The #1 ranked team in the CHL heading into the playoffs are out.
The Prince George Cougars completed the comeback with a stunning 8-2 win in last night's game six of the 2nd round. The Cougars will now face Vancouver in the Western Conference Final.
I'm not shocked, maybe just surprised that the 'Tips could lose four straight and just fall apart. Some say it started earlier than the 3rd period of game five where they held a 3-0 lead only to have the Cougars roar back for the 4-3 win. From that point, the series seemed to be over.
Is this the last we see have former Bronco Dane Crowley (pictured left) in the WHL? The Broncos traded Crowley at the deadline partly due to the assumption he would sign a pro-contract this off-season with the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Crowley's production didn't really improve after he was traded to Everett. During the regular season Crowley played 29 games as a 'Tip collecting four goals and 13 assists. You compare his 33 games with the Broncos where he had four goals and 15 assists. His playoffs weren't spectacular either. Crowley played in 10 playoff games accounting for two assists and a -1 rating.
Good luck to Dane making the jump next season.
What about this guy? This is Jordan Mistelbacher. A virtual throw-in for the Crowley deal. The 16 year-old was playing Junior "A" hockey in Winnipeg before the trade. He made an impression with the 'Tips after they called him up at the end of the season. He played in 8 playoff games collecting three assists.
I really liked Mistelbacher in training camp this past fall. He even cracked the unofficial Top 10 prospects list at number #3 I believe.
When I talked with Everett General Manager Doug Soetaert after the deal, I got the impression the 'Tips didn't really know a lot about Mistelbacher. Soetaert must have received a positive scouting report from someone down the line otherwise why would the Broncos just throw him in? He must have been requested in order to make the deal happen.
I can see Mistelbacher developing into a solid go-to forward for the 'Tips in the years to come. He may turn into a big trade deadline steal. The Broncos have a lot of talent at the '90 age group including Geordie Wudrick, Phil Gervais, Justin Dowling, Ian Curtis, Kris Foucault and Clayton Cumiskey just to name a few.
So the WHL Conference Finals will begin Friday night with Vancouver hosting the sizzling Prince George Cougars. Both teams have won four straight playoff games. Vancouver was 7-1 against P.G. during the regular season - but this is the playoffs now.
The Medicine Hat Tigers host the Calgary Hitmen in game one Friday night. This should be a great series. The Tigers have won five straight playoff games while the Hitmen stormed back to beat Brandon in six after dropping the first two games of the series.
Predictions? How 'bout Cougars in six and Tigers in six. What do you think?
I saw Marc Habsheid Sunday at the Fairview Arena. The Associate Coach of the Boston Bruins is back in town for a week after wrapping up the NHL season. He was checking out the Western Shield championship game between the Swift Current Wildcats and Notre Dame. Marc has a niece (Bailey Habscheid) on the Swift Current team. I plan to track him down before he leaves to get his thoughts on his first NHL season behind the bench. Check back for that.
I'm still trying to track down Myles Rumsey. Hey Rums! Check your messages. His knee injury is worse than first thought. He will be sidelined for months instead of weeks. I'll try to get in touch with him today.
I've been slacking off lately with the blog.... as pointed out by Regan Bartel in our conversation yesterday. I'll try to pick up the pace a little.... enjoy your day.