At Evangeline Recreation Centre
ABRAM-VILLAGE – The Island Junior Hockey League playoffs will get underway on Tuesday.
Island Junior Hockey League
The Arsenault’s Fish Mart Western Red Wings will host the Holland College Hurricanes in the opening game of the best-of-five quarter-final series at the Evangeline Recreation Centre. Game time is 7:30 p.m.
The Red Wings finished the regular season in fourth place at 12-18-2 (won-lost-overtime/shootout losses), and the Hurricanes were fifth at 9-20-3. The Red Wings won the season series 5-3.
The Hurricanes had a strong start and finish to the regular season, but struggled in between. The Hurricanes went 8-5-2 in October and February, but struggled to a 1-15-1 record in November, December and January.
The Hurricanes have played well as of late, thanks to solid goaltending by rookie Matt Derry and solid defensive play from second-year defencemen Eric Locke, Will Connolly and Curtis Hall.
Offensively, Patrick Cummiskey has led the way, finishing seventh in league scoring and second among rookies. Nick MacDonald and captain Jonny Richards have also played important roles.
Last year's scoring champion may not have repeated this year, but Jeremy Balderston still scored 14 more points and led the Red Wings offensively.
Forward Brandon Carter has returned and will bring physical play and some secondary scoring. Forwards Brett Adams, Blake Ozon and Fidan Feta, along with defencemen Tayler Smith and Matt Kelly, will be expected to play big minutes.
The winner of the Hurricanes-Red Wings’ series will face the Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers, who are four-time defending league champions and last year’s Don Johnson Memorial Cup champions, in a best-of-seven semifinal series.
The Vipers’ goaltending duo of Grant Grady and Dylan McQuaid were tops in the league this season in a year in which offence dominated.
League-wide goals per game this season was the highest ever, although league records for this stat are not available previous to 2001-02. The Vipers have no shortage of offensive firepower, with Jordan Mayhew (66), Jeremy Jollimore (56) and Kyle Doucette (53) all recording more than 50 points.
Falcons vs. Maniacs
In the other semifinal, the third-seeded Sherwood A&S Scrap Metal Falcons will meet the second-seeded Montague Total Assets Fitness Maniacs.
The Maniacs threatened to challenge the Vipers for top spot all season. They finished 20 points ahead of their semifinal opponents and were 7-1 against the Falcons this season, but all of that history will be erased when the post-season starts.
Sherwood started off the season with a strong October, but closed out the season with just one win in their last seven games. Craig Dougan will lead the Falcons into the post-season offensively. He was fifth in the league in scoring with 56 points.
In goal, the Falcons have given the majority of the minutes recently to Daniel Nicholson, who was acquired from Montague in December.
The schedule for the best-of-seven semifinals will come available as the first round progresses.
When They Play
IJHL quarter-final series schedule:
Tuesday, March 4 – Holland College at Western (Evangeline Recreation Centre), 7:30 p.m.
Saturday, March 8 – Western at Holland College (Simmons Sport Centre), 8:15 p.m.
Sunday, March 9 – Holland College at Western (Evangeline Recreation Centre), 7:30 p.m.
Game 4, if necessary
Monday, March 10
8:15 p.m. – Western at Holland College (Pownal Sports Centre
Game 5, if necessary