WHL Press Release
KALTIRE WESTERN CONFERENCE QUARTER-FINAL RECAP
Ryan Russell scored 27 seconds into double overtime to lift the visiting Kootenay Ice to a 3-2 victory over the Kelowna Rockets in Game 1 of their opening-round series of the 2006 Western Hockey League playoffs on Friday, March 24th.
Adam Cracknell and Cutis Billsten also counted for the Ice while Ben Maxwell chipped in a pair of assists in the victory. Kootenay netminder Taylor Dakers turned in a solid 41-save effort to earn the win. The victory gives the Ice a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Lauris Darzins scored for the Rockets in the final minute of regulation to send the game to overtime, while Alexander Edler also counted in the defeat. Derek Yeomans stopped 16 of 19 shots for the Rockets in a losing cause. The defeat leaves the Rockets down 1-0 in the best-of-seven opening-round series.
Elsewhere on opening night of the 2006 post-season, Cody Franson scored twice to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 win over the visiting Prince George Cougars in Game 1 of their KalTire Western Conference Quarter-Final series on Friday.
Gilbert Brule also scored for the Giants, who snap a five-game losing streak versus the Cougars dating back to the regular season, while Dustin Slade made 19 saves for his first career playoff shutout. The win puts the Giants up 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.
Scott Bowles stopped 20 of 23 shots for the Cougars in a losing cause. The defeat leaves the Cougars down one game to none in the best-of-seven series.
In Everett, Zach Hamill scored once and added an assist to lead the Silvertips to a 4-0 win over the visiting Tri-City Americans in Game 1 of the opening-round playoff series between the U.S. Division rivals on Friday night.
Taylor Ellington – with the winner – John Lammers and Shane Harper also scored for the Silvertips while Leland Irving made 27 saves to earn the shutout in the victory. The win gives the ’Tips a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven first-round series.
Carey Price made 22 stops for the Americans in a losing cause. The defeat leaves the Ams down one game to none in the KalTire Western Conference Quarter-Final series.
In other KalTire Western Conference Quarter-Final action, Chris Durand scored three goals and added an assist as the Seattle Thunderbirds skated to an 8-5 win over the visiting Portland Winter Hawks in the opening game of their first-round playoff match-up on Friday night.
Bud Holloway scored twice for the Thunderbirds, who erased a 5-3 deficit with five unanswered goals, while Aaron Gagnon, Scott Jackson and Kyle Pess also counted in the victory. Bryan Bridges stopped 32 shots to pick up the victory. The win gives Seattle a 1-0 lead over the Hawks in their best-of-seven first-round series.
Michael Sauer netted two goals and an assist for the Winter Hawks while Brandon Dubinsky and Kyle Bailey – each with a goal and two helpers – and Jannik Hansen also scored in the loss. Rookie netminder Kurtis Mucha stopped 30 shots to take the loss in his first career post-season appearance. The defeat leaves the Winter Hawks down 1-0 to the T-Birds in the best-of-seven series.
MNP EASTERN CONFERENCE QUARTER-FINAL RECAP
Steven Gillen scored twice and set up another to lead the Moose Jaw Warriors to a 5-1 victory over the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings in the opening game of the opening-round playoff match-up between the East Division combatants on Friday.
Blair Jones – with a goal and an assist – Jason Bast and Troy Brouwer also scored for the Warriors while Riley Holzapfel chipped in two helpers in the victory. Joey Perricone stopped 15 of 16 shots for the Warriors to earn the win. The victory gives the Warriors a 1-0 lead over the Wheat Kings in the best-of-seven series.
Mark Derlago scored the lone goal for the Wheat Kings in the loss while Tyler Plante stopped 38 shots in a losing cause. The defeat leaves the Wheaties down 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.
Elsewhere in MNP Eastern Conference Quarter-Final action, Devin Setoguchi scored his second goal of the game 7:32 into overtime to lift the Saskatoon Blades to a 3-2 victory over the visiting Regina Pats in the opening game of their first-round series on Friday night.
Justin McCrae also scored for the Blades while Joe Barnes chipped in two assists. Anton Khudobin stopped 28 shots to earn his first career WHL Playoff win. The victory gives the Blades a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Kyle Ross and Petr Kalus scored for the Pats while netminder David Reekie turned in a valiant 49-save performance in a losing cause. The defeat leaves the Pats down 1-0 to the Blades in the best-of-seven series.
In Medicine Hat, Brett Robertson scored twice and added an assist to lead the Tigers to a 5-2 win over the visiting Swift Current Broncos in the opening game of their first-round playoff match-up on Friday night.
Roman Psurny – with a goal and an assist – Darren Helm and Daine Todd also scored for the Tigers while Matt Keetley stopped 24 of 26 shots to earn the victory. The win gives the Tigers a 1-0 lead over the Broncos in the best-of-seven series.
Marc Desloges scored both goals for the Broncos while Kyle Moir stopped 23 of 28 shots in a losing cause. The defeat leaves the Broncos down 1-0 in the best-of-seven series.
In other MNP Eastern Conference Quarter-Final action on Friday, Steve Covington notched a shorthanded marker with 3:09 to play in the third period to lift the visiting Calgary Hitmen to a 3-2 victory over the Lethbridge Hurricanes in Game 1 of their opening-round series.
Jeff Schultz – with a goal and an assist – and Brodie Dupont also scored for the Hitmen while Justin Pogge stood tall making 30 saves to earn the victory. The win gives the Hitmen a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
Mark Olafson and Ben Wright scored for the Hurricanes while rookie goaltender Justin Leclerc made 28 saves to take the loss in his first WHL playoff contest. The defeat leaves the Hurricanes down 1-0 in the best-of-seven opening-round series.