Jocktan Chainey, Mitchell Hoelscher and Ty Smith were all in action tonight as the CHL playoffs moved to game four in the various series across the continent.
We begin in the Q where Chainey and the Halifax Mooseheads held a 2-1 series lead over the Drummondville Voltigeurs. Game four was coming to us from the Scotiabank Centre in Halifax.
Following a penalty and goal free first period, things began to get a little bit chippy in the second when Drummondville’s Pierre-Olivier Joseph and Brandon Skubel and Halifax’s Arnaud Durandeau each took roughing minors and the Mooseheads’ Benoit-Olivier Groulx took a cross-checking penalty all at 4:07 of that frame.
Drummondville would get on the board first, as Halifax’s Raphael Lavoie took a slashing penalty at 8:02 and the Voltigeurs’ Dawson Mercer would score with one second remaining on that power play to make it 1-0.
This lead very short-lived, however. One minute and two seconds after Mercer’s goal, Lavoie beat Drummondville goalie Olivier Rodrigue to tie it at one. This one was on the power play as well, coming 56 seconds into Pavel Koltygin’s interference penalty.
And Halifax would not stop there. Drummondville’s Xavier Simoneau took another Voltigeurs penalty when he was caught for high-sticking at 13:07. On the power play, Maxim Trepanier of the Mooseheads scored with Chainey picking up the primary assist to take a 2-1 lead.
The Mooseheads continued their hot run when Xavier Parent scored 1:12 later at even strength. The home side was on a roll, taking the 3-1 lead with just over one full period to play. The Mooseheads had scored three unanswered to take the commanding lead.
And they would continue to add to that lead, with Antoine Morand scoring with less than a minue to go in the second to make it 4-1. That one was on the power play making Halifax an amazing 3-for-3 on the power play to this point in the game.
Through a mostly non-eventful third, the game remained 4-1. Drummondville attempted to get back into things when they pulled Rodrigue with a little more than 4:30 remaining, but Samuel Asselin scored into the open net at 16:29 to seemingly ice the game at 5-1.
The Voltigeurs added one more at the 18:48 mark to make it 5-2 when Joseph Veleno scored on the power play. But that was all that they could muster. The Mooseheads won a wild one 5-2.
With that, Halifax takes a commanding three games to one lead and can wrap things up on Friday, April 26 at Drummondville.
In goal, Rodrigue stopped 18 of 22 Mooseheads shots against while Alexis Gravel made 32 saves on 34 shots in nets for Halifax. The Mooseheads ended up being outshot 34 to 23 with the empty net goal.
The Mooseheads finished the game 3-for-4 on the power play while the Voltigeurs were 2-for-5.
Chainey finished the game with the assist for a point, a plus-1 plus/minus and one high scoring chance shot on goal.
An hour after puck drop in the Halifax game, the Ottawa 67’s and Oshawa Generals were getting going at the Tribute Communities Centre in Oshawa. The 67’s were putting their perfect playoff record on the line here as well as trying to finish up the series with a 3-0 series lead.
After a relatively peaceful first period, things got messy in the second. It began with a goal. Oshawa’s Ty Tullio scored just 1:20 into the second period.
At 9:47, all hell broke loose as Nikita Okhotyuk and Serron Noel got into it. In the end, Okhotyuk was assessed a kneeing minor, a roughing minor and a fighting major. Noel received five for fighting plus the instigator minor plus a game misconduct for instigating.
Another flare up later in the period, at the 15:57 mark, saw Ottawa’s Kody Clark take an unsportsmanlike conduct minor, Tye Felhaber a roughing minor and Merrick Rippon a roughing minor. Oshawa’s Brandon Saigeon was given a roughing minor, so it would be 4-on-3 for the Generals for two minutes and then 5-on-4 once those penalties expired. Nothing came of it on that four minute man advantage and it remained 1-0 Generals heading into the third.
After a scoreless 18 or so minutes of the third, Ottawa pulled goaltender Michael DiPietro with just over two minutes to go in regulation. The 67’s were up two men already with Oshawa’s William Ennis in the box for delay of game at 17:44 and Nico Gross off for a check to the head at 18:41.
With that 6-on-3 advantage, it was Felhaber who was the hero to send the game to overtime. He scored with 34 seconds to go in the game, tying it at one apiece. Ottawa’s streak was out of peril for the moment as we prepared for OT.
And it would not take long. Just 20 seconds in, with Ottawa still on the power play, Felhaber finished things off, beating goalie Kyle Keyser to close out the series and earn the Ottawa 67’s the Bobby Orr Trophy as Eastern Conference champions of the OHL. It was Felhaber’s second of the game.
Ottawa will now try to remain undefeated, facing the winner of the Guelph Storm-Saginaw Spirit series for the OHL championship. Saginaw is currently up 3-1 in that series.
DiPietro mde 21 saves on 22 shots for Ottawa while Keyser was 42-for-44 for the Generals. The 67’s went 2-for-3 on the power play while Oshawa did not score on their three attempts.
Mitchell Hoelscher had two shots on goal and won six of the 16 faceoffs that he took.
Saginaw and Guelph will play again on Friday. The Spirit can wrap things up then and face the 67’s for the right to represent the OHL in the Memorial Cup in May.
We now continue west to Spokane where the Vancouver Giants were up two games to one on the Spokane Chiefs.
Spokane made the early bid to even the series when Adam Beckman scored late in the first period at 18:38 to give the Chiefs the 1-0 lead.
Beckman would double the Chiefs lead at the 10:06 mark of the second period when he added his second of the game to make it 2-0. In truth it was really Adam Beckman two, the Vancouver Giants nothing halfway through the second period but that would certainly do for the Chiefs.
But in the third period, the Giants finally broke through. Jadon Joseph scored just 4:26 in to cut the Spokane lead in half and get Vancouver back into the game.
Neither team had taken a penalty at this point since the first period until Spokane’s Kaden Hanas went off for hooking at 8:47 of the third. This one was costly as Vancouver’s Bowen Byram scored less than a minute into the man advantage to level the game off at two each.
This served to only wake the sleeping Giants. Brayden Watts scored 57 seconds after the power play goal tied things to give Vancouver the 3-2 lead. Suddenly things were falling apart for the Chiefs as the Giants had scored three unanswered to take the lead in the game.
The Chiefs needed a hero and Riley Woods responded. He scored at 16:25 of the third to tie things again, this time at three. Once regulation ran out, we were off to overtime for a second straight night in this series.
But the magic was not there for Spokane tonight. Vancouver’s Dawson Holt scored from Alex Kannok Leipert and Byram at the 7:07 mark of the OT period to give the Giants a commanding 3-1 lead in the series.
Being a pretty cleanly played game, Vancouver ended the night 1-for-2 on the power play while Spokane did not score on their one chance. In goal, David Tendeck made 28 saves on 31 shots in 67:07 of work for the Giants. For the Chiefs, Bailey Brkin stopped 26 of 30, so the shots were pretty even at 31-30 in favor of Spokane.
Ty Smith finished with an even plus/minus but did not register a shot on goal.
Vancouver will try to close things out on Friday, April 26 as the series returns to BC for game five. That game is a 10:30 PM ET puck drop.
April 25 will bring us the quarterfinals in the IIHF U18 World Championship as Jack Hughes and Team USA will take on Finland. We will have coverage for you here then.