StarPhoenix article (Edmonton, Moose Jaw set to hit the ice)April 20 2012 at 8:04 AM
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Response to Edmonton Journal article (Goalies front and centre in Eastern final)
Edmonton, Moose Jaw set to hit the ice
By Daniel Nugent-bowman, The StarPhoenix
April 20, 2012
Moose Jaw Warriors celebrate a goal during first period WHL action against the Regina Pats in Regina on March 27.
Photograph by: Don Healy, Regina Leader-Post , The StarPhoenix
After a long layoff, the Eastern Conference side of the WHL's playoff ledger resumes tonight with Game 1 of the conference final from Edmonton's Rexall Place. The top two seeds, the Edmonton Oil Kings and Moose Jaw Warriors, have been relatively untested so far but have likely met their match in this series. As they get set to hit the ice at full flight, the Tri-City Americans and Portland Winterhawks will also hope to do the same tonight. A tough task considering since they were both pushed to the limit in their previous series, which ended Wednesday.
(1) Edmonton Oil Kings (50-15-3-4, 107 points) vs. (2) Moose Jaw Warriors (45-19-6-2, 98 points)
Season series: Edmonton 3-0-0-1.
Round one: Edmonton defeated Kootenay in 4. Moose Jaw defeated Regina in 5.
Round two: Edmonton defeated Brandon in 4. Moose Jaw defeated Medicine Hat in 4.
It's so hard to bet against a team that hasn't lost a single playoff game after two rounds. It really is. Especially with all the success the Oil Kings have enjoyed in their season series against the Warriors. However, the Warriors are also rolling too. Moose Jaw is a perfect 8-0 since dropping its playoff opener to Regina and has been getting contributions from those young and old and everyone in between. World junior winger Quinton Howden leads the way with 15 points in nine games, while overagers James Henry and Cam Braes - both acquired at the trade deadline - are right behind with 13 and 12, respectively. And you can't forget 1996-born call-up Brayden Point. He has three game-winning goals in nine games. Plus, super prospect Morgan Rielly, who has been out since Nov. 6 because of torn ACL, is returning to bolster an impressive blueline.
DNB says: Moose Jaw in 7.
(1) Tri-City Americans (50-18-2-2, 104 points) vs. (3) Portland Winterhawks (4919-3-1, 102 points)
Season series: Tri-City 640-0.
Round one: Tri-City defeated Everett in 4. Portland defeated Kelowna in 4.
Round two: Tri-City defeated Spokane in 7. Portland defeated Kamloops in 7.
There are a lot of similarities to sift through in this matchup. The two Western Conference teams, with the best records in the regular season, rolled over their meek opponents in the first round before being forced to endure a close gut-wrenching seven-game affair in round two. Both teams employ high-octane offences as Tri-City's roster has three 100-point scorers on it and Portland's lineup is filled out with a who's who of top NHL prospects like Ty Rattie, Sven Bartschi, Brad Ross, Joe Morrow and, potential first-rounder this June, Derrick Pouliot. However, there are two reasons to like Portland in this series. One, Rattie and Bartschi are the top two scorers in the playoffs thus far. And two, while the Winterhawks only won four of 10 games against the Americans in the regular season, those four wins came in their final five matchups. The Winterhawks did blow a 3-0 series lead to Kamloops last round, but the Americans needed two goals late in Game 7 against Spokane to eke out a win.
DNB says: Portland in 6.
SP sports editor Kevin Mitchell's picks: Edmonton/Moose Jaw
Moose Jaw in 6
Tri-City in 7
Record thus far: 10-2
LP sports editor Rob Vanstone's picks:
Edmonton in 6
Tri-City in 7
Record thus far: 11-1
SP reporter Daniel Nugent-Bowman's picks:
Moose Jaw in 7
Portland in 6
Record thus far: 11-1
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