The Eastern Conference playoffs get underway tonight in the WHL. There are some great matchups in the first round and the East Division of the conference may be the best division the WHL has seen in a very long time. Swift Current, Moose Jaw and Regina could all compete for the Ed Chynoweth Cup this season. The problem is two of the teams play each other in the first round. Here is how I see round one working out.
(1) Moose Jaw Vs (WC2) Prince Albert
Prediction: 4-0 Moose Jaw
I see the Warriors handling P.A pretty easily in the first round. Jayden Halbgewachs was the regular season scoring leader putting up 70 goals in 72 games and Brayden Burke isn’t too bad of a player either. I can’t see the Raiders stopping this offence and Moose Jaw hold the edge on the defensive side as well. Look for the Warriors to win in four games.
(2) Swift Current Vs (3) Regina
Prediction: 4-3 Regina
This could be the best series of the entire playoffs. The Pats seem to have finally come together after a slow start and some big deadline moves. This series is a crap shoot. Both teams have great offensive weapons and their D cores are very good as well. It could come down to goaltending. With the Memorial Cup coming to Regina I just see the Pats wanting to get to the second round just a little bit more but they will have to stay disciplined or the series will be over before it begins .
(1) Medicine Hat Vs (WC1) Brandon
Prediction: 4-2 Brandon
Brandon decided to get out of the trade deadline arms race and saw the Pats slide past them for the third spot in the East Division but they are still a capable playoff team. I just don’t see any Central Division team beating the top four from the East. The Central is the weakest division in the WHL in my opinion and Brandon should be able to handle the one seeded Tigers.
(2) Lethbridge Vs (3) Red Deer
Prediction: 4-3 Lethbridge
The Hurricanes limped into the playoffs going 2-8 to end the season. Jordy Bellerive may be able to will his team to the second round. I don’t know if Lethbridge will be able to turn this slide around in time but I think their offence will be able to squeeze out the series and advance the team to the second round.
The East poses some interesting matchups in round one. Between Swift Current and Regina one Memorial Cup calibre team will be out in the first round. The East also possesses some upset opportunities especially in the Central Devision. I can’t wait to see everything play out. I’ll have the second round predictions after round one so stay tuned. Thanks for reading!