1. Whitecourt vs. 5 Grand Prairie
Game 1 is tonight in Whitecourt which is a quick turn around for GP who just won their series versus Dawson in game 5 Saturday night in Dawson. The Wolverines are the best team in the league as I have said before so I don't expect this to be a long series. GP will hang with the Wolverines at times (not tonight though I wouldn't think) but I am going to call a Whitecourt sweep.
Key Players: For Whitecourt the key player in this series will be Ryan Demharter. Grand Prairie has some fire power and since we know the Wolverines will score goals as long as Demharter is solid they will win these games. For Grand Prairie I will have to go with Cody Atkinson. By the sounds of things he was a beast against Dawson and will need to continue to score for the Wheelers to have any chance of extending this series.
Prediction: Wolverines in 4
2. FSJ vs 3. Peace River
This is the matchup both sets of fans wanted to see. The age old rivalry between the two most prestigious and decorated teams in the NWJHL. A rivarly that at one point had seen 4 or maybe even 5 straight finals played between the Huskies and Navs with the Huskies winning 3 of them. I will check but I wonder if maybe all 4 of the Huskies championships have been won at the expense of the Navs. Either way this is going to be a great series and the bad blood is there. A hit on Kole Norris late in their last regular season game that resulted in an Ambulance being called and Norris being stretchered off the ice will ensure that the Huskies will be fired up to play this Navs team. I think the Huskies are too good at home for Peace River and will find a way to win a game in Peace.
Key Players: For the Huskies it's Zack Blain. He has been very good in the playoffs posting a 2.00 GAA so far in 3 games against Slave Lake. He was spectacular in Peace River the last time the Huskies were there and if he plays to that level all series the Huskies should have no problems. Honourable mention to Steve Fast who needs to get going a little offensively. Second on the team in goals in the regular season was Fast but he hasn't found the back of the net yet in the playoffs. For the Navs it's Bretton Stewart. At times brilliant and at times awful. Stewart won game 1 against Beaverlodge with the shutout in a one nothing game but let in a crap load of goals in Beaverlodge including when the Navs threw away a 5-2 lead and lost game 4 7-5. If he can match Blain the Navs have a shot.
Prediction: Huskies in 6 (I want to say 5 but the Navs are a good team and Selluck Bunn being back helps them so I will be a little more conservative)
In case you missed it I went 3 for 3 on my predictions on the first round. I even correctly picked Grand Prairie over Dawson in 5 games and Peace over Beaverlodge in 5 as well. The only thing that stopped me from running the table on the winners and the number of games was that Huskies loss in Slave Lake. I let Zack Blain hear about that the other night.