Two Calgary Flames prospects kept their championship hopes alive, while another has had theirs extinguished last night in Brandon.
The Brandon Wheat Kings capped off their Eastern Conference Championship series with the Calgary Hitmen with an 8-2 win, giving them a 4-1 series victory and a trip to the WHL Final against either Kelowna or Portland beginning sometime next week.
Signed Flames prospects Keegan Kanzig (Calgary) and Morgan Klimchuk (Brandon) faced off in the series, along with unsigned 2013 pick Eric Roy (Brandon), who must be signed by June 1 or he’ll become a free agent. (That’s due to his age and when his birthday is, as he’s already 21.)
Kanzig had an assist, a minus-5 rating and 9 penalty minutes in the series – along with a 10-minute misconduct in Game 5 which doesn’t factor into overall penalty totals. He wasn’t stellar in the five games, but he wasn’t nearly Calgary’s worst defender by any stretch of the imagination.
Klimchuk had 2 goals, 5 assists and a plus-3 rating in the series. He had the game-winning goal in Game 4’s win in Calgary. He was strong in all three zones, and that’s coming after returning from an injury he suffered in the first round. He came back in the final game of Brandon’s second round series with Regina, and he seemingly hasn’t missed a beat.
Roy had 1 goal, 5 assists and a plus-8 rating in the series, along with 4 penalty minutes. Granted, the Wheat Kings crushed the Hitmen in terms of overall scoring, but it’s an encouraging sign. I’m still not sure if he gets signed, as his defensive game isn’t stellar, but he’s definitely got some offensive upside – at least based on his major-junior performances.
The Wheat Kings out-scored the Hitmen 29-13 in the five-game series.
Both Kanzig and Klimchuk are able to return to the WHL ranks next season as overage players – though neither is expected to by most major-junior followers – while Eric Roy will go pro next season due to aging out of junior.