For the first time in a week, both the Eastern and Western Conference Championships were contested, leading to representation from three different teams in tonight’s edition of the Western Hockey League’s Three Stars.
Giorgio Estephan earned first star honours as the Edmonton, Alta. product tallied a pair of goals and an assist in a 4-3 win for the Swift Current Broncos on home ice against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. The win moved the Broncos to within a win of capturing the Eastern Conference Championship for the first time since 1993. Estephan scored Swift Current’s second and fourth goals of the game, his second multi-goal performance of the series. Estephan now has 18 points (10G-8A) in 19 games during the 2018 WHL Playoffs.
A multi-goal performance from Juuso Valimaki (Calgary Flames) earned him second star honours for the evening as the Americans kept their season alive with a 5-2 victory in Everett against the Silvertips. Valimaki scored the Americans’ first and third goals of the game, marking the first multi-goal game of his WHL Playoffs career. Through 11 games in the 2018 WHL Playoffs, Valimaki has 13 points (4G-9A), placing him seventh in scoring among defencemen.
Rounding out the top three performances Saturday was Everett Silvertips forward Connor Dewar, who scored both goals in his team’s 5-2 loss to the Americans. Dewar’s notable feat for the evening came just seven seconds into the game as he tied a 30-year-old WHL Playoffs record for the fastest goal to begin a game. The record was previously accomplished by Medicine Hat Tigers forward Trevor Linden on April 15, 1988 against the Saskatoon Blades. The product of The Pas, Man. now has 19 points (8G-11A) in 15 games during the 2018 WHL Playoffs.