March 18 2014 11:30AM
Bit of a change of format this week, as we focus on playoffs for many of the Calgary Flames prospects.
Who's playing when? And where? Against whom? Slow down there. We got you covered.
2013 draft picks will collide in the WHL's first round as Morgan Klimchuk's Regina Pats face Eric Roy's Brandon Wheat Kings. That series kicks off on Saturday night. Regina is the higher seed. Klimchuk had 74 points this season, and probably would've led Regina in scoring had he not missed a bunch of games. Roy had 44 points in 66 games, so he did well, too. The Wheaties won the season series 5-3-0 (including 2 OT wins), sweeping two games against the Pats to close out the regular season.
Coda Gordon's Swift Current Broncos face the Medicine Hat Tigers. That series opens on Friday night in Medicine Hat. Gordon had 71 points this year, third on the team, but also benefited from being on a line with Graham Black (who had 97 points. The Broncos split their seasons series with the Tigers with two wins each.
Brett Kulak's Vancouver Giants face a tall order, as they play the powerhouse Portland Winterhawks in the first round. The series opens on Friday in Portland. Kulak was quite good for the Giants to start, then fell off a bit. He had 60 points in 69 games. Vancouver lost all four games against Portland this season.
Keegan Kanzig's Victoria Royals face the Spokane Chiefs in the first round. The series opens Saturday in Victoria. Kanzig had 8 points this season. The Royals went a dismal 1-3-0 against Spokane this season, but mostly played them at the beginning of the season.
Out in the Q, both Flames prospects made the playoffs!
Ryan Culkin's Drummondville Voltigeurs plays Victoriaville in the first round. First game is Friday in Drummondville. Drummondville won all four games this season against the Tigres. Culkin had 50 points this season.
Emile Poirier's Gatineau Olympiques play Cape Breton in their first round, opening Friday also. The two teams split a pair of games this season. Poirier had 87 points this year and was generally super-duper.
In the Russian MHL, Rushan Rafikov's team is in the second round. Loko beat Dynamo SPb (St. Petersburg) 3-0 in the first round. They're on the verge of elimination tonight, down 2-1 in the second round against SKA-1946. Rafikov had 20 points this season, but hasn't found the scoresheet yet these playoffs.
Michigan State (Matt Deblouw) plays Ohio State on Thursday night to kick off the Big 10 Conference Tournament. Michigan State is fifth-place in a six-team conference, so they have their work cut out for them.
Providence College (Jon Gillies, John Gilmour & Mark Jankowski) made the semi-finals of the Hockey East Conference Tournament. They'll play New Hampshire on Friday, with the conference finals on Saturday.
Colgate (Tim Harrison) made the semi-finals of the ECAC Conference Tournament. They'll play Quinnipiac on Friday, with the conference finals on Saturday also.
In terms of the Frozen Four, we'll know who's in by Monday. It'll be the conference champions, plus a few at-large teams - almost definitely including Boston College, Providence College and perhaps Colgate. The regionals of the Frozen Four are March 28 & 29.
The bad news is that the Heat have one just once in their last 10 games. The good news is that they're still 9 points up on Oklahoma City and sit in 5th place. Oh, and they got Max Reinhart and Corban Knight back, and got reinforcements in the form of Calgary-born Kyle Ostrow (from Colorado of the ECHL), Garnet Hathaway (from the NCAA) and Tim Miller (from San Antonio of the AHL for futures).
With just a few weeks left in the NHL schedule, things are looking promising for a good Heat playoff run.