The Western Hockey League is pleased to announce the WHL Three Stars for Round Three of the 2018 WHL Playoffs.
Leading the performances in the Conference Championships was Tri-City Americans defenceman Juuso Valimaki (Calgary Flames), who recorded 12 points (3G-9A) and a plus-two rating in six games as the Americans advanced to the Western Conference Championship for the first time since 2012. After being held off the score sheet in Game One of the series, Valimaki went on to record at least a single point in the final five games of the series, featuring three multi-point performances, capped off by a four-assist effort in Game Six. He had the first multi-goal game of his WHL Playoffs career in Game Five, scoring twice.
The Nokia, Finland product finished the 2018 WHL Playoffs with 17 points (4G-13A), including two power-play goals and one game-winning goal. Those totals ranked him fifth in defensive scoring.
Earning second star honours for the round was Everett Silvertips forward Garrett Pilon (Washington Capitals). Pilon, a product of Saskatoon, Sask. recorded 10 points (5G-5A) and a plus-eight rating in the Silvertips’ six-game series victory over the Americans. Pilon picked up a point in five of the six games during the Western Conference Championship, earning multi-point performances in four of those games.
Pilon’s contributions were felt by the Silvertips immediately, as he scored twice in Game One, including the game-winning goal. All five of his goals in the series came at even-strength. Through 16 games in the 2018 WHL Playoffs, Pilon leads the Silvertips with 24 points (11G-13A), placing him in a tie for sixth in WHL Playoffs scoring.
Pilon has been held pointless in just two games during the 2018 WHL Playoffs, Game Three against the Seattle Thunderbirds and Game Four against the Americans.
Rounding out the WHL Three Stars for Round Three was Swift Current Broncos forward Giorgio Estephan, who recorded eight points (7G-1A) in his team’s six-game series victory against the Lethbridge Hurricanes. Estephan had a pair of three-point performances, most notably scoring a hat trick in his team’s 4-3 overtime victory in Game Two, notching the game-winning goal. In Game Five, Estephan scored twice and added an assist for his other three-point performance of the round, securing the game-winning goal in that game as well.
Through 20 games in the 2018 WHL Playoffs, Estephan has 19 points (11G-8A), placing him fourth in team scoring.