Sorry for the delay folks, it’s been a busy week but we’re back with a look at where the Blue Jackets’ prospects are in the CHL playoffs. We started off the year keeping tabs on 16 prospects across the world, the Falcons (R.I.P. affiliation) and K Wings, and now we’re down to the final lone player competing for a chance at the Memorial Cup. Let’s take a look at the way the last few weeks treated the baby Blue jackets.
Peter Quenneville-Brandon Wheat Kings (WHL-Won Series 4-1)
Series Stats 5GP 3-3-6 +5 0PIM
Playoff Stats 15GP 7-9-16 +7 4PIM
Peter and the Kings faced off against the Calgary Hitmen in the Eastern Conference Final and the Wheat Kings won the series 4-1. The series opened up in a game one goalfest that the Kings won by a score of 9-4. Peter picked up a goal and assist in the win. The first action for Pete came with the game tied at two when Ivan Provorov dropped a pass back to Tim McGauley (two guys on my CBJ Draft wishlist) who, with three Hitmen focusing on him, found Peter in the slot. Quenneville nailed one home to make it 3-2. In the third, with the Kings leading 8-3, Peter took a pass from brother John and then found a streaking McGauley to make it 8-4 in the 9-4 win.
In game two, Peter kept his goal scoring streak alive. In the first, on a five on three, Peter scored from his normal spot on a cross-crease pass from Morgan Klimchuk to make it 2-0 in what would be a 3-2 overtime win.
Peter did have his five game goal scoring streak snapped in game three – a 2-1 Hitmen overtime loss, But he bounced back in a big way in game four that was another Wheat Kings blowout win. Peter’s big night began late in the second when, after a rebound save by Brendan Burke (Sean not Brian’s son), Peter gathered the puck and sent it down low to Tim McGauley who passed to a streaking Morgan Klimchuk to make it 5-1 Wheat Kings. Just under a minute (58 seconds to be exact) later, Peter started a rush in the Kings’ zone and passed to Klimchuk who skated in and attempted the wrap around against WHL Rookie of the Year Nolan Patrick. The shot was stopped but Peter cleaned up the garbage for a goal as part of five straight Wheat Kings points. Late in the third with the Kings leading 6-3, Peter scored again from his usual spot off a pretty passing play. For his three point game, Peter was named first star in the 8-3 win.
Peter was held pointless in a 8-2 game five win that clinched the Eastern Conference Championship Trophy for Brandon. This is the first time the Kings have made the WHL Finals since the 2004-05 season. That season, the team included Jackets’ draft pick/team captain Tim Konsorada and they faced off against this year’s opponents, The Kelowna Rockets. The Rockets won that series 4-1. This is also the first time in 12 years that the top two teams in the WHL meet in the WHL Final.
Quickly, at the WHL Awards, Peter was the Eastern Conference’s representative for the Brad Hornung Trophy for Most Sportsmanlike Player but he lost the award to Kelowna’s Rourke Chartier (revenge in the Final is coming Rourke).
Nick Moutrey-North Bay Battalion (OHL-Lost Series 4-2)
Series Stats 6GP 3-1-4 -2 6PIM
Final Playoff Stats 15GP 7-6-13
Nick and the Battalion took on the top seed in the Eastern Conference, the Oshawa Generals, and ended up falling in the series 4-2. Nick was the star of a 6-1 game one and was the only Battalion player with multiple points. In the third period with the Battalion leading 4-1, Brendan Miller skated in on a two-on-one. Nick was the trailer. Moutrey got the puck and scored to make it 5-2. 10 minutes later, Ryan Kujawinski skated in and passed to Nick who hammered a shot home to make it 6-1. Nick was named first star in the 6-1 game one win.
Nick was held pointless in a 1-0 game two loss before doing pretty much all of the work on the game winner in game three. The game was tied at one after the first period but that was all the regulation scoring we’d see. The matchup went to overtime and that was when Nick took a pass from Alex Henriksson and skated down the wall. Moutrey absorbed a hit and went to the net, sending a pass to Kujawinski who got the game winning goal, his sixth of the playoffs.
