By Scott Billeck – @scottbilleck
With both the Addison Division and Sher-Wood Division finals set, we recap the events that happened in the semifinal match-ups in Manitoba’s premier junior hockey league.
The Selkirk Steelers came into the playoffs the clear-cut best team in the MJHL, finishing the regular season with an impressive 102 points. Their opponent, the Winnipeg Blues, took the long road after having to play the Winkler Flyers in the best-of-three, a series the Blues swept in two games.
Winnipeg came out strong in Game 1 of the best-of-seven against the Steelers, shutting out Selkirk’s formidable offence 5-0. That game set the tone for the rest of the series, and while Selkirk would keep the rest of the games close — including a 1-0 win to keep their playoff dreams alive — ended up bowing out in Game 5 after a 4-1 loss at the Selkirk Rec. Centre. The Steelers, who boasted the league’s best offensive player, put up just seven goals in the series while giving up 16.
In the other Addison Division match-up, the defending MJHL champion Steinbach Pistons squared off with the Portage Terriers. The Pistons, who finished in second place in the MJHL, split the first two games of the series, pulling out a 4-3 overtime win at home in Game 1 before falling 3-1 in Game 2 in Portage. The Pistons regained the series lead with a convincing 6-1 win in Game 3. The Terriers leveled the series for a second time in Game 4 with a 2-0 shutout victory. The Pistons put a strangle hold on the series in dramatic fashion in Game 5, winning a 6-5 thriller in overtime. The Terriers didn’t quit, however, and posted another home shutout with a 3-0 win to send the game back to Steinbach for Game 7.
The Pistons came flying out of the gate in the deciding game and took a 2-0 lead into the second intermission. A five-minute major for kneeing that was assessed to the Terriers lead to two more goals, sealing a 4-0 shutout for the Pistons and sending them to the Addison Division finals for the second straight year.
Over in the Sher-Wood Division, the Dauphin Kings made quick work of the OCN Blizzard. Dauphin finished with 83 points in the regular season — 37 points ahead of the Blizzard — and it showed as the Kings swept the series in four games. Perhaps the most noteworthy news to come out of the series was in the goals-for and goals-against category. Dauphin’s four wins were all shutouts, while putting 16 goals past the Blizzard over the four games.
The Kings will meet the Virden Oil Capitals in the Sher-Wood final after Virden took the best-of-seven series against the Swan Valley Stampeders in six games. Swan Valley raced out to a 2-0 series lead with a 3-0 shutout win in Game 1 followed by a close, 4-3 overtime win in Game 2. Virden took Games 3 and 4, 6-2 and 3-2 respectively, and didn’t look back, posting a 4-1 win in Virden in Game 5 and then clinching the series back in Swan Valley with a 3-2 win in Game 6.
The division final match-ups look like this:
In the Addison Division, the Winnipeg Blues will take on the Steinbach Pistons. Over in the Sher-Wood Division, the Dauphin Kings with take on the Virden Oil Capitals with Game 1 scheduled in Dauphin’s Credit Union Place this coming Sunday. The schedule for the Addison final has not been released.
|Mar 23||Virden Oil Capitals||at||Dauphin Kings||7:30 pm|
|Mar 25||Dauphin Kings||at||Virden Oil Capitals||7:30 pm|
|Mar 27||Virden Oil Capitals||at||Dauphin Kings||7:30 pm|
|Mar 29||Dauphin Kings||at||Virden Oil Capitals||7:30 pm|
|April 1||Virden Oil Capitals||at||Dauphin Kings (if nec.)||7:30 pm|
|April 3||Dauphin Kings||at||Virden Oil Capitals (if nec.)||7:30 pm|
|April 4||Virden Oil Capitals||at||Dauphin Kings (if nec.)||7:30 pm|