As we went to press last time, Vancouver Giants led 3-0 in games and the scoreboard. They ended up winning 6-1. With that, they awaited the winner of the Spokane versus Everett match to determine who they would face.
After dropping the first three games, Everett replied in the fourth with a strong 4-1 win. It was Everett’s first road win this series. Spokane was able to take advantage of that and score a victory over the Silvertips.
Spokane also spent a great deal of time in the box during the third period. Everett scored first but saw that evaporate within minutes and ultimately lose that lead in the second. Despite Everett pulling Dustin Wolf with about two minutes in the third, they couldn’t notch the equalizer which moves Spokane on to the next round and a battle with Vancouver.
After Edmonton swept Calgary in the second round, all eyes went to Saskatoon versus Prince Albert. Both teams had won their respective games at home and had deadlocked at two apiece. The match moved to Saskatoon where the Blades got thumped 6-1. In that game, neither team scored in the first but exploded for four goals in the second.
Prince Albert scored early with goals just over two minutes in and six minutes in, before Saskatoon got on the board at the nine-minute mark. Prince Albert would add to their lead a minute later and add three more in the third period to put them up and untouchable.
The series then moved to Saskatoon where the Blades had to make their last stand. Prince Albert and Saskatoon were tied at the end of one where the Blades needed a win to stay alive. Two goals by Prince Albert put them up, but Saskatoon cut into that lead.
Two goals early in the third period, including a powerplay goal, made it next to impossible to come back. The Blades came within two as they scored early in the third, but they were unable to pull their goaltender for the extra attacker until nearly the end of the game. Prince Albert sunk the dagger in with two seconds on the clock as they move on to host the Edmonton Oil Kings.
Both series will start Friday as three top teams battle and one that ranked second but was expected by many to run away with the division. Predictions will be Vancouver meeting Edmonton in the final. Though Prince Albert has been the top team in the WHL, they have shown weaknesses, which Edmonton may exploit. The goaltending of Ian Scott has been the saving grace for the Raiders thus far.
Vancouver has had a goaltending duo of Trent Miner and Dave Tendeck, which has given teams fits trying to score. Spokane has relied on Bailey Brkin to do their bidding between the pipes.
Portland has signed a couple of prospects recently and won’t be looking until the third round of the Bantam Draft as they have traded picks earlier in the season for current players.