Another regular season is in the books and that means its time for the Playoffs. It came down to the wire for some teams to make it this season and should make the playoffs an interesting one. Once again the Huskies managed to squeek out top spot in the UFHL and the late season surge of the Tundra Helped them capture the UFMHL.
The season saw alot of player personal best, records broken, a wild trade deadline and the first season of the UFMHL which will see alot of rising stars some to the UFHL.
This season was not one the goalies would like to remember as goals were plenty in both UFHL and UFMHL action in most games. There was a record low for shutouts this season. Two in the UFHL and only one in the UFMHL. Some goalies considering put up some good numbers and hopefully will improve during the playoffs.
The playoffs for both leagues will comence on Monday and will see the Fort St John Huskies trying to gain their 2nd UFHL cup as they host the two time champions New Orleans Rage. This season the Rage won the season series 6-4 and all time the Huskies are 21-22-7 against the Rage. Both of these teams have some big guns that can put the puck in the net which will make this series an very interesting one. This series is more of a cup final and the winner of this series is most likely to take home the championship.
The Huskies Mike Carter won the scoring title, but doesnt get alot of goals. Carter's key man during the regular season was traded to the Rage and Cirianni found the back of the net a whopping 36 times even though that wasnt enough to capture the Rocket Richard Trophy.
The goalies for each team are pretty well even. The Huskies are expected to play Tristen Carter who had a 11-4-2 record with a league best 4.36gaa and a .833 save percentage. As for the Rage its not clear who will start Kransinski had a 7-7-2 record and league worst 5.14 gaa and a .811 save percentage. Bouchard a late pickup at trade deadline had a 3-1-0 record with the rage and a 4.52 gaa.
This series is expected to go seven games and this winner should most likely win the UFHL cup. Rage have the edge in this series.
On the Memorial Conference side we will see the Blenheim Blades take on the Kamloops Vipers. The Blades have been to the cup finals the past 2 years but keep falling short and will most likely fall short again this season. This is the first time for Kamloops competing for the Memorial Conference and trying to get to the finals. The Vipers have the season series 6-4. This series should see lots of goals and teams gettting alot of powerplay oppourtunities. Kamloops had the worst powerplay and penalty kill this season.
The Vipers are expected to see rookie netminder Lukas Purchase between the pipes at some point in the series, but may have to count on vetern goaltender Rob Bechard who posted a 9-10-1 record a 4.96 gaa and a .804 save percentage. The Blades on the other hand had two good goalies between the pipes and will most likely see rookie netminder Sean Bonar in net who maybe a contender for rookie of the year, Bonar posted a 10-6-0 record a 4.40 gaa, which was 2nd best in the league and the league leading .842 save percentage.
I am guessing Kamloops in 6 games
In UFMHL action in the US conference we will see the Anchorage Tundra who are on an 11 game win streak take on the Honolulu Sharks. The Tundra have been unstoppable since the trade deadline where they picked up some marquee players and if they do fail this season will be a very dominent force next season. The Tundra won the season series 7-3.
Both teams have some amazing scoring power and have some players which will be in the UFHL next season.
The Tundra will most likely be starting Welz in net who ended up with a 14-4-0 record a 4.36 gaa and a .830 save percentage. The Sharks have more to think about as one goalie did alright in winning games, but cant stop the puck and the other can stop the puck but not win games.
If the Sharks hope to advance Turner is gonna need some help as the Tundra are a far more in depth team and capitalize of rebounds and penalties. Both teams had great powerplays, but the Sharks lacked on the penalty kill.
Anchorage will win the series in 5 games.
In the candien conference will see the Quebec City Demons take on the Kitchener Rapids. The Demons were a dominent team this season especially with vetern Mike Sangster in net. The Demons are expected to make it to the finals and most likely face the Anchorage Tundra. Quebec won the season series 7-3 which saw alot of blow out games.
The Rapids will probably look to Hanshaw in net as both goalies didnt put up great win records, but Hanshaw's gaa and save percentage is alot better than Mangus'. The Demons I assume will be starting Sangster in goal who posted a 13-4-1 record a league best 3.91 gaa and a .853 save percentage. Sangsters stats were the better of all goalies in both leagues.
The Demons powerplay is expected to take the best of the Rapids and will win the series in 6 games.
Look for a Tundra and Demons UFMHL final and the series will be a battle of the goaltenders. The Demons have alittle more edge of the vetern players, but the Tundra have a better depth and scoring power.