Tuesday, 5 April 2011

Pat's Picks: Round Two Playoff Predictions

Sorry I haven't posted much for the last while.

Things have been pretty quiet in Hurricanes Land since the regular season ended. I'll be posting more as we get closer to the end of the month in anticipation of the May 5th WHL Bantam Draft. A lot of eyes will be on Lethbridge given the Hurricanes have two picks in the top five. Nonetheless, the first round of the WHL playoffs is in the books and I don't think anyone is surprised with the top four seeds in each conference moving on. I must say, Prince Albert gave Saskatoon more of a run than I thought they would and had it not been for Brandon's goaltender getting injured, perhaps the Wheat Kings could've upset Medicine Hat, but in the end things played out like I thought they would. I went 8 for 8 in my first round picks, so here it goes for round two! Now the picking and choosing gets a little more difficult.

Eastern Conference

Saskatoon (1) vs. Kootenay (4)

Head-to-Head Scorers

Mark Viedensky 7 points
Brayden Schenn 5 points

Jesse Ismond 3 points
Max Reinhart 3 points

This is a second round match-up of teams that have two of the most talented players in the Western Hockey League. The Blades feature Brayden Schenn, who had an excellent first round series against Prince Albert, scoring 5 goals and adding 5 assists for 10 points against the Raiders. On the other side, Cody Eakin notched 5 points (2 G 3A) in the ICE's first round win over Moose Jaw. The Blades also had a good performance from Curtis Hamilton who put up 10 points. Kootenay is being lead in the post-season by Matt Fraser (5G 2A) and Max Reinhart (3G 3A). If you put any weight on what took place in the four game regular season series, then you would think Saskatoon will win this series. The Blades were a perfect 4-0 versus the ICE and although I think the Blades are going to win this series too, I don't think they'll sweep it. The key I think will be home ice advantage. Saskatoon went 32-3-0-1 at the Credit Union Centre this season and you can add 3 more home-ice wins to that record so far in the playoffs. Although Kootenay has a lot of talent, I think it's going to be very tough for the ICE to contain Saskatoon in this series. Nathan Lieuwen will be the key for Kootenay in goal if the ICE want any shot in this series. I pick Saskatoon to win it in six..........4-2.

Red Deer (2) vs. Medicine Hat (3)

Head-to-Head Scorers

Red Deer:
Ryan Nugent-Hopkins 5 points
Byron Froese 4 points

Medicine Hat:
Linden Vey 10 points
Emerson Etem 5 points

Well, I really love this match-up. The main reason is goaltending. This series features two of the best goalies in the WHL this season. Red Deer has Darcy Kuemper, arguably the best netminder this season with a microscopic goals against average. The Tigers counter with Tyler Bunz who's been nothing short of great in his own right this season. These two guys will be the keys in this series. The only question mark for Medicine Hat is the health of Bunz. He missed nearly the entire first-round series with a concussion. If he can't go, I think the Tigers are in trouble in this one. If he can play and Bunz is 100%, then this could be a real fun series to watch. Red Deer should be well-rested after disposing of Edmonton in four straight and had a couple of short 90 minute drives back-and-forth to Edmonton. The Tigers have put on a tonne of travel already in the last two weeks, between the Hat and Winnipeg (10 hour bus ride one-way) in their first round series which went six games. The Tigers top gunners like Vey, Hamilton, and Etem and going to have to be at their very best. Medicine Hat owned Red Deer in the regular season, winning 5 out of the six games. Tyler Bunz played a big roll in each of those wins. The Rebels had a relatively easy time with Edmonton in the opening round and really haven't been tested yet in the post-season. They will against Medicine Hat. I think this series could go the limit and I think Red Deer just might pull this one out. It's going to be close. The Tigers chances really hinge on Tyler Bunz being ready to go I think. Right now is will say Red Deer in 7.......4-3.

Western Conference

Portland (1) vs. Kelowna (2)

Head-to-Head Scorers

Ty Rattie 9 points
Craig Cunningham 9 points

Geordie Wudrick 6 points
Zach Franko 4 points

The Kelowna Rockets assume the 4th seed after round one. Eventhough the Rockets had second spot in the West going into round one, round two is based on points, as opposed to Division winners, so that's why Kelowna will meet up with Portland in round two. Both teams are coming off first-round sweeps. The Winterhawks got by Everett 4-0 and the Rockets finished off Prince George in the same manner. No doubt the Rockets are the underdogs in this series. Goalie Adam Brown will have to be at his very best if the Rockets are going to manage an upset. I don't think they will though. Portland has got too many guns in my opinion. Kelowna's top players have to be their top players to give them a shot. The 'Hawks won the regular season series 3-1 and I think they'll take this series too and move on to the Western Conference Final. I'll go with Portland in 5 in this series..............4-1

Tri-City (4) vs. Spokane (3)

Head-to-Head Scorers

Brendan Shinnimin 18 points
Patrick Holland 14 points

Tyler Johnson 21 points
Levko Koper 19 points

This should be a doozy of a series. These two heated and hated rivals only meet 12 times during the course of the regular season! Why not another potential seven games?! That should be enough right there to know this series is going to be very fun to keep track of. It'll be a great series for the fans of these two teams given how close they are geographically. This could be a high-scoring affair. These were two of the top scoring teams in the WHL during the regular season. The Chiefs lit the red lamp 310 times and the Americans found the back of the goal 286 times. These two teams have serious fire power. At the beginning of the season, some people figured Spokane was in a rebuilding mode, well that so-called rebuilding has brought them into round two. I really like this Chiefs. Spokane won the regular season series 7-5 and I think they're going to finish off the defending Western Conference Champs. These two teams met up in the 2007-2008 playoffs. Spokane won in 7 games and went on to win the league title and the Memorial Cup that year. This series really could go either way at this point, but I think this goes 7 games and I think the Chiefs win again........4-3.


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  1. Saskatoon over Kootenay in 5. Home ice advantage and it boils down to Schenn vs Eakin.
    Red Deer over Medicine Hat in 6. Red Deer's stingy defensive play and Kuemper over Bunz. Besides who wants the Tigers to win? LOL
    Portland over Kelowna in 6. Home Ice advantage and more explosive offense by the Winter Hawks. But this is the only series that could prove to have an upset.
    Tri-Cities over Spokane in 7 games. This series will be a war! But cheering for Ashton and Owsley made me pick the Americans.


  2. Blades over Ice in 5. Don't think the Blades will be as complacent as last series.

    Rebels over Tigers in 5. Kuemper is just that good and unbeatable when the team is there for him in the game.

    Hawks over Rockets in 5. Portland has what it takes if they stay focused.

    Americans over Chiefs in 7 but Owsley is going to have to be HOT.

    Good luck everyone.


  3. sask over Ice in 6
    Rebels over Tigers in 6
    Portland over Kelowna 4

    spokane over tri in 5

    maybe its the caes moving to chilliwack


  4. Tri-City Ams Fan7 April 2011 at 18:08

    I agree that the Spokane - Tri-City series will be a great match up. One thing that I would like to point out is that the Ams lost a number of games against the Chiefs when their starting goalie and four of their top scorers were injured and out of the line up. This one is a toss up and very likely to go the distance.