Nick was held pointless in games four and five – both Battalion losses. In game six, Nick scored what would be the final goal of the Battalion’s season. In the third, with the Battalion trailing 2-0, Nick Paul shot the puck and Jeremy Brodeur stopped it but let up the rebound for Kyle Wood to get a whack at it before Nick put the puck in the net to make it 2-1.
Nick tied for the team lead for goals in the playoffs. This game more than likely ends Nick’s OHL career meaning he’ll be in Lake Erie next season.
Oliver Bjorkstrand-Portland Winterhawks (WHL-Lost Series 4-2)
Series Stats 6GP 3-4-7 -1 6PIM
Final Playoff Stats 17GP 13-12-25 +8 10PIM
Oliver and the Winterhawks were off to the WHL Western Conference Final for the fifth straight season where they faced the Kelowna Rockets and Oliver was his normal self. Oliver again scored another goal when most fans were probably still sitting down from the National Anthem. Oliver gathered a loose puck at the blueline and skated into the circle snapping a shot to make it 1-0 in a 3-2 game one loss. The goal was Oliver’s 35th playoff goal which puts him second all time for the Winterhawks.
In game two, Oliver picked up an assist on Nic Petan’s very late second period goal that was the game winner in a 3-2 Portland win (you don’t see the assist in the highlights).
In game three, the Great Dane was unleashed starting in the second period when, with the Hawks holding a 2-0 lead, a faceoff resulted in Nic Petan getting the puck. Petan took a shot that was tipped in by Chase De Leo. Early in the third with the Hawks leading 4-1, on the power play Oliver took a pass from Alex Henry with Oliver slammand slammed a shot home – the puck hit the post and bounced off the goalie’s skate to go in and make it 5-1. Four minutes later, two Rockets players misplayed the puck and Nic Petan sent Oliver off to the races on the breakaway. His initial attempt was stopped but he picked up his own rebound for his 13th goal of the playoffs (little wonky on the celebration though boys). Later in the third, Oliver picked up another assist when he sent a shot in front with the rebound going to Paul Bittner who made it 7-2 in a 7-3 game three win.
In game five Oliver picked up an assist on a late third period, game tying goal to tie when he got the puck at the point from Nic Petan and sent it back to Petan who fired a shot to make it 1-1 in what ended as a 2-1 overtime loss.
In what would be Oliver’s last junior game, Bjorkstrand was held pointless in a 8-4 game six loss.
Oliver finishes his career tied for sixth all-time in goals for Portland and 13th all-time in total points. After the season, Oliver was off to Czech Republic to join Team Denmark (and his brother Patrick) in the World Championships. The day Oliver left for Czech Republic was the day of the WHL Awards and boy, did Oliver clean up there. Oliver had already clinched the Bob Clarke Trophy as the League’s top scorer which also made him the WHL’s representative for the CHL’s Top Scorer award but he lost out as Dylan Strome of the Erie Otter (OHL) and Connor Garland of the Moncton Wildcats (QMJHL) each had 129 points. Oliver also won the league’s plus/minus award being a plus 60. The big award though for the WHL is the Four Broncos Memorial Trophy for “player of the year”. Oliver was the Western Conference’s representative. Oliver, to the shock of only a few won the award making him the second Blue Jackets draft pick to win the award since Kris Russell after the 06-07 season. You can see Oliver’s pre-taped speech here. Oliver, like Nick, is off to Lake Erie next year and is likely to be one of their go-to offensive weapons.
That’s it folks, we’re coming to the end of the line. Our next wrap up will be either a final recap for Peter or a Memorial Cup primer. The QMJHL teams for the tournament are already set as the host, Quebec Remparts, are in the finals and they are playing Rimouski Oceanic.
After the CHL season is officially over, we’ll have our annual prospect awards then we get to the fun part of the year – the draft.