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Prospects continue pushing for playoff success

by Emerald Gao / Chicago Blackhawks

As Sarnia and Saginaw continue to battle in the first round of the OHL playoffs, Ludwig Rensfeldt has two goals in three games for the Sting, while Brandon Saad scored three goals and added two assists for the Spirit.

As the first round of the Canadian Hockey League playoffs kicked into action last weekend, the outlook for seven Blackhawks prospects started coming into focus.

Ontario Hockey League

Sarnia and Saginaw have played three times, with the fourth-seeded Sting taking a 2-1 series lead last night after Ludwig Rensfeldt scored the game-winner at 15:51 of overtime, his second tally of the evening. Sarnia won Game 2 4-3, while the Spirit took Game 1 on the back of a two-goal performance by Brandon Saad. Saginaw will host Game 4 on March 28.

  • Rensfeldt: scored his first two goals of the playoffs on March 26, including the overtime game-winner, and has a +1 plus/minus rating through three games.
  • Saad: scored twice in the series opener, added two assists in the second contest and scored a third goal on Monday in Game 3 for a total of five points, tied for the Saginaw lead. Saad also has a +1 rating and four penalty minutes through three games.

Sudbury lost their first two matchups against the Brampton Battalion, with Swedish goaltender Johan Mattsson in the pipes for both losses, a 4-0 shutout in Game 1 and a 4-2 result in Game 2, in which the Wolves managed only 14 shots on goal. The series goes to Sudbury for Games 3 and 4 on March 27-28.

  • Mattsson: made 50 saves on 57 shots for a .877 save percentage in his first two games.

Western Hockey League

Two netminding prospects have experienced opposite fortunes this season, and the playoffs have proved no different so far. Mac Carruth is 2-0 with the Portland Winterhawks so far, posting a shutout in Game 2 against Kelowna, while Kent Simpson’s eighth-seeded Everett Silvertips are 0-2 against Tri-City. Portland travels to Kelowna for Game 3 tonight, while Everett will host Game 3 and 4 against the Americans tonight and tomorrow.

  • Carruth: made 46 saves on 49 shots for a .939 save percentage through two starts, including a 20-save shutout on March 24.
  • Simpson: played 28:04 in Game 1, giving up five goals on 23 shots before being pulled as Everett dropped the series opener 7-2. In Game 2, Simpson made 33 saves on 36 shots in a 3-1 loss.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League

Both Blackhawks prospects in the Q suffered losses in the opening two games of their respective series. Victoriaville lost 4-3 and 5-3 to Baie-Comeau, while Acadie-Bathurst managed only one goal in each of their games against Chicoutimi. Games 3 and 4 of both series will take place tonight and tomorrow, with Phillip Danault and the Tigres visiting the Drakkar and the Titan host the Saguenéens.

  • Danault: scored a goal in Game 1 against Baie-Comeau and has won 34 of 58 faceoffs (58.6 percent) through two games.
  • Hoefflin: held scoreless in his first two games despite taking five shots on goal. Hoefflin has also won 20 of 33 faceoffs (60.6 percent).
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