2010 CJHL Playoff Update
Tuesday, March 30, 2010
The Canadian Junior Hockey League playoffs have already left fans cheering for more, following a number of series upsets, sold out arenas and dozens of games decided in sudden death overtime.
The Pacific, Western, Central and Eastern Champions, and the RBC Cup Host Team, will compete for the National Junior A Championship from May 1st - 9th after advancing from their respective division, League and region. The Dauphin Kings, 2010 RBC Cup host team, have advanced to the Manitoba Junior Hockey League Final and continue to prove they deserve one of five spots in the 2010 RBC Cup, despite already securing their fate as the host team.
Pacific Champion - The British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) Champions battle the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) Champions in the Doyle Cup for the title of Pacific Champion.
The AJHL and BCHL are both set to embark on the Championship Finals in the 2010 Playoffs. The final two teams of the AJHL are the Spruce Grove Saints and Fort McMurray Oil Barons, while the Powell River Kings and Vernon Vipers are the remaining teams in the BCHL playoffs.
For a second consecutive season, the Vernon Vipers and Powell River Kings will compete in the BCHL Finals. The Vipers completed the regular season first overall in the BCHL, the River Kings were second in the Coastal Conference and 5th overall. The River Kings defeated Cowichan Valley, Langley and Alberni Valley to arrive at the BCHL Final. River Kings point leaders Daniel Carr, Matt Garbowsky and Team Captain Mat Bodie have combined for 30 goals and 40 assists in the 2010 playoffs. The three are amongst the BCHL's Top Ten in Playoff Scoring.
Powell River Kings goaltender Josh Watson has been named the BCHL Player of the Week for the week ending March 28th. In Game 7 of the BCHL Semi-Finals, Watson was named the first star after a 41-save shutout performance. In a trio of wins that closed out the best-of-seven Semi-Final series, Watson allowed just two goals on 103 shots to bring his team back from a 3-1 series deficit. Watson has compiled a 12-4 record with a 1.94 goals-against average and a .921 save-percentage.
The Vernon Vipers lost just six times in regulation during the 2009-2010 regular season. The defending RBC Cup Champion Vipers eliminated Quesnel and Penticton following a first round bye to advance to the League Final. Vipers goalie Graeme Gordon has picked up seven post-season wins while allowing just 16 goals. His .940 save-percentage through three rounds leads all BCHL netminders.
The Spruce Grove Saints and Fort McMurray Oil Barons have advanced to the 2010 AJHL Final. The best-of-seven championship series will begin on Friday, April 2nd. The Spruce Grove Saints were the top ranked team in the CJHL throughout the 2009-2010 season and won the AJHL Regular Season Championship.
The Saints earned a bye in the first round of the 2010 AJHL playoffs then swept the Bonnyville Pontiacs to advance to the AJHL Semi-Final. The Saints eliminated the Camrose Kodiaks in Game 5 of the Semi-Finals to earn their spot in the Final. The Fort McMurray Oil Barons completed the Regular Season 3rd in the North Division and 4th overall. The Oil Barons swept the St. Albert Steel in Round One, before eliminating the Grande Prairie Storm in four games during Round Two. The Oil Barons defeated the South Division Champion Okotoks Oilers in Game 5 of the AJHL Semi-Final.
The Oil Barons have four players in the Top Ten of the 2010 AJHL Playoff Scoring Race, including the Top Scorer in the post-season, Branden Gracel (19 points in 13 GP). The top two goaltenders in the AJHL post-season are both from the Saints roster, Vincenzo Marozzi (1.36 GAA) and Travis Rolheiser (1.00 GAA).
Western Champion - The Saskatchewan Junior Hockey League (SJHL) Champions will meet the Manitoba Junior Hockey League (MJHL) Champions in the Anavet Cup and compete for the title of Western Champion.
Five teams remain in the battle to represent the Western region at the 2010 RBC Cup. The La Ronge Ice Wolves have succeeded to the SJHL Final and await the winner of the Semi-Final series between the Yorkton Terriers and Kindersley Klippers. The Dauphin Kings lead the Winnipeg Saints 1-0 in the MJHL Championship series.
