With a prospect on each of the OHL’s final four teams, the Canucks are guaranteed to have at least one player competing at the 2015 Memorial Cup. While in the WHL, two prospects remain as Anton Cederholm and Jake Virtanen look to advance their respective team to the final round.
OHL Eastern Conference Final
Oshawa Generals (51-11-6) vs. North Bay Battalion (37-20-11)
Prospects: Cole Cassels, Oshawa and Miles Liberati, North Bay
Notes: Cassels ended the second round with a bang, scoring three times and setting up another in a 4-2 Game 5 win. Despite being held off the scoresheet in two of the five games against Niagara, Cassels finished the series with eight points (4-4-8).
Liberati on the other hand, will try and make it three straight years of advancing to the OHL Final. He did it in 2013 with London and 2014 with North Bay. Cassels had two goals and three helpers in three games against North Bay this season, while Liberati notched a goal and assist in four games against the Generals. Last season, the Generals finished first in the Western Conference and made it to the third round with ease before being swept by the lower-seeded Battalion. Game 1 is slated for Friday night.
OHL Western Conference Final
Soo Greyhounds (54-12-2) vs. Erie Otters (50-14-4)
Prospects: Jared McCann, Sault Ste. Marie and Kyle Pettit, Erie
Notes: McCann has been great this post-season with points in seven of eight games, despite playing the second round with a banged up hand. Meanwhile, Pettit continues to recover from a broken knuckle and his status for this round is questionable.
These teams have a combined record of 8-1 during the playoffs, finished within six points of each other during the regular season and split their two-game season series. McCann was held off the scoresheet in both regular season matchups, as was Pettit. Game 1 goes Thursday night.
WHL Eastern Conference Final
Brandon Wheat Kings (53-11-8) vs. Calgary Hitmen (45-22-5)
Prospect: Jake Virtanen, Calgary
Notes: After being held off the scoresheet in Games 2 and 3, Virtanen bounced back with a big goal in Game 4, before scoring twice, including one with just 45 seconds remaining to send the game to OT, in Game 5 as the Hitmen ousted Medicine Hat.
The Hitmen have a tough test this round, facing the WHL’s number one overall seed, the Brandon Wheat Kings, who took three-of-four from them during the regular season. Virtanen had one assist in two games against Brandon this season. Game 1 goes Friday night.
WHL Western Conference Final
Kelowna Rockets (53-13-6) vs. Portland Winterhawks (43-23-6)
Prospect: Anton Cederholm, Portland
Notes: A rematch of last year’s Western Conference Final, this will be the fourth time in five years these two perennial powerhouses have met in the post-season, with Portland winning all three previous meetings. The Winterhawks will look to make it five straight trips to the WHL Final with a win. Playing in a shutdown role, Cederholm has one goal through 11 games this post-season, while also finishing as a plus player seven times and a minus player just once. He will have his hands full this round with the likes of Leon Draisaitl and Nick Merkley. Game 1 is on Friday night.