GWMHL

First Round Preview: Plante Conference

In News on May 26, 2011 at 9:34 pm

#1 Salem Wannabees (53-22-7) vs. #4 El Dorado Lynx (36-35-11)

 

A late surge propelled the Lynx past the Sterling Eagles on the last day of the season. Their reward? A series against the league’s best team in Salem. The Wannabees boast perhaps the deepest forward corps in the league, including Patrick Marleau, who notched 77 goals in the regular season. The Lynx have some firepower – and a brick wall in net in Tuukka Rask – but they’ll need more than Alex Ovechkin up front to get by Salem.

Season Series
In six meetings – all in the first quarter – the season series between these two teams was 2-2-2. Unfortunately for El Dorado, they were outscored pretty handily in some of those games, including a record-setting 8-goal game for Marleau.

Salem 3 at El Dorado 4
Salem 1 at El Dorado 4
Salem 2 at El Dorado 2 (OT)
El Dorado 1 at Salem 1 (OT)
El Dorado 6 at Salem 12
El Dorado 0 at Salem 5

Top Scorers – Regular Season

Salem

LW Patrick Marleau    82  77  57  134
RW Loui Eriksson      82  42  77  119
C  Nicklas Backstrom  69  21  54   75
D  Dan Boyle          76  18  45   63
C  Pavel Datsyuk      78  28  30   58

El Dorado

LW Alex Ovechkin      73  50  34   84
LW Ryan Kesler        82  27  52   79
D  Teemu Selanne      54  26  34   60
C  Christian Ehrhoff  80  20  25   45
C  James Van Riemsdyk 78  10  28   38

Starting Goaltenders

Salem

G  Craig Anderson     45  28-14-3  2.83  .912

El Dorado

G  Tuukka Rask        43  22-15-5  2.10  .933

Notable

– Salem had the top powerplay in the regular season, clicking at 22.8%
– The Lynx, meanwhile, were the league’s second most penalized team
– Marleau and Eriksson boasted sky-high plus-minuses on the season (+65 and +63 respectively)
– Rask had the lowest GAA and best save percentage in the entire league

#2 Charleston Chiefs (43-26-13) vs. #3 South Carolina Fire Ants 45-32-5)

 

Like any good matchup between second and third seeds, this series may be too close to call. Charleston has some offensive weapons and got great goaltending down the stretch from Miikka Kiprusoff, but South Carolina has very few glaring weaknesses – and some difference-makers up front and on the back end. The Fire Ants’ Evgeni Nabokov finished the year with a lofty .931 save ¬†percentage and 7 shutouts in 55 games.

Season Series
The Fire Ants know better than anyone what Kiprusoff can do – he shut out an injury-depleted South Carolina in three straight games in the final quarter as Charleston won the season series with a 7-2-1 record. But South Carolina also stole two shutouts of its own on the road early in the season. The plot thickens.

South Carolina 3 at Charleston 5
South Carolina 2 at Charleston 2 (OT)
South Carolina 3 at Charleston 0
South Carolina 2 at Charleston 0
Charleston 5 at South Carolina 2
Charleston 3 at South Carolina 0
Charleston 3 at South Carolina 0
Charleston 6 at South Carolina 0

Top Scorers – Regular Season

Charleston

C Steven Stamkos    82  55  29   84
RW Rick Nash        76  35  31   66
RW Nathan Horton    62  16  48   64
LW Alexander Frolov 81  18  37   55
C David Backes      78  20  32   52

South Carolina

LW Dany Heatley     82  40  40   80
RW Milan Hejduk     56  24  28   52
C  Travis Zajac     82  17  35   52
C  Rich Peverley    82  24  25   49
LW Vinny Prospal    75  12  37   49

Starting Goaltenders

Charleston

G Miikka Kiprusoff  37  20-11-6  2.11  .932

South Carolina

G Evgeni Nabokov    55  34-18-3  2.17  .931

Notable

– Charleston and South Carolina allowed the fewest goals in the entire GWMHL this season
– South Carolina didn’t crack the top 10 in either PP or PK; they hope this isn’t a special teams series
– Charleston’s three goaltenders – Kiprusoff, Quick, Neuvirth – combined for 16 shutouts (8, 5, and 3 respectively)

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