Photo: Danielle Gordon Broome
With the first round of the MJHL Playoffs well underway, let’s take a deeper dive into each series.
MGEU West Division
- (1) Swan Valley Stampeders vs (4) Dauphin Kings
Stampeders lead the best-of-seven series 2-0
Game one lived up to the hype of what was expected to be a close, hard battle where goals would be hard to come by.
After Dauphin managed to get the lead, they managed to get it to the third before the Stamps found a way to tie it before scoring the winning goal with just over a minute to go in regulation.
That was in stark contrast to game two which saw the teams combine for 11 goals.
Again, Dauphin held leads at 2-0, 3-1 and 4-2 but the Stamps stormed back with three goals in the final seven minutes of the second to take a 5-4 lead into the third.
The Kings tied it up but the completion of Collin Jennings hattrick would be the difference as another one-goal win gives the Stamps a big advantage heading into game three at home on Tuesday night.
Keys So Far
Swan Valley – Their big-time players have elevated their games. Jennings hattrick, Justin Keck with the game-winning goal in game one plus another in game two, and Trey Sauder has two goals in two games. The names you’d expect to see producing for the Stamps are doing exactly that. Kobe Grant held the fort in game one, giving his team a chance to come back and the team rewarded his efforts by outscoring some issues in game two. That’s a goaltender picking up his team followed by a team picking up their goaltender.
Dauphin – The Kings have been right there in both the games so far and while they are hard to swallow losses, they know they were just a shot away from either forcing overtime or winning outright. Despite losing leads in both games one and two, the Kings can turn it into a positive knowing they’ve been there before, they have proven they can do it and next time can show they’ve learned what it takes to hold a lead. Some key players finding the back of the net will also boost confidence heading back onto the road for a pivotal game three.
Collin Jennings – 3 goals, 3 assists for 6 points
Justin Keck – 2 goals, 1 assist for 3 points
Mathew Gough – 1 goal, 2 assists for 3 points
10 players tied with 1 point
MGEU West Division
- (2) OCN Blizzard vs (3) Virden Oil Capitals
Best-of-seven series tied 1-1
Two gritty teams leaving it all on the line through the first two games has produced a split. This is the lone series to have both games one and two in the same arena.
Game one had the road team coming out and finding ways to be successful in all three zones, eventually giving them the lead.
A back and forth second period proved the Oil Caps can hang in the toughest areas and come away with some clutch performances.
The Blizzard made a game of it and used some of what they were able to accomplish in game one to have a better result in game two.
An edge of the seat, gripping game where both teams battled and eventually, the home team would prevail staving off a late push. The Blizzard responded as good teams do, battling through adversity to knot the series at 1-1.
Keys So Far
OCN – A stiff test on the road, down a game but the Blizzard showed a lot of heart and maturity to come away with the win. Some tough lessons learned earlier in the year has hardened this Blizzard club and prepared them for whatever their opponent or their fans may have in store. Strong, elite goaltending keeps them in games and the star players step up in the big moments. The team responded after going down in game one at home. They will look to build on the success from game two and steal at least a game away from home and regain home ice advantage.
Virden – Coming off a massive game one win, the Oil Caps know they have what it takes both on the ice and with a game plan to be successful. They are not a team that gives up and as cliché as it may seem, they do put in a full 60-minute effort. It’s that determination that will earn them more chances that they’ll need to take advantage of going forward. Getting the saves they need to give their offense a chance will remain critical against some of the hot shooters firing pucks toward their net. While they had a chance to take a 2-0 lead, they’ll be content with a split heading back home to a place where they have had much success.
Drayden Kurbatoff – 2 goals for 2 points
Darik Feasy/Riley Zimmerman – 1 goal, 1 assist for 2 points
Colten Miller – 2 goals, 2 assists for 4 points
Dean Gorchynski – 4 assists for 4 points