#WHLPlayoffs Roundup: Warriors, Royals, and Winterhawks advance to second round on final night of Round One

Dayna Fjord/Jonathon Howe/Marc Smith


Prince Albert Raiders (4) at Moose Jaw Warriors (5)
Moose Jaw wins series 4-3

After seven hard-fought games, the Moose Jaw Warriors are heading on to the second round of the 2018 WHL Playoffs.

They aren’t leaving the Prince Albert Raiders far behind though. The two teams battled for the entirety of the series from the opening puck drop of Game One until the puck was cleared from the Warriors’ zone in the dying seconds of Game Seven.

Brayden Burke (Arizona Coyotes) had his 14th point of the series stand up as the series-winning goal as he helped push the Warriors back on top with 3:50 to go in the contest to cap off a wild third period.

The first period was perhaps the craziest of the game and series though as the first 11:38 featured five goals from the two clubs. Justin Nachbaur opened the scoring with his second of the series, tipping a shot from the point by Zach Hayes 88 seconds into the game. Parker Kelly (Ottawa Senators) tallied his second of the post-season 4:31 later as Sean Montgomery anticipated a clearing attempt by the Warriors and fed the puck to Kelly out front, who caught Brody Willms off-guard to make it a 2-0 game.

Always one to have a response, the Warriors answered back with their top offensive threat in Jayden Halbgewachs (San Jose Sharks), who picked up a rebound off a Kale Clague (Los Angeles Kings) shot and beat a stretched out Ian Scott (Toronto Maple Leafs) to revive the crowd at Mosaic Place. Just 25 seconds later, a clearing attempt by the Raiders came back to haunt them as it deflected off one of their own defencemen and past Scott for the tying goal, credited to the nearby Ryan Peckford.

Kelly would cap off the wild period with his second of the game, restoring the Raiders’ lead heading to the second.

The game would tighten up in the second, with defence more on an emphasis after the first period flurry. The Warriors would find just enough time to tie up the game though as Burke found Justin Almeida with a slick pass for his first of the contest.

The flurry of action returned in full force in the third. The Raiders were buzzing for the series upset and got their chance midway through the period on a penalty shot that beat Willms, but not the post to keep the game tied.

As fate had it, the Warriors struck moments after the Raiders’ missed penalty shot attempt. Almeida was streaking through the slot for only a moment, but it was just long enough to redirect another pass from Burke to make it a 4-3 game.

Put on the power play late in the third, it appeared as though the Radiers’ hopes were sunk. That was until the Raiders countered, headed up ice and captain Curtis Miske found Brayden Pachal for the short-handed strike.

It was a day that ultimately belonged to the Warriors through as Burke controlled the puck without much pressure around him, took the open shot from the high slot area with traffic in front of him and beat Scott for the series-winning goal.

Clague finished the contest with four assists while Burke had a goal and three points to finish with the multi-point efforts for the Warriors alongside Almeida’s two-goal performance. In addition to Kelly’s two goals, Pachal finished with a goal and an assist in the game.

Willms stopped 24 of 28 shots to earn the series victory for Moose Jaw. Scott turned aside 21 of 26 in the loss.

Raiders captain Curtis Miske led all Raiders with 10 points (3G-7A) in the series while Sean Montgomery and Cole Fonstad led the team with four goals each. Burke led the Warriors in goals and points during the series with 14 points (6G-8A) in the seven games.

The Warriors will now advance to face the Swift Current Broncos in the second round of the 2018 WHL Playoffs.

Vancouver Giants (3) at Victoria Royals (4)
Victoria wins series 4-3

Matthew Phillips (Calgary Flames) did it all once again to lead the Victoria Royals to a win.

That’s a phrase you could’ve said about any of Victoria’s four wins in their Round One series against the Vancouver Giants, but it was especially true Tuesday as he scoring twice, including the game-winning goal, and was out on the ice blocking a shot in the dying seconds to confirm the series victory on home ice.

The Royals had the perfect start to the game, finding the score sheet early and keeping the Giants off the board until later on in the contest.

Chaz Reddekopp (Los Angeles Kings) opened the scoring with his first of the series, serving as the only goal in the opening period. Redirecting the shot from Noah Gregor (San Jose Sharks), Reddekopp’s goal was also the first of his WHL Playoffs career. Lane Zablocki (Detroit Red Wings) would add to his team’s lead 77 seconds into the middle period, beating David Tendeck from a weak angle for the second goal of the game.

Minutes later, Phillips tallied his first of the game as Dante Hannoun found him at the opposite side of the net for the quick tap-in, making it a 3-0 game early in the middle period.

Tyler Popowich got the jump on Griffen Outhouse 108 seconds after Phillips’ first goal, cutting into the Royals’ lead and getting the Giants on the board, but Phillips 107 seconds after that, sniping one from far out for his third point of the evening.

The Giants weren’t completely deflated by that goal, as Matt Barberis was set up for the one-timer by Tyler Benson (Edmonton Oilers) with 5:33 to go in the middle period. With 80 seconds to go in the second, the Giants brought the game within a goal as Brennan Riddle’s shot found it’s way through traffic and past Griffen Outhouse to cut the lead down to one.

Victoria would tighten up from there though as Outhouse stopped all 10 shots from the Giants in the third to secure the victory, finishing with 30 in the game. David Tendeck stopped 17 of 20 shots sent his way while Trent Miner allowed a single goal on four shots.

Phillips led all players with 16 points (6G-10A) in the series, leading the team in goals as well. Giants captain Tyler Benson led the Giants with 11 points (3G-8A) in the seven games.

The Royals will now advance to face the Tri-City Americans. 

Spokane Chiefs (1) at Portland Winterhawks (3)
Portland wins series 4-3

It took an incredible battle and a near-comeback by the Spokane Chiefs, but the Portland Winterhawks held on to defeat their U.S. Division rivals in the best-of-seven series following a 3-1 win Tuesday night in the Rose City.

Cody Glass (Vegas Golden Knights) opened the scoring in the first period, redirecting a shot from Skyler McKenzie (Winnipeg Jets) to put the home side ahead 1-0 midway through the opening period.

The Chiefs had a response in the second period though as 2018 NHL Draft prospect Ty Smith evened the game as his point shot through traffic beat Winterhawks’ goaltender Cole Kehler (Los Angeles Kings) to tie up the game.

That’s how things would stay until the final five minutes when the Winterhawks finally pushed ahead. Dennis Cholowski (Detroit Red Wings) found teammate Kieffer Bellows (New York Islanders) for the one-timer that beat Dawson Weatherill with 4:38 to go in regulation.

McKenzie would find the back of the net with 2:23 to go in the game, securing the win as Portland held on to advance to the second round.

Glass finished the game with a goal and three points. Bellows and McKenzie each added a goal and an assist. Hudson Elynuik (Carolina Hurricanes) had the lone assist on Smith’s goal.

Kehler stopped 30 of 31 shots to pick up the victory Tuesday. Weatherill stopped 39 of 42 in a valiant effort to deliver the victory, coming up just short.

Glass led all Winterhawks in the series with 11 points (3G-8A) while Cholowski led the Winterhawks with four goals. Jaret Anderson-Dolan led the Chiefs with nine points (2G-7A) while Elynuik led his side with three goals in the series.

The Winterhawks will now advance to face the Everett Silvertips in the second round of the 2018 WHL Playoffs.

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