When the CHL playoffs began (and throughout most of the year), there were three clear favourites in every league: the Saint John Sea Dogs (QMJHL), the Erie Otters (OHL) and the Regina Pats (WHL). It’s no surprise that all three teams are still playing hockey, but each of them have had a tough go of it along the way. While the Pats had to come back from a 3-1 series deficit to the Swift Current Broncos in Round 2, the Sea Dogs and the Otters have met their match in Round 3.
Here is a look around the league midway through the third round of the CHL playoffs, with a report from the U18s.
Eight CHLers Win Medals at 2017 IIHF World U18 Championships
Team Canada suffered the disappointment of failing to medal at the U18 tournament, but that doesn’t mean there weren’t plenty of CHLers on the podium. Kingston Frontenacs Linus Nyman and Eemeli Rasanen helped Finland to a silver medal finish, with Rasanen picking up three goals and two assists in the tournament.
Meanwhile, six players from the Russian team were CHL imports, including Yaroslav Alexeyev (Sherbrooke Phoenix), Ivan Chekhovich (Baie-Comeau Drakkar), Pavel Koltygin (Drummondville Voltigeurs), Kirill Maksimov (Niagara IceDogs), Mark Rubinchik (Saskatoon Blades) and Dmitri Samorukov. Chekhovich tied countryman Andrei Svechnikov for third in tournament scoring, with nine points (5 goals, 4 assists).
Surprising Steelheads Sweep Petes
The Mississauga Steelheads completed their sweep of the Peterborough Petes last night, and will advance to face either the Erie Otters or the Owen Sound Attack in the OHL Championship Series. The team got goals from six different players, with Michael McLeod scoring twice and top draft-eligible prospect Owen Tippett opening the scoring with the eventual game winner at 8:29 of the first.
The series sweep is the latest development in the ongoing story that is the Steelheads’ 2016-17 season. The team had an OHL worst record of 6-14-3-3 back in December, but have improved throughout the year and were helped by the additions of Spencer Watson and Vili Saarijarvi.
Otters in Tough Against Attack
Despite the fact that Erie continues to score goals—great big bunches of goals—the Owen Sound Attack are giving them quite the scare in the third round. The Attack lead the Otters two games to one until the Otters defeated them 4-3 on Wednesday. The game was tied 3-3 for a long stretch before Warren Foegele scored at 10:03 of the third period. The sigh of relief from the Otters bench was heard on the other side of the planet. Anyone looking for some exciting hockey to watch should tune in to this one.
Sea Dogs Up on Shawinigan, Armada Leads Islanders
Over in the QMJHL, the Blainville-Boisbriand Armada have taken a commanding 3-1 lead over the Charlottetown Islanders. The Armada have been lead by Alex Barre-Boulet, who was named the CHL player of the week on Tuesday. No slouch the next night, Boulet earned the first game star after contributing a goal and an assist in the victory. Although the Islanders finished with more points and wins, the Armada are peaking at the right time and getting great performances from everybody.
Meanwhile, the Sea Dogs are deadlocked with the Cataractes at two games apiece.
Both WHL Semifinals Tied at Two Apiece
The Lethbridge Hurricanes, who took down seventh-ranked team in the CHL in Round 2 (Medicine Hat), are now giving the first-ranked Regina Pats all they can handle. The Hurricanes led the series 2-1 before Regina’s offence finally came through, going off for six goals in game four to tie up the best of seven. Over in the west, Seattle and Kelowna are also locked up at two games apiece.
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