The Yorkton Terriers upset the League leading Weyburn Red Wings in the SJHL Quarter-Finals and are locked in a 3-3 series with the Kindersley Klippers. Game 7 in the best-of-seven SJHL Semi-Final will be played on Tuesday night. Troy Smukowich (Terriers) leads the SJHL Scoring Race with 20 points. Klippers goaltender Josh Thorimbert was recently named the SJHL Rookie of the Year. The Klippers finished the 2009-2010 regular season 3rd in the Sherwood Conference, the Terriers were in 5th place.
The La Ronge Ice Wolves defeated Humboldt in Round One, then eliminated the top ranked team in the SJHL's Bauer Conference with a series victory over the Flin Flon Bombers. The Ice Wolves eliminated the Battlefords North Stars in the Bauer Division Championship to advance to the SJHL Final. The Ice Wolves have six players in the Top Ten of the SJHL Playoff Scoring Race. The LaRonge Ice Wolves were 4th in the Bauer Division and 7th overall in the Regular Season.
In a match-up of the League's two pennant winners, the Dauphin Kings and Winnipeg Saints have begun the MJHL Final. The first placed Dauphin Kings set a franchise record for victories in 2009-2010 and are the 2010 RBC Cup host team. In overtime, the Kings defeated the Winnipeg Saints in Game 1 of the MJHL Final; the first post-season loss for the Saints.
The Saints defeated the Winnipeg South Blues and Winkler Flyers on their way to the Final. The Kings eliminated Neepawa and Swan Valley on their path to the Championship series. The Top 5 players in MJHL Playoff Scoring are members of the Kings and Saints. Leading Scorer Steven Shamanski (Kings) has been named the MJHL Player of Year. The Top 2 Goaltenders are also represented in the MJHL Final as Justin Leclerc (Saints) and Joe Caliqiuri (Dauphin) lead the League with a 1.75 and 1.78 GAA.
Central Champion - The Superior International Hockey League (SIJHL), Northern Ontario Junior Hockey league (NOJHL), Ontario Junior A Hockey League (OJAHL) and Central Canadian Hockey League (CCHL) Champions, plus the Dudley Hewitt Cup Host Team, play off for the Dudley Hewitt Cup and the title of Central Champion.
Only eight teams remain in the battle to compete in the 2010 Dudley Hewitt Cup. The Soo Thunderbirds of the NOJHL are guaranteed a spot in the Dudley Hewitt Cup as the 2010 Host Team.
The Fort William North Stars and Dryden Ice Dogs will play in the SIJHL Final Series beginning on Wednesday. The North Star have succeeded to the SIJHL Final with a series sweep over the Sioux Lookout Flyers in the Semi-Finals. The Ice Dogs eliminated the Fort Frances Lakers in the SIJHL Semi-Finals. Dryden and Fort William were the top two teams following the Selection Series at the onset of the SIJHL Playoffs. The North Stars and Ice Dogs finished the regular season number one and two overall.
Seven players in the SIJHL Final are amongst the Top Ten in SIJHL Playoff Scoring. Goaltender Guillaume Piche (North Stars) leads the League with a 1.86 GAA and a record of 6-0-2 in the post-season. Josh Baker (Ice Dogs) is second with a 2.02 GAA.
The Soo Thunderbirds are undefeated in the NOJHL post-season at 8-0, and are set to meet the first-placed Abitibi Eskimos in the NOJHL Final. The Eskimos eliminated Temiscaming and Sudbury to advance to the Final series, whil the Thunderbirds swept Manitoulin and the Soo Eagles. The Thunderbirds have an opportunity to repeat as NOJHL Champions. With the Thunderbirds as the host team, Abitibi has already guaranteed entry as the NOJHL finalist in the Dudley Hewitt Cup. The Final will begin on Friday, April 2nd.
The Top Three Scorers in the NOJHL Scoring Race are members of the Eskimos roster; nine of the Top Ten Scorers are competing in the NOJHL Final. Marc-Alain Begin (Eskimos) leads the way with 23 points. Goaltender Eric Pye (Thunderbirds) has a League leading 1.69 GAA. Eddie Davey (Eskimos) is second with a 1.91 GAA.
