The Island Junior Hockey League playoffs will take centre stage on Sunday.
The 2019 post-season hits full swing as all four teams see action in their respective best-of-seven semifinal series.
The first-place Arsenault’s Fish Mart Western Red Wings will entertain the Eastern Maniacs in Game 2 at the Evangeline Recreation Centre in Abram-Village at 2:15 p.m. The teams are scheduled to open the series at the Eastern Kings Sportsplex in Souris on Friday at 8 p.m.
The second-place Kensington Moase Plumbing and Heating Vipers will host the third-place Sherwood-Parkdale A&S Scrap Metal Metros in Game 1. Puck drop at Credit Union Centre is set for 7 p.m.
This is the second season in a row the Metros and Vipers have met in the opening round. The Metros rallied from a 3-1 deficit in 2018 to win in seven games.
Red Wings vs. Maniacs
The Red Wings completed regular-season play 30-4-2 (won-lost-overtime losses) while the rebuilding Maniacs struggled to a 5-30-1 mark.
After opening the series on the road, the Red Wings will regain home-ice advantage by also hosting Game 3 on Tuesday at 7:30 p.m.
The Red Wings were 9-0-1 against Eastern in 10 regular-season meetings.
The Red Wings feature the top three point-getters in the league. Team captain Chasse Gallant led the way with 56 points, followed closely by Silas Handrahan (55) and Isaac Knox (53).
Nick Steele, who had 24 points, was the top point-getter for the Maniacs.
Both teams feature veteran goaltending tandems. Luke Oliver (16-3-0, 2.20 goals-against average, .926 save percentage) and Bronson Banks (14-3-0, 2.99 GAA, .902 save percentage) handle Western’s netminding duties. Each goalie registered two shutouts.
Noah Laybolt (2-15-0, 5.55 GAA, .862) and Cam Duffy (3-16, 5.02 GAA, 8.62) share time in Eastern’s goal.
Game 4 is in Souris on Friday, March 22, at 8:30 p.m.
Vipers vs. Metros
The Vipers have home-ice advantage this year based on a regular-season record of 25-11-0. The Metros were 17-16-3.
A big factor in the Vipers finishing ahead of the Metros was Kensington winning seven of 10 head-to-head contests.
Offensively, CJ McCardle led the Vipers with 47 points in the regular season. Tanner Lund’s 50-point season was tops for the Metros.
Rookie Caleb Coyle, who backstopped the Kensington Wild to the 2017 and 2018 provincial major midget championships, and Cameron Visser are the Vipers goaltenders. Coyle’s numbers are 13-6-0, 2.58 GAA, .921 save percentage and a league-leading three shutouts while Visser had a 12-5-0 record. His GAA was 2.12 and save percentage was .934.
Ben Parent (7-9-0, 4.31 GAA, .881 save percentage) and Liam Jay (7-10-0, 4.24 GAA, .884 save percentage) are the Metros goaltenders.
Game 2 is at Cody Banks Arena in Charlottetown on Wednesday, March 20, at 8 p.m. The Vipers host Game 3 on March 24 at 7 p.m.