Image courtesy of TheDicksonPress.comAs the NHL postseason nears, the playoffs for the Canadian Hockey League are set to start this weekend, as five Flyers' prospects are set to take part in the OHL, WHL, and QMJHL playoffs.
In the OHL, both Scott Laughton's team and Anthony Stolarz' team are set to have home-ice advantage in the quarterfinals. Laughton and the Oshawa Generals are the top seed in the Eastern Conference and will host the eighth-seeded Mississauga Steelheads. The Generals will host Game 1 on Friday night and host Game 2 on Sunday night.
Anthony Stolarz and the London Knights are the four seed in the Western Conference and they will take on the fifth-seeded Windsor Spitfires in the opening round of the postseason. Just like Oshawa, Stolarz and company will have home games on Friday and Sunday.
In the WHL, Tyrell Goulbourne and the Kelowna Rockets are the top seed in the Western Conference and will take on the eighth-seeded Tri-City Americans in the first round of the playoffs. The Rockets will host Game 1 and Game 2 on Saturday and Sunday. Goulbourne helped Kelowna win the Scotty Munro Memorial Trophy, which is awarded to the WHL team that finishes the regular season with the best record. The Rockets were 57-11-4 during the regular season and finished with 118 points.
The team that finished with the second-best record during the WHL regular season was the Portland Winterhawks, who finished 54-13-5 for 113 points with the help of Taylor Leier. As the two-seed in the Western Conference, the Winterhawks will host the seventh-seeded Vancouver Giants in the first two games of their series on Saturday and Sunday.
In the QMJHL, Samuel Morin has home-ice advantage in the opening round just like the rest of the Flyers' prospects playing for junior teams, as Rimouski Oceanic will take on Chicoutimi Sagueneens in the first round of the playoffs. The first two games of the series will take place on Saturday and Sunday.
In the NCAA, two Flyers' prospects will face each other in the ECAC Hockey Semifinals when Union College takes on Cornell University this weekend. With a pair of assists in Union College's 3-0 win in Game 1 of their three-game series against Dartmouth, Shayne Gostisbehere then helped the Flying Dutchmen sweep the small series with a 4-2 decision over Dartmouth on Saturday. As for Cornell University, it wasn't as easy for Reece Willcox and company, as the school needed to pull out a 1-0 overtime win in Game 3 of the three-game series to advance to the Semifinals. Now, Gostisbehere and Willcox will face one another in the ECAC Hockey Semifinals on Friday at 4:00pm in Lake Placid, New York.
For Nick Luukko and the University of Vermont Catamounts, they won't be taking part in the semifinals, as they were eliminated by UMass Lowell in the Hockey East Quarterfinals. Luukko had an assist in the schools' 3-2 loss in Game 1 of the series and helped the University of Vermont win Game 2 of the series 3-2 in overtime. However, highly-touted prospect Christian Folin helped UMass Lowell win Game 3 by the score of 2-1 to send the Catamounts home.
Michael Parks and the University of North Dakota beat Colorado College 2-1 in the best-of-three NCHC Quarterfinals this past weekend. Parks scored a power-play goal in the second period of North Dakota's 4-2 win in Game 1, but the Colorado College Tigers responded with a 3-2 overtime win in Game 2 to force a third game. UND prevailed in Game 3 though, as they recorded the 4-3 victory to advance to the NCHC Frozen Faceoff, where they will take on the Miami RedHawks Friday night.
Over in Russia, Flyers' prospect Jakub Kovar experienced a rough postseason, as his team, Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg, was swept in the opening round of the KHL playoffs. Kovar was less than stellar in the sweep, as he had a save percentage of .893 and a GAA of 2.61. The seventh-seeded Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg was swept by Barys Astana, who has Nik Antropov, Cam Barker, Dustin Boyd, Brandon Bochenski, Nigel Dawes, Mike Lundin, and Konstantin Rudenko on their roster.
Aside from all the playoff action for many of the Orange and Black's prospects, some interesting news this week surrounds blue liner Robert Hagg. The Flyers' second-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft may be moving from MODO HK to Brynas. a club also in the SHL that could allow the defenseman to have an expanded role on the team, which would help him grow as a player. It isn't a done deal yet, but it's possible that Hagg could join the club that is closer to his hometown than MODO HK.