GWMHL

Vancouver, El Dorado Vie for 1st as Regular Season Ends

In News on April 2, 2021 at 10:03 am

The sun set on the GWMHL’s 2020-21 regular season this week, with a flurry of late movement carrying major playoff implications.

The El Dorado Lynx finished with a commanding lead in the Plante Conference, 14 points head of second-place Baltimore. The biggest news here is the Winnipeg Falcons holding off the Salem Sabercats for the fourth and final playoff birth, ending Salem’s 13-season postseason streak. Winnipeg will make its first playoff appearance since 2016 and just its second since 2004. The third-place Pittsburgh Hornets, meanwhile, will see the playoffs for the first time since 2015. Of the conference’s playoff teams, only the Lynx made an appearance last season.

There were fewer surprises in the Sawchuk Conference, but still much movement. The Vancouver Night Train‘s wonderful fourth quarter allowed them to clinch first overall and ensure home ice advantage, while the Delta Sturgeon climbed to second place with a strong Q4 showing. The Boston Banshees, the reigning champs, sagged from second place all the way to fourth as the West Virginia River Rats clawed their way into third in a positive ending to their roller coaster of a season.

West Virginia’s Leon Draisaitl took the scoring crown, with 126 points, one of five players to reach the century mark this season. Alex Ovechkin of El Dorado had another monster quarter to reach 74 goals on the season, the most by a large margin. It was the sniper’s career-best total, and he becomes just the 10th player in league history to pass the 70-goal mark. Ovechkin’s teammate, Tuukka Rask, led the major goaltending categories with a 2.12 GAA, a .933 save percentage and 32 wins. Charleston rookie Dominik Kubalik led all freshmen with 74 points, but even more remarkable was Baltimore defenseman Cale Makar‘s 67 points as he became a key part of the team’s resurgence.

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