Like the NHL, the WHL welcomes March as it’s last full month of play before the playoffs begin. While the top eight in the Eastern Conference is set the West is a little more uncertain.
With six points separating the Victoria Royals, Seattle Thunderbirds, Everett Silvertips, and the Prince George Cougars and only two playoff spots available, it should be a race that goes right down to the wire.
Up top, the Tri-City Americans, Kamloops Blazers, and Portland Winterhawks are in a triple threat showdown for the conference crown while the Edmonton Oil Kings have managed a four point separation over the Moose Jaw Warriors for top spot in the East.
The Portland Winterhawks are unbeaten in regulation in their last 11, winning 10 of those contests, as they make a surge to usurp the Tri-City Americans for the division and conference lead.
Of course when Ty Rattie has already broke the 100 point barrier and Flames first-rounder Sven Bartschi is close behind with 87 points, winning is to be expected.
Former Seattle Thunderbird Marcel Noebels has been great since coming over with 26 points in 22 games. The Winterhawks have scored 32 goals more than any other team in the Western Conference.
If the Kelowna Rockets were hoping to challenge for home-ice advantage in the first round, a 2-5-1-2 losing skid hasn’t helped that goal. The Rockets are currently sixth with a 15 point lead on the four bottom teams in the West.
The playoffs then are almost a certainty but when you’ve allowed 28 more goals than you’ve scored on the year getting out of the first round seems unlikely, especially considering they’ll be facing one of the Winterhawks, Blazers, or Americans.
Players of the Week
Brendan Shinnimin of the Tri-City Americans took home the honour this week thanks to 11 goals and 19 points in just four games.
I could do that, I just don’t want to.
Shinnimin’s week earned him not just not WHL top honours, but CHL as well.
CHL Top 10
|Rank||Team (Record)||Last Week||# of Weeks Ranked|
|1||Saint John Sea Dogs (45-14-0-2)||2||23|
|2||London Knights (44-14-0-1)||1||22|
|3||Tri-City Americans (45-15-1-2)||4||20|
|4||Shawinigan Cataractes (41-13-3-4)||5||21|
|5||Kamloops Blazers (43-16-1-3)||3||14|
|6||Portland Winterhawks (44-15-3-1)||6||6|
|7||Plymouth Whalers (40-17-2-1)||8||16|
|8||Edmonton Oil Kings (41-15-3-4)||7||11|
|9||Quebec Remparts (38-15-5-2)||10||20|
|10||Niagara IceDogs (39-17-0-3)||–||2|
WHL Top Scores
|1||Brendan Shinnimin||Tri-City Americans||60||52||65||117||74|
|2||Ty Rattie||Portland Winterhawks||60||52||54||106||54|
|3||Mark Stone||Brandon Wheat Kings||58||39||66||105||18|
|4||Adam Hughesman||Tri-City Americans||63||38||64||102||40|
|5||Jordan Weal||Regina Pats||63||38||64||102||32|
|6||Emerson Etem||Medicine Hat Tigers||58||53||45||98||30|
|7||Patrick Holland||Tri-City Americans||63||24||73||97||44|
|8||Michael St. Croix||Edmonton Oil Kings||64||39||57||96||33|
|9||Sven Bartschi||Portland Winterhawks||44||26||61||87||34|
|10||Michael Ferland||Brandon Wheat Kings||60||40||44||84||75|
|11||Brendan Ranford||Kamloops Blazers||61||37||45||82|