The Whitby Warriors were the latest arrival to the Minto Cup party for 2013, but that won’t affect their status as favorites. Not that anyone’s got their names engraved on the Cup just yet, but when a team qualifies for this go-around for a third consecutive season, that’s something to take note of. Respect. The Warriors punched their ticket with a gutsy rally to beat Six Nations in 7 games in the Ontario finals, and today they’re making plans to join the Okotoks Raiders (Alberta), the Coquitlam Adanacs (B.C.) and the New Westminster Salmonbellies (B.C.) for the tournament that kicks off Saturday in New West. In Alberta, the Raiders took the scenic route kinda like Whitby did by winning Game 7 on Saturday after nearly letting a 3-1 lead in that series slip away. But that’s all dust in the wind now as the 4 reps rest and study up for the finals they want to pass so badly.
What’s to like? Warriors won Games 6 and 7 against Six Nations after trailing in series, 3-2, to show some major pluck and earn a Minto Cup berth for a third straight season … After scoring 4 goals in first 2 periods of Game 6, Warriors scored an amazing 11 goals in the third period to win that game on Friday, 15-11 … Defense held Six Nations’ Johnny Powless to 3 goals in last 4 games of series. Powless, leading playoff scorer in Ontario this postseason, had 8 goals in the first 3 games of the series … Secondary scoring came up big in Games 6 and 7. Austin Shanks scored a combined 5 goals in those games after scoring 6 in the first 5 games, and Michael MacDonald also had 5 in the last 2 games after scoring 4 in the first 5 … G Alexis Buque made 43 saves last night, giving him 40 or more saves in 4 of the 7 games vs. Six Nations … After giving SN 3 power-play goals on 7 chances in Game 1, Whitby penalty killers were in beast mode for the rest of the series, shutting out the Arrows (0-for-22) in the next 6 games.
What’s not to like? Even though the power play was a respectable 10-for-33 (30%) for the 7-game series against the Arrows, the extra-man unit was just 1-for-9 over the final 3 games of the series … Whitby’s top scorers were a bit quieter than usual in the last 3 games of the series as Reilly O’Connor (1), Curtis Knight (2) and Ryan Keenan (3) combined for just 6 goals in the last 3 games of the series.
Minto Cup, TBA
What’s to like? Adanacs clinched B.C. title with Game 5 win against New Westminster last night to win best-of-5 series, 3-2 … It’s the fifth straight B.C. title for the Adanacs … 9 different players scored goals to help fill void of F Wes Berg, who will miss remainder of season with broken foot … F Steven Neufeld caught fire in the playoffs, scoring 11 goals in the series against New West. He has 14 goals in 8 playoff games, more than half of the 26 he scored in 17 regular-season games … Neufeld ends playoffs as leading scorer in B.C. with 29 points (14-15), 1 more than Berg’s 28 (12-16) … G Peter Dubenski finishes playoffs with B.C.-leading save percentage of 83.80% and goals-against of 7.62.
What’s not to like? Scored just 2 short-handed goals in 8 playoff games (.2 per game) after scoring 19 in 21 regular-season games (.9 per game) … Adanacs lost 2 playoff games for first time since 2009 season.
Minto Cup, TBA
What’s to like? The Salmonbellies are back in the Minto Cup for the first time since 2010 … G Ross Bowman has played well in Frankie Scigliano’s stead, making 87 stops and allowing 29 goals since stepping in during the first period of Game 3 … Team-leading scorer Eli McLaughlin and teammate Anthony Malcolm are tied with 2 others with 4 power-play goals, tops in B.C. … McLaughlin’s 28 points (15-13) is tied for second-most in B.C. … F Cody Nass, who had just 1 goal in his first 6 playoff games, has 4 goals in his last 3 games … After scoring just 1 short-handed goal in 7 playoff games, the ‘Bellies have 2 in their last 2.
What’s not to like? The ‘Bellies are missing regular G Frankie Scigliano. The 15 goals-allowed is the most in a game this postseason … In the first round against Langley, the ‘Bellies didn’t allow more than 5 goals in a single period, but they allowed 7 in 2 different periods against the Adanacs … As well as Bowman has played, his save percentage (74.79%) and goals-against (10.40) ranks near the bottom of the goalie table.
Minto Cup, TBA
What’s to like? Won 7-game series vs. Mounties, 4-3, with 13-3 win in Saturday’s Game 7 … After the Mounties scored the first goal of Game 1 just 27 seconds into the game, the Raiders responded with 7 straight goals to take a 7-1 lead into the third … Defense held Mounties’ leading scorer, Dan Taylor, to just 1 assist in Game 7 … Matthew Kristiansen had 3 goals and 3 assists to up his team-leading postseason points total to 37 points (16-21) … F Holden Cattoni had 1-3, with all 3 assists coming in the first period to help the Raiders get their winning run started.
What’s not to like? Losing Games 5 and 6 after leading the series 3-1 cast some doubt, but the Raiders washed all that away with a dominant performance in Game 7 to win the series and get back to the Minto Cup tournament for the second time in 3 seasons.
Minto Cup, TBA
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