GWMHL

Series Preview: Plante Final

In News on June 6, 2011 at 3:32 pm

#1 Salem Wannabees (53-22-7) vs. #2 Charleston Chiefs (43-26-13)


There could have been two first-round upsets in the Plante Conference and instead there were none. But both Salem and Charleston were pushed to the absolute limit in their respective series – seven hard-fought games that put their regular season success to the test.

While Salem is coming off a series that saw a hot goaltender put a kink in their vaunted offense, the Chiefs actually scored pretty well in the opening round – and have a weapon in net as well in Miikka Kiprusoff, whose .919 is the best save percentage of any goalie left in the playoffs. But several key Chiefs are going to need to get it going to get past Salem – notably Rick Nash, who has just one goal in seven game. If the Wannabees can shut down Steven Stamkos – and they have a blueline that could do it – they’re going to the finals.

Season Series
Salem had the decided advantage in the six games these teams played against each other during the regular season. They won 4, and pasted the Chiefs twice in Charleston. The Chiefs did steal one in Salem late in the season, though, and they’ll need to recapture that spirit to have any chance in this series.

Salem 8 at Charleston 4
Salem 5 at Charleston 1
Salem 1 at Charleston 1 (OT)
Charleston 4 at Salem 5
Charleston 3 at Salem 2
Charleston 1 at Salem 4

Top Scorers – Playoffs

Salem

LW Patrick Marleau    7   3   5    8
LW Loui Eriksson      7   1   5    7
C  Nicklas Backstrom  7   4   2    6
C  Pavel Datsyuk      7   2   3    5
LW Kristian Huselius  7   0   5    5

Charleston

RW Nathan Horton      7   1   8    9
D  Derek Morris       7   2   6    8
C  Steven Stamkos     7   6   1    7
RW Rick Nash          7   1   5    6
LW Alex Frolov        7   3   2    5

Starting Goaltenders

Salem

G  Craig Anderson     7   4-3     2.30  .902

Charleston

G  Miikka Kiprusoff   7   4-3     2.45  .919

Notable

– Salem has relied quite heavily on its top line of Backstrom between Marleau and Eriksson, who are getting almost no help from the back end – Dan Boyle has just one goal and three points so far
– Derek Morris leads all defensemen in playoff scoring with 8 points
– The El Dorado Lynx never solved Salem’s special teams – the Wannabees have a 95.2% penalty kill rate

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