Eastern Conference Championship Series Preview

whl playoffs


CALGARY, AB – The Eastern Conference Championship Series opens Friday as the Brandon Wheat Kings and the Calgary Hitmen continue their quest to become the 49th WHL Champions and earn a spot at the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Quebec City, QC.The WHL Regular Season Champion Brandon Wheat Kings advance to the Eastern Conference Championship Series for the first time since 2010 after defeating the Regina Pats in a five-game series in Round 2.

The Wheat Kings now face the Calgary Hitmen, who defeated the Medicine Hat Tigers in five games in their Round 2 match-up. Here’s a look at the Eastern Conference Championship Series: BRANDON WHEAT KINGS vs CALGARY HITMEN


2014-15 Regular Season Records 
Brandon:                                   53-11-4-4, 114pts 
Calgary:                                   45-22-1-4, 95pts 

2014-15 Head-to-Head Records 
Brandon:                                   3-1-0-0, 6pts
Calgary:                                   1-2-0-1, 3pts 

2014-15 Head-to-Head Top Scorers 

Nolan Patrick (BDN)                 3gp-1g-4a-5pts
Ryan Pilon (BDN)                     3gp-0g-5a-5pts
Rihards Bukarts (BDN)             4gp-4g-1a-5pts
Morgan Klimchuk (BDN)           4gp-2g-3a-5pts
Radel Fazleev (CAL)                 4gp-2g-2a-4pts
Connor Rankin (CAL)                4gp-1g-3a-4pts
Adam Tambellini (CAL)             4gp-1g-3a-4pts

The Brandon Wheat Kings and Calgary Hitmen meet in the Eastern Conference Championship Series for the fourth time in WHL Playoff history. The Hitmen prevailed in the 2009 and 2010 Eastern Conference Championship Series against the Wheat Kings, whileBrandon took the Conference title in 1998. The two Clubs last met in Round 1 of the 2012 WHL Playoffs when Brandon advanced in five games. In total, the Wheat Kings and Hitmenhave met in the post-season on six occasions and have each posted three series victories.The Hitmen and Wheat Kings met four times during the regular season as Brandon claimed three of four.

The Brandon Wheat Kings advanced to the Eastern Conference Championship Series after eliminating the defending MasterCard Memorial Cup Champion Edmonton Oil Kings followed by the Regina Pats, each were five-game series. Offensively, Tim McGauley and Rihards Bukarts are amongst 10 different Wheat Kings that have notched two goals or more thus far in the 2015 WHL Playoffs. McGauley has continued a strong year that saw him record 105 points (42g-63a) during the regular season, third-best in the WHL. Defensively, Ivan Provorov and Eric Roy lead a blue line that has only given up 21 goals in 10 post-season games entering this series. Special teams has played a key role for the Wheat Kings as they have converted on 28.2% of their power play opportunities and have killed 85.0% of their penalties.Brandon has embraced playoff hockey as they own a record of 5-1-0-0 in one-goal contests through their first 10 games of the 2015 WHL Playoffs. Goaltender Jordan Papirny has been terrific for the Wheat Kings, with a 1.98 goals against average and a .938 save percentage, and has started each game so far.

The Calgary Hitmen return to the Eastern Conference Championship Series for the first time since 2013 after edging out the Kootenay ICE in a tough seven-games series before defeating the Medicine Hat Tigers in five games. The Hitmen enter the series as the highest scoring Club in the 2015 WHL Playoffs with a total of 49 goals scored. Hitmen forward Adam Tambellini leads the League with 21 (9g-12a) post-season points while Travis Sanheim leads all WHL defenceman with 15 points (5g-10a). The power play has clicked so far for the Hitmen as their 13 power play goals lead all Clubs. Goaltenders Mack Shields and Brendan Burke have shared the crease this post-season, with Shields receiving the nod of late. Shields owns a 6-1-1 record  in nine appearances so far to go along with a 2.33 goals against average and a .927 save percentage.  

Series Schedule
(Game 6 to be announced in the coming days)

Date Game Away   Home Time
Friday, April 24 1 Calgary @ Brandon 7:30pm CDT
Saturday, April 25 2 Calgary @ Brandon 7:30pm CDT
Tuesday, April 28 3 Brandon @ Calgary 7:00pm MDT
Wednesday, April 29 4 Brandon @ Calgary 7:00pm MDT
Friday, May 1 5* Calgary @ Brandon 7:30pm CDT
TBD 6* Brandon @ Calgary TBD
Tuesday, May 5 7* Calgary @ Brandon 7:00pm CDT

*If necessary

Current NHL Prospects


Brandon Wheat Kings

Player Position YOB NHL Club
Jayce Hawryluk C 1996 Florida Panthers
Peter Quenneville RW 1994 Columbus Blue Jackets
John Quenneville C 1996 New Jersey Devils
Morgan Klimchuk LW 1995 Calgary Flames
Reid Duke C 1996 Minnesota Wild
Eric Roy D 1994 Calgary Flames

Calgary Hitmen

Player Position YOB NHL Club
Kenton Helgesen LW 1994 Anaheim Ducks
Chase Lang RW 1996 Minnesota Wild
Jake Virtanen RW 1996 Vancouver Canucks
Adam Tambellini C 1994 New York Rangers
Radel Fazleev LW 1996 Philadelphia Flyers
Keegan Kanzig D 1995 Calgary Flames
Ben Thomas D 1996 Tampa Bay Lightning
Travis Sanheim D 1996 Philadelphia Flyers
Brendan Burke G 1995 Arizona Coyotes


2015 NHL Draft Prospects


Brandon Wheat Kings

Player Position YOB NHL CSS Final Ranking
Ivan Provorov D 1997 7 (NA Skaters)
Ryan Pilon D 1996 24 (NA Skaters)
Jordan Papirny G 1996 28 (NA Goalies)
Tim McGauley C 1995 165 (NA Skaters)

Calgary Hitmen

Player Position YOB NHL CSS Final Ranking
Pavel Karnaukhov C 1997 118 (NA Skaters)
Micheal Zipp D 1996 189 (NA Skaters)