 defeat of their north of the border rivals.

Morgan Geekie (Carolina Hurricanes) had his second hat trick of the 2018 WHL Playoffs, finishing with four points while captain Michael Rasmussen added a goal and three assist for a similar four-point effort. Jake Bean (Carolina Hurricanes) had a five-assist performance, easily setting a career-high for the 19-year-old from Calgary, Alta.

The Americans roared out to a 5-0 lead by the early stages of the third. Geekie and Nolan Yaremko scored 59 seconds apart in the first, followed by a pair of second period strikes by Geekie to make it a 4-0 game after 40 minutes.

In the third, Dylan Coghlan (Vegas Golden Knights) made it a 5-0 game, but that would kickstart the Royals’ comeback attempt.

Just 57 seconds after Coghlan’s goal, Igor Martynov got the Royals on the board followed by a goal from Tarun Fizer four minutes later. Goals from Lane Zablocki (Detroit Red Wings) and Dante Hannoun made it a one-goal game late in the period, but the Royals had to expose their open net in order to maintain the pressure, resulting in an empty-net goal from Michael Rasmussen (Detroit Red Wings) that would stand up as the game-winning goal.

Andrei Grishakov scored with mere seconds left in the contest to round out the 11-goal game after a seven-goal third period.

Vaughn CHL Goaltender of the Week Patrick Dea stopped 27 of 32 shots in the tight victory. Griffen Outhouse finished with 25 saves on 30 shots in the loss.

Yaremko and Coghlan each finished with a goal and an assist in the contest. Zablocki and Martynov each had a goal and an assist to lead the Royals.

Everett Silvertips (6) at Portland Winterhawks (2)
Everett leads series 2-1
Game 4: Thursday, April 12 – Moda Centre, Portland, Ore. – 7:05 p.m. PT

The Everett Silvertips remained perfect on the road in the 2018 WHL Playoffs, winning a 6-2 battle against the Portland Winterhawks to take their first lead in the best-of-seven series Tuesday.

2018 NHL Draft prospect Riley Sutter scored twice while Connor Dewar and Bryce Kindopp each added a goal and an assist in the victory. Carter Hart (Philadelphia Flyers )stopped 40 of 42 shots for his 16th career WHL Playoffs victory.

A pair of goals from Sutter and Kindopp’s second of the post-season featured in the first period for the Silvertips while Dennis Cholowski (Detroit Red Wings) responded for the Winterhawks.

Kieffer Bellows (New York Islanders) would score 14:11 into the second to bring Portland within a goal, but just 38 seconds later, Reece Vitelli answered back to restore the two-goal cushion for the Silvertips.

Goals from Martin Fasko-Rudas and Dewar featured in the third period as the Silvertips suppressed all 14 of the Winterhawks’ shots.

Joachim Blichfeld (San Jose Sharks) had a pair of assists in the loss for the Winterhawks. Cole Kehler (Los Angeles Kings) stopped 22 of 27 shots as Dewar’s goal went into the empty net with 2:05 left in regulation.

Patrick Bajkov (Florida Panthers) and Kevin Davis each had a pair of assists while five other Silvertips recorded a single assist in the victory.

#WHLPlayoffs schedule for Wednesday, April 11
Game 4 – Lethbridge Hurricanes at Brandon Wheat Kings – 7:00 p.m. CT (LET leads 2-1)
Game 4 – Moose Jaw Warriors at Swift Current Broncos – 7:00 p.m. MT (MJ leads 2-1)
Game 4 – Victoria Royals at Tri-City Americans – 7:05 p.m. PT (TC leads 3-0)

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