2015 WHL Championship Series Preview

whl playoffs


CALGARY, AB – The 2015 WHL Championship Series, presented by Rogers, begins Fridaybetween the WHL Eastern Conference Champion Brandon Wheat Kings and the WHL Western Conference Champion Kelowna Rockets.

 The 2015 WHL Championship Series will open in Brandon as the Wheat Kings and Rockets battle to become the 49th WHL Champions and earn a spot at the 2015 MasterCard Memorial Cup in Quebec City, QC.Brandon and Kelowna meet in the WHL Championship Series for the first time since 2005 when the Rockets defeated the Wheat Kings in five games. Former Rockets defenceman and current Nashville Predator Shea Weber was named the WHL Playoffs MVP that year after recording 17 points (9g-8a).

WHL Championship Series presented by Rogers – Game Schedule

Date Game Away   Home Time
Friday, May 8 1 Kelowna @ Brandon 7:30pm CDT
Saturday, May 9 2 Kelowna @ Brandon 7:30pm CDT
Monday, May 11 3 Brandon @ Kelowna 7:05pm PDT
Wednesday, May 13 4 Brandon @ Kelowna 7:05pm PDT
Friday, May 15 5* Brandon @ Kelowna 7:05pm PDT
Sunday, May 17 6* Kelowna @ Brandon 7:00pm CDT
Monday, May 18 7* Kelowna @ Brandon 7:00pm CDT

*If necessary

WHL Championship Series presented by Rogers – Broadcast Schedule

Games during the WHL Championship Series will be available on WHL on SHAW across Shaw TV’s Western Canadian network and on Shaw HD channel 304. Fans can also subscribe to WHL Live to view the game live on demand at www.whllive.com. Shaw will also air the 2015 WHL Awards beginning at 4:30pm PT prior to Games 1 and 2 on Shaw TV and Shaw HD channel 304.


Here’s a look at the 2015 WHL Championship Series match-up: BRANDON WHEAT KINGS vs KELOWNA ROCKETS

2014-15 Regular Season Records 
Brandon:                                   53-11-4-4, 114pts 
Kelowna:                                   53-13-5-1, 112pts 

2014-15 Head-to-Head Records 
Brandon:                                   0-1-0-0, 0pts
Kelowna:                                   1-0-0-0, 2pts 

Kelowna won the lone regular season match-up between the two Clubs by a score of 6-1 on October, 25th in Kelowna. (GAME SUMMARY)

Brandon Wheat Kings


2015 WHL Playoffs Scoring Leaders
John Quenneville (BDN)           15gp-10g-9a (19pts)
Jayce Hawryluk (BDN)              12gp-10g-8a (18pts)
Tim McGauley(BDN)                 15gp-6g-11a (17pts)
Peter Quenneville (BDN)           15gp-7g-9a (16pts)

The Brandon Wheat Kings reach the WHL Championship Series for the seventh time in franchise history, having previously won the Ed Chynoweth Cup twice. In 1996, the Wheat Kings defeated the Spokane Chiefs in five games to claim top honours and were also crowned WHL Champions in 1979 when they defeated the Portland Winter Hawks in six games.

The Wheat Kings’ journey this season continues as they eliminated the Calgary Hitmen in five games in the WHL Eastern Conference Championship Series in which they outscored the Hitmen 29-13.

Offensively, John Quenneville and Jayce Hawryluk are two of nine Wheat Kings that have collected at least 10 points thus far in the 2015 WHL Playoffs. Wheat Kings’ forward, and regular season top scorer, Tim McGauley has been consistent as he has collected 17 points (6g-11a) so far in the post-season of which eight (1g-7a) came against the Hitmen.

Defensively, draft eligibles Ivan Provorov and Ryan Pilon are key members of a blue line that has only given up 34 goals in 15 post-season games as Brandon enters the WHL Championship Series.

The power play has clicked for the Wheat Kings as their 19 goals on the man advantage lead all Clubs in the WHL Playoffs. The Wheat Kings’ power play has converted on 32.2% of itsopportunities while the penalty kill has been effective 83.3% of the time. Brandon is also dangerous when good early, as they are undefeated when leading after one period.

Goaltender Jordan Papirny has been steady in net for the Wheat Kings and enters the WHL Championship series with a 12-2-1 record to go along with a 2.17 goals against average and a .932 save percentage. Kelowna Rockets


2015 WHL Playoffs Scoring Leaders
Leon Draisaitl (KEL)                 15gp-6g-15a-21pts
Tyson Baillie (KEL)                   15gp-9g-11a-20pts
Nick Merkley (KEL)                   15gp-2g-18a-20pts
Madison Bowey (KEL)              15gp-7g-9a-16ptsThe Kelowna Rockets return to the WHL Championship Series for the first time since 2009 when they dispatched the Calgary Hitmen in six games to hoist the Ed Chynoweth Cup. Altogether, the Rockets make their fourth appearance in the WHL Championship Series,having won all three prior appearances in 2003, 2005 and 2009. En route to their date with the Wheat Kings, the Rockets prevailed over the Portland Winterhawks in six games to end the ‘Hawks run of four consecutive WHL Championship Series appearances.

Edmonton Oilers prospect Leon Draisaitl leads the Club in post-season scoring with 21 points (6g-15a), currently good for fourth in the WHL Playoffs. Rockets forward Tyson Baillie has been a big moment player for Kelowna as he leads all players with five game-winning goals, including two in overtime. The Rockets also own a balanced attack as they have 10 players with at least three goals so far.

Defensively, team captain Madison Bowey leads a back end that has been reliablethroughout the post-season and has only allowed 39 goals in 15 games. Trade acquisition and Winnipeg Jets prospect Josh Morrissey adds another potent dimension to the blue line.

Even against the offensively gifted Winterhawks, the Rockets’ penalty kill has been a key to success with an 87.1% efficiency, second amongst playoff Clubs.

Look for the Rockets to count on Jackson Whistle in goal, while rookie Michael Herringer has also proved up to the task when called upon. Whistle has posted a 2.60 goals against average, a .914 save percentage and a league-leading three shutouts to earn nine of Kelowna’s wins. Meanwhile, Herringer boasts a 1.96 goals against average and a .934 save percentage with three victories. 

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

Kelowna Rockets

Player Position YOB NHL Club
Josh Morrissey D 1995 Winnipeg Jets
Justin Kirkland LW 1996 Nashville Predators
Leon Draisaitl C 1995 Edmonton Oilers
Madison Bowey D 1995 Washington Capitals
Mitchell Wheaton D 1995 Detroit Red Wings
Rourke Chartier C 1996 San Jose Sharks
Tyrell Goulbourne LW 1994 Philadelphia Flyers

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)

Kelowna Rockets

Player Position YOB NHL CSS Final Ranking
Nick Merkley RW 1997 23 (NA Skaters)
Devante Stephens D 1997 116 (NA Skaters)
Joe Gatenby D 1997

174 (NA Skaters)