Yesterday we provided you with an OHL playoff update as the final four times in the OHL battle it out for rights at the Championship series. Today we’re taking a look at the final four teams from the WHL who will be battling out for their Championship series and a chance at a Memorial Cup.
The Final four teams break down as the Kelowna Rockets, Portland Winterhawks, Edmonton Oil Kings and Medicine Hat Tigers. Both series have played two games each and one remains tied while the other series has a commanding two game leader.
Kelowna Rockets (1) – Portland Winterhawks (1)
The Portland Winterhawks are the reigning WHL champions and are looking to repeat if they could just get past the Kelowna Rockets. Their battling in the conference finals but might have a slight goaltending controversy after Brendan Burke was pulled in a game two loss to Kelowna. On the offencive side Brendan Leipsic is riding an 18 game point-steak dating back to the regular season. He has 21 points in 11 playoff games, while Derrick Pouliot has 20 points and rides a 17 game point streak.
The Rockets are in tough against the Reigning WHL Champions, but have yet to blink in the eye of adversity. This is the Rockets first conference final since 2009 and they’re hoping for at least one more series. The Rockets did manage to sweep the Winterhawks during the regular season, however they have yet to face a full team from the Winterhawks.
The Rockets and Winterhawks are two of the best teams in the WHL and will no doubt have an intense series. Rookie Nick Merkley is leading the way for the Rockets with 16 points in 11 playoff games thus far. The Rockets possess four lines of depth and solid goaltender, if they can slow down the Portland offence they might get the upset.
Edmonton Oil Kings (2) – Medicine Hat Tigers (0)
The Edmonton Oil Kings have a comfy need over the Medicine Hat Tigers after the first two games but there’s still lots of games left. The Kings have been led by the always smiling Curtis Lazar who has 16 points in 12 games and Edgars Kulda lies just outside the top 10 playoff scoring with 14 points. The Oil Kings have walked right through their first two rounds and look to do the same to the Tigers.
The Tigers have had a much tougher road to the conference finals after having to pull a game 7 victory out in the last round. The Tigers have been led by Trevor Cox who is tied for the playoff lead with 23 points in the Tigers first 16 games. However, they are up against the playoff leading netminder in Tristan Jarry. With an early two nothing deficit the Medicine Hat Tigers will have to get winning to advance.