Saad, Carruth through to second round in CHL playoffs
|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.
Mac Carruth and the Portland Winterhawks secured a second-round matchup against the second-ranked Kamloops Blazers by way of a 4-0 sweep of Kelowna. Portland will host Games 1 and 2 on April 6-7.
- Mac Carruth started all four games for the Winterhawks and recorded one shutout, a 2.25 goals-against average and a .926 save percentage.
With Victoriaville already eliminated—and 2011 first-round draft pick Phillip Danault joining Rockford last week—Acadie-Bathurst attempted to battle back from a 3-1 series deficit against Chicoutimi. The Titan extended their stay in the playoffs with a 3-2 overtime victory in Game 5 but fell 4-3 in Game 6, again in the extra frame. The matchup against the Saguenéens featured three overtime games and was the only first-round series that didn’t end in a sweep.
- Mirko Hoefflin finished the series with four points (2G, 2A) in six games. Hoefflin scored the game-tying goal in Game 6 to force overtime and won 36 of 78 faceoffs in the series.