The Kootenay ICE will take on the Portland Winterhawks in the Western Hockey League Championship series which gets underway on Friday night in the U.S.
I must admit, the ICE have been nothing short of impressive in this post-season. They've rattled off 11 straight wins going into this WHL final, beating Moose Jaw, Saskatoon, and Medicine Hat to get to this point. The Winterhawks have played some very good hockey too. They've had to get through Everett, Kelowna, and Spokane to earn a spot in the big series.
Let's take a quick look at the match-up........
Portland (1 WEST) vs. Kootenay (4 EAST)
Ryan Johansen 2 points
Riley Boychuk 1 point
Kevin King 2 points
Matt Fraser 2 points
These are some of the most difficult series to predict an outcome, given the fact these two teams have faced each other just once this season. The Kootenay ICE won that only meeting, 5-3 back on December 1, 2010 in the Rose City. Both of these teams have been impressive in these playoffs. Kootenay has scored 52 goals in 14 playoff games and Portland has scored 61 goals in 16 post-season games. The ICE have been the more stingier of the two teams defensively. Kootenay has given up just 28 goals compared with 44 for the 'Hawks. Nathan Lieuwen has been great in goal for Kootenay in the playoffs and I think he'll be the key in this series. Both teams have just one road loss in the 2011 playoffs as well. All-in-all, this should be a fun series to watch, with the potential for a lot of goals. Both teams have some high-end goal scorers. I've bet against the ICE in the last two series and this team proved me wrong. I can't bet against them this time. I like the way Kootenay has played. They should be well rested. My pick for the Ed Chenowyth Cup: Kootenay ICE in 6.........4-2.
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