|The Portland Winterhawks celebrate with goaltender Mac Carruth after winning 5-4 in overtime in Game 2 against the Tri-City Americans. (Photo courtesy WHL/John Allen)|
After a wild finish to their seven-game second-round series, Portland remained on a rollercoaster ride this past weekend, recording a pair of overtime victories to take a 2-0 lead over the Tri-City Americans in the Western Conference Final of the Western Hockey League.Read the full story >>
|Mac Carruth exchanges a handshake with his Kamloops counterpart after registering a Game 7 shutout. (Photo courtesy WHL/Richard Galaway)|
After going up 3-0 in their second-round matchup against Kamloops in the Western Hockey League Playoffs, Portland hit a major speed bump, losing the next three contests and being pushed to the brink of elimination. In Game 4, the Winterhawks held a 4-1 lead after the first period, but allowed the next four goals to the Blazers and eventually lost 5-4. Game 5 was a 7-2 blowout loss on home ice. Kamloops engineered another comeback in Game 6, scoring five times in the third period to nip the Winterhawks 7-6. Click here to read the full post >>
|Brandon Saad was awarded the OHL's William Hanley Trophy for most sportsmanlike player of the 2011-12 season. (Photo courtesy Terry Wilson/OHL)|
In the first three second-round games between Saginaw and London, Brandon Saad logged two goals and three assists as the Spirit sprung out to a surprise 2-1 series lead. But the top-ranked Knights managed to shut down Saginaw’s captain and leading postseason scorer in the next three games, holding Saad without a point as the Spirit fell out of the Ontario Hockey League playoffs.Click here to read the full post >>
|Blackhawks prospect Mac Carruth has won seven of eight WHL playoff games in Portland's playoff run. (Photo courtesy of WHL/Bryan Heim)|
As the second round of the Western Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League playoffs passed their halfway points, the outlook for Mac Carruth and the Portland Winterhawks became clearer, while Brandon Saad and the Saginaw Spirit still face a tough test ahead.
Brandon Saad and the fifth-ranked Saginaw Spirit have found themselves in a familiar position in their second-round series against the London Knights: tied 2-2 after the first four games of the series. Saginaw’s first-round matchup against Sarnia was similarly tied before the Spirit won the next two contests. Saginaw and London split a pair of 5-2 games earlier this week, with each team winning on the road. Spirit captain Saad recorded two assists in Game 3, but was held scoreless in Game 4.Click here to read the full post >>
|Mac Carruth and his Portland Winterhawks are undefeated in six games through the first two rounds of the WHL playoffs. (Photo courtesy of WHL/Bryan Heim)|
Two Blackhawks prospects are providing veteran experience as their teams continue battling in the second round of the CHL playoffs; Saginaw captain Brandon Saad is playing in his second postseason with the Spirit, and Portland goaltender Mac Carruth already has two playoff runs under his belt with the Winterhawks. Through the first two games of their respective second-round series, Saad and Carruth have made significant contributions to try and lead their teams further into the postseason.
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|Photo by Getty Images
Is it officially a dynasty for Boston College? The Eagles have won three NCAA titles in the last five years: 2008, 2010 and now 2012. The top-ranked team in the nation steamrolled their way through this year’s edition, outscoring opponents 16-2 in four tournament games. BC finished their campaign with 19 consecutive victories dating back to Jan. 27.
Eagles center Kevin Hayes, Chicago’s first-round draft pick in 2010, now joins a growing list of title-winning BC alum in the organization, including his brother, Jimmy, who is about to try for postseason success with the Blackhawks, and Ben Smith, NCAA tournament hero in 2008 and 2010.Click here to read the full post >>
|Kevin Hayes (No. 12) watches the action from the bench during Boston College's 6-1 NCAA semifinal victory over Minnesota on April 5. (Photo by Getty Images)
Kevin Hayes, as younger siblings tend to do, is trying his best to follow in his brother’s footsteps. Jimmy, now with the Blackhawks, won an NCAA title with Boston College in 2010. One of his frequent linemates that year was Chris Kreider; the other was Ben Smith. Smith, of course, currently plays for the IceHogs. Kreider, a first-round draft pick of the New York Rangers in 2009, is still at BC, playing wing for the younger Hayes.
Jimmy tallied three points—a goal and two assists—in the 2010 Frozen Four. Kevin, in trying to capture that same title two years later, has one point so far, but it was a big one for BC, who defeated Minnesota 6-1 last night in Tampa to make the title game for the fifth time in seven seasons.Click here to read the full post >>
|Brandon Saad, 2011 second-round draft pick, led the Saginaw Spirit with 12 points (6G, 6A) in six first-round appearances.|
One round is in the books, and two Blackhawks representatives are left in the hunt for hardware: Mac Carruth in the Western Hockey League and Brandon Saad in the Ontario Hockey League.
Saginaw passed a stern first-round test against Sarnia, besting the Sting in a six-game series. The Spirit will face the London Knights in the second round of the OHL playoffs, hosting Game 2 on April 8. The Knights—who count Dave Bolland and Patrick Kane among their alumni—finished the regular season with the OHL’s best record (49-18-0-1) and swept their series against Windsor in the first round.
- Brandon Saad: The Spirit captain led by example, pacing the team with six goals, six helpers and a +7 plus/minus rating in six games. Saad dropped four points (2G, 2A) in Saginaw’s 5-2 victory over Sarnia in Game 5, including the game-winning goal and an empty-netter to seal the victory.
- Ludvig Rensfeldt: Sarnia's Swedish winger was held to just one assist in the final two games, but finished with five points (2G, 3A) in six appearances.
|Spirit captain Brandon Saad contributed two goals and a helper in Saginaw's 4-3 overtime win, tying their series against Saginaw at two games apiece. (Photo courtesy Terry Wilson/Saginaw Spirit)|
After four games in the first round of the CHL playoffs, four Blackhawks prospects remain in the hunt for a league title and a trip to the Memorial Cup later this spring, while three others were eliminated.Click here to read the full post >>
|As Sarnia and Saginaw continue to battle in the first round of the OHL playoffs, Ludwig Rensfeldt has two goals in three games for the Sting, while Brandon Saad scored three goals and added two assists for the Spirit.|
As the first round of the Canadian Hockey League playoffs kicked into action last weekend, the outlook for seven Blackhawks prospects started coming into focus.
Ontario Hockey League
Sarnia and Saginaw have played three times, with the fourth-seeded Sting taking a 2-1 series lead last night after Ludwig Rensfeldt scored the game-winner at 15:51 of overtime, his second tally of the evening. Sarnia won Game 2 4-3, while the Spirit took Game 1 on the back of a two-goal performance by Brandon Saad. Saginaw will host Game 4 on March 28.
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