GWMHL

Playoff Preview: Round 2

In Uncategorized on April 25, 2021 at 4:26 pm

#1 EL DORADO LYNX (53-19-10) vs. #3 PITTSBURGH HORNETS (40-33-9)

Regular season series
EDH won 3-2-1

Top scorers
EDH: Ovechkin (81, 74-23-97), O’Reilly (82, 18-77-95), Connor (82, 28-38-66), Petry (82, 16-41-57)
PIT: Smith (82, 41-44-85), Meier (82, 39-37-76), Malkin (60, 27-49-76), Duclair (72, 43-26-69)

Goaltending
EDH: Rask (48, 2.12, .933), Price (34, 3.48, .906)
PIT: Murray (41, 3.42, .899), Mrazek (41, 3.68, .894)

It took the Pittsburgh Hornets a third-period comeback in game 7 to complete its minor upset over Baltimore. Now they face El Dorado, which has been sitting idle since making short work of Winnipeg. The Lynx actually struggled with the Hornets somewhat during the regular season, and will need to work hard to stop Pittsburgh’s clutch scorers Timo Meier and Reilly Smith, who each had five goals in the first round. But considering El Dorado’s depth and vastly superior goaltending (although Matt Murray more or less saved Pittsburgh’s postseason in the end), it will take a really special round for Pittsburgh to stop the Lynx’s march to the finals.

#1 VANCOUVER NIGHT TRAIN (54-17-11) vs. #3 WEST VIRGINIA RIVER RATS (47-29-6)

Regular season series
VAN won 5-1-0

Top scorers
VAN: Lindholm (82, 42-54-96), Stone (75, 31-61-92), Barzal (82, 22-63-85), Palmieri (77, 38-35-73)
WVR: Draisaitl (82, 44-82-126), Laine (79, 29-64-93), Aho (82, 48-35-83), Nelson (82, 27-47-74)

Goaltending
VAN: Jarry (39, 2.76, .915), Rittich (29, 3.28, .895), Driedger (14, 2.33, .932)
WVR: Francouz (33, 3.56, .901), Markstrom (27, 2.77, .918), Saros (22, 2.95, .907)

The Night Train were able to overcome a 1-1 home split in their series against Boston while #2 seed Delta could not manage the same in its series, dropping three straight on the road to be ousted by the River Rats in 5. Oddly enough, Vancouver dominated the season series with West Virginia, winning five of six games, all in the third quarter, including two dominant road wins. Yet, on paper, the River Rats have a number of advantages: more solid goaltending (the Night Train were forced to white-knuckle their way through a David Rittich start in game 6 while the Rats got sensational netminding from Pavel Francouz and Jacob Markstrom in round 1), better special teams, and better top-end talent. Still, the two-way, uptempo, puck-moving game that led Vancouver to such great regular season heights should once again be on display, if they can only shut down Draisaitl and Aho.

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