The playoffs continued for a handful of Devils prospects as the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League, the Western Hockey League and the Kontinental Hockey League resumed series.
First to the “Q” as Xavier Bernard and the Charlottetown Islanders extended their series lead over the Cape Breton Screaming Eagles to 2-0 in the first round. This one was a goal-fest as Charlottetown won the game 6-4.
Kevin Gursoy got the game started when he scored at 9:40 of the first period off an assist from Daniel Hardie. The two would reverse roles at 18:16 when Hardie scored with Gursoy getting the primary assist and Lukas Cormier with the secondary.
The second period in this game saw the game get tied up before the Islanders retook the lead. Cape Breton scored 1:06 into the second frame on a goal from Mathias Laferriere to make it 2-1. Mitchell Balmas (who would be named the game’s third star of the night) then evened the game on the power play at 9:22 of the second.
But the Islanders would come roaring back when Hardie (en route to being named the second star) scored his second of the game at 10:59 of the second and Nikita Alexandrov doubled up the Screaming Eagles once again to make it 4-2 at 17:26.
The third period continued the see-saw nature of this game when Leon Gawanke scored for Cape Breton on the power play at 2:06 of that period and then Kyle Havlena scored at 6:30 to once again knot the game, this time at four.
However, with just about six minutes to go in regulation, Cormier (the game’s number one star) notched his second point of the night when he scored the game winner to put Charlottetown up 5-4. Zachary Beauregard added an empty netter at 19:14 and that gave us our final of 6-4.
Bernard had a hit and served a delay of game penalty 23 seconds into the third period to round out his stat line.
For the goaltenders, it was a busy night as Cape Breton’s Kevin Mandolese stopped 28 of 33 shots against. Charlottetown’s Matthew Welsh made 30 saves on 34 shots.
The Islanders ended the night 0-for-2 on the power play while Cape Breton was 2-for-5.
Game three will shift to the Centre 200 in Cape Breton for game three on Tuesday the 26th.
Shifting westward to Spokane, Washington, the Chiefs and Ty Smith and the Portland Winterhawks faced off in game two in Spokane. This one was won by Portland 5-3, evening that series at a game apiece.
The Chiefs jumped out to a quick 1-0 lead at 6:19 of the first period when Jaret Anderson-Dolan scored unassisted. Spokane would double their lead at the 13:19 mark of the second period to 2-0 off the stick of Luc Smith.
From there, however, the Winterhawks took over, scoring four unanswered. Josh Paterson got them to within one at the 15:25 mark of the second and Lane Gilliss tied it at 8:11 of the third.
Paterson then scored his second of the night 1:40 later to put Portland up for good, making it 3-2. Mason Mannek added the game-winner at 12:37 to make it 4-2.
Adam Beckman got the Chiefs back to within one with the goaltender pulled at 17:26. But Matthew Quigley iced it for the Winterhawks when he scored an empty netter 19 seconds after that, giving us our final of 5-3.
Ty Smith finished with an even plus/minus and a shot on net as his stat line.
Amazingly, referees Steve Papp and Ward Pateman put their whistles away for this one. The game was played completely penalty free, giving neither team a power play opportunity.
In net, Joel Hofer stopped 23 of 26 shots against for Portland while Bailey Brkin was on point for 30 of the 34 shots peppering him on the night for Spokane.
The series is now tied and headed to Oregon for game three on Tuesday at the Veterans Memorial Coliseum in Portland.
Now off to Russia where Yegor Zaitsev and Dynamo Moscow were eliminated from the KHL playoffs with an overtime loss in game five. With that, Zaitsev and Dynamo will go home and CSKA will move on to the Western Conference Finals to play SKA St. Petersburg. This is a perennial matchup in the KHL playoffs and should be interesting for those following.
As for us, we will have more from the CHL on Tuesday plus the Devils game on Monday against the Sabres. We will also try to gather some information on the NCAA conference tournaments featuring various Devils prospects if we can. Until then, have a nice weekend!