The winner of the OJAHL will meet the CCHL Champion in a best of seven series for the Buckland Cup and the right to advance to the Dudley Hewitt Cup. The Newmarket Hurricanes face the Bowmanville Eagles in the CCHL Championship. The OJAHL Final features the Kingston Voyageurs and Oakville Blades.
The Newmarket Hurricanes were second overall in the CCHL West Division, the Bowmanville Eagles were first overall in the East Division follwing regular season play. The Hurricanes moved past St. Michael's, Hamilton and Burlington to reach the Final, and Bowmanville eliminated Ajax, Peterborough and Wellington. Newmarket leads the series 3-2, Game 6 is scheduled for Tuesday.
Chad Sumsion (Hurricanes) has a League leading 27 points in 18 games. Mitch Moffatt (Eagles) has scored a League leading 5 game winning goals in the CCHL playoffs.
The series between the Voyageurs and Blades highlights the OJAHL's top two teams as the opponents completed the regular season ranked #1 and #2 respectively. The series went into overtime in three consecutive games and is tied at three wins apiece. The series will resume with Game 7 on Wednesday. The Voyageurs eliminated Vaughan and Trenton to advance to the OJAHL Final. The Blades defeated Aurora and Oakville in their quest for the OJAHL title.
Blades forward Ryan Murphy leads the OJAHL playoffs with 26 points. Tyler Melancon (Voyageurs) is second overall with 24 points. The Top Four goaltenders in the OJAHL (GAA) are the goaltending duos from the Blades and Voyageurs. Goaltender Daniel Savelli (Oakville) has won seven of nine playoff games and recorded two shut outs. Joel Vienneau has posted a 7-2 record for Kingston.
Eastern Champion - The Ligue de Hockey Junior AAA du Quebec (LHJAAAQ), Central Junior Hockey League (CJHL), and Maritime Junior A Hockey league (MJAHL) Champions, plus the Fred Page Cup Host Team, compete for the Fred Page Cup and the title of Eastern Champion. The Brockville Braves will host the Fred Page Cup and as such are guaranteed a spot in the Championship series.
The Brockville Braves swept the Kemptville 73's and Ottawa Jr. Senators to earn a spot in the CJHL Championship. The Braves won the 2009-2010 regular season title by a single point over the Pembroke Lumber Kings. The Lumber Kings lead the CJHL Semi-Finals versus the Cornwall Colts 2-1. Cornwall stole Game 2 of the series, however, Pembroke regained the series lead with an overtime victory in Game 3. The Semi-Final Series continues on Tuesday night.
The Top Four leading scores in the CJHL Playoffs are members of the Brockville Braves. Leading the League is Shayne Stockton with 18 points in 8 games. Clarke Saunders (Braves) is 7-0-0 and has a League leading 1.57 GAA in the CJHL playoffs. Since October 25th, 2009, the Braves are 54-2-1-1.
The College Francais de Longueuil swept the Titan de Princeville in the LHJAAAQ Semi-Final and now awaits its opponent for the LHJAAAQ Final. Longueuil is 8-0 in the post-season with a Quarter-Final sweep of the Condors de Kahnawake. Longueuil completed the regular season third overall.
The Cobras de Terrebonne lead the Inouk de Granby 3-1 in the Semi-Finals. The Cobras de Terrebonne were the first placed seed in the regular season, while the Inouk de Granby were fifth. The Granby Inouk rallied back from a 0-3 deficit in the Quarter Final series to advance to the Semi-Finals. Game Five in the series in set for Tuesday. The Leading Scorer in the 2010 LHJAAAQ Playoffs is Pierre-Luc Lacombe (Grandby).
The Woodstock Slammers eliminated the Summerside Western Capitals in the MJAHL Semi-Final after a first round sweep of the Dieppe Commandos. The Woodstock Slammers completed a first-place finish in the MJAHL regular season and now face the fifth placed Weeks Crushers in the MJAHL Final. The Crushers defeated the Truro Bearcats in Game 6 of the MJAHL Semi-Final on Monday night. The Crushers also eliminated the Halifax Lions in their post-season quest.
Nick Huard (Slammers) leads the MJAHL Playoff Scoring Race with 22 points in 9 games. Goaltender Justin Collier has played in all 12 games for the Crushers (8-4). Slammers goaltenders Tyler Piercy (3-2) and Andre Guay (5-0) have split the post-season.