As the second round of the Western Hockey League and Ontario Hockey League playoffs passed their halfway points, the outlook for Mac Carruth and the Portland Winterhawks became clearer, while Brandon Saad and the Saginaw Spirit still face a tough test ahead.
Brandon Saad and the fifth-ranked Saginaw Spirit have found themselves in a familiar position in their second-round series against the London Knights: tied 2-2 after the first four games of the series. Saginaw’s first-round matchup against Sarnia was similarly tied before the Spirit won the next two contests. Saginaw and London split a pair of 5-2 games earlier this week, with each team winning on the road. Spirit captain Saad recorded two assists in Game 3, but was held scoreless in Game 4.
London will host Game 5 on April 13 before the series returns to Saginaw for Game 6 the next night.
Mac Carruth made it seven straight victories to begin his playoff run before Portland finally experienced their first defeat.
Carruth faced 40 shots for the second consecutive contest in Game 3, but made 38 saves to record a 5-2 victory. Game 4 was a different story: Portland stormed to a 4-1 lead after the first frame, but let in the next four goals as the Blazers staved off elimination with a 5-4 win. Carruth made 29 saves on 34 shots in the game.
The Winterhawks have an opportunity to close out the series in front of their home fans when they host Game 5 on April 16.