CHL Playoff Series Move to Game Three

The QMJHL and WHL playoffs continued with game threes tonight across both league’s playoff series.

First to to Cape Breton where the Screaming Eagles won a goaltenders’ duel to cut the Charlottetown Islanders’ series lead to 2-1. They won game three tonight 1-0.

Egor Sokolov scored the only goal of the game at 16:26 of the second period with assists to Wilson Forest and Mitchell Balmas. He beat goalie Matthew Welsh to net the game winner. Sokolov would be named the game’s third star while the two goalies (Kevin Mandolese of Cape Breton and Welsh of Charlottetown) took one and two respectively. Mandolese stopped all 26 Charlottetown shots thrown his way while Welsh was equal to 22 of 23 Cape Breton shots.

The Islanders went 0-for-2 on the power play while the Screaming Eagles were 0-for-3.

Devils’ prospect Xavier Bernard’s stat line consisted on an even plus/minus and one shot on goal in the Charlottetown loss.

Charlottetown had pulled Welsh with about two and a half minutes remaining in the game, but to no avail. They were not able to tie things and Cape Breton got the 1-0 win. These two teams will meet again at Centre 200 in Cape Breton for game four tomorrow night (6 PM ET).

Now off to the Western Hockey League where there was also a game three to be played between the Spokane Chiefs and the Portland Winterhawks.

(These series are largely running concurrent to each other between the leagues, so we are at game three in both series.)

This game was from the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland and was a real nailbiter, going into overtime before Spokane won it on a Riley Woods goal 9:35 into the extra session to give the 5-4 win to the Chiefs.

The Winterhawks’ Robbie Fromm-Delorme (who would score two goals on the evening and go on to be named the game’s first star in a losing effort) got the scoring started when he gave Portland the 1-0 lead just 1:39 into the game. The Winterhawks would double that at the 6:57 mark of the first when Joachim Blichfeld scored to make it 2-0.

Spokane began their climb back into things at the 16:37 mark of the first period when Luke Toporowski scored to cut the lead in half at 2-1.

They would tie things in the second period on the power play when Luc Smith scored at 5:03. That tied it at two. Coincidentally, after playing a penalty-free game in game two, each team only took one penalty each in this game, with both occurring in the second frame. Spokane was 1-for-1 with the man advantage while Portland was 0-for-1.

With things knotted up at two, the see-saw began to tilt back and forth. First, the Chiefs took their first lead of the night when Ethan McIndoe scored at 5:42 of the second. Portland then scored two unanswered to take back the lead. It began when Jared Freadrich tied it at three at 10:06 of the second. Freadrich was named the game’s third star with that goal and an assist on Blichfeld’s goal back in the first. Portland then retook the lead just 1:44 into the third when Fromm-Delorme potted his second of the night. It was now 4-3 Winterhawks.

But things would shift in the other direction very quickly. At 7:48 of the third period, Jack Finley scored to tie things up at four. Then, when things could not be settled in regulation, we were off to OT.

It only took halfway through that extra session to get our winner. Woods scored at 9:35 and just like that, Spokane had scored two unanswered to win the game and take a 2-1 series edge. Woods would be named the game’s second star.

Ty Smith’s stat line read a plus-1 plus/minus rating and whopping seven shots on net.

Bailey Brkin, the Chiefs goalie, made 28 saves on 32 shots against while Joel Hofer of Portland stopped 38 of 43 Spokane shots.

These teams will get back at it on Wednesday, March 27 in game four as Spokane looks to go up 3-1 in the series. That game is at 10 PM ET from Portland.

In one final note, I neglected to mention my post a few days ago is that the Northeastern University game featuring Jeremy Davies from Providence is on Saturday, March 30 at 4:30 PM. We will try to get coverage up here as soon as we can.

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