While the National Hockey League’s post-season has garnered the majority of the headlines – and for good reason – the playoffs continue in the Canadian Hockey League! Several Flames prospects remain improbably alive at this point, though one particular series is guaranteed to see a Flames prospect end their season (and possibly their junior career) after this round.
Several bits and bites of good news here for Flames fans!
First, the Calgary Hitmen disposed of the Medicine Hat Tigers in five games, and the game they lost (Game 2) was a heart-breaker in overtime off a weird bounce. The Hitmen were full marks and deserved to win, and did themselves some favours with some bumps and bruises by closing it out in five. Keegan Kanzig had 1 assist and a plus-1 rating, but was (again) used in a shutdown role.
Second, the Hitmen will be facing the Brandon Wheat Kings in the Eastern Conference Final. That means they’re matched up against Flames picks Morgan Klimchuk and Eric Roy. The Wheat Kings beat the Regina Pats in five games. The better news is that Klimchuk, who had missed several games with an injury, returned for Brandon’s series-clinching win. He had an assist for the Wheaties, and his addition gives them a lot of useful depth. (Spoiler: he’s a good player.) Roy, still a Flames property unless he’s not signed by June 1, had four assists and a plus-2 rating in the series.
I’m quite excited by this series, as the Hitmen and Wheat Kings have been really good this year. And we get to see Klimchuk head-to-head against Kanzig, most likely, with the loser likely finishing their junior career in this series.
Meanwhile, Austin Carroll’s junior career is done, as the Victoria Royals lost to Kelowna in five games. Carroll had a goal and six assists in the series, but to no avail. Kelowna moves on to face Portland in the West Finals, while Carroll probably comes to Calgary.
Over in Ontario, the Oshawa Generals and Hunter Smith are off to their conference finals, where they will face the North Bay Battalion. Smith had three goals and three assists in five games against the departed Niagara Ice Dogs, and has reportedly been one of the Generals’ better players and physical forces.
Well, the Quebec Remparts swept the Mason McDonald-less Charlottetown Islanders in four games. McDonald’s been out since the first round with a suspected knee injury, and my guess was that he probably wasn’t close to a return anyway based on what I’ve heard and been told.