Ryan Kujawinski and John Quenneville have sights set on OHL and WHL titles, respectively. (Photo: Getty Images)
A pair of Devils prospects have punched their tickets to the conference finals in the Canadian Hockey League.
John Quenneville and the Brandon Wheat Kings are set to face the Calgary Hitmen in the WHL Eastern Conference Final, while Ryan Kujawinski and the North Bay Battalion take on the Oshawa Generals in the OHL Eastern Conference Final.
Both series were set to get underway Friday. Quenneville and the Wheat Kings open at home; Kujawinski and the Battalion will start on the road.
It’s the most important time of the year and no better time for me to play well. - John Quenneville
Quenneville, the 30th overall pick last year, is tied for second on Brandon with nine postseason points (4g-5a) in 10 games and is plus-5. He posted 17 goals and 47 points for the Wheat Kings during the regular season, but was limited to 57 games because of injury.
The Wheat Kings finished first overall in the WHL with 114 points before advancing past the Edmonton Oil Kings (featuring Devils prospect Brandon Baddock) and the Regina Pats. Both series were settled in five games.
Quenneville scored in double overtime to eliminate Edmonton in the first round, then set up his brother Peter for the series-clinching OT goal against Regina.
"I’m really motivated,” Quenneville told the Brandon Sun at the start of the postseason. "It’s playoffs, right? You want to win games and you want to contribute to the team," he said. "It’s the most important time of the year and no better time for me to play well."
The Battalion, meanwhile, have reached the conference final for the second straight year. Kujawinski marched past his former squad with a first-round sweep of the Kingston Frontenacs, then picked off the Barrie Colts and Devils prospect Joseph Blandisi.
Kujawinski’s double-overtime marker against Barrie in Game 4 gave North Bay a 3-1 series lead before they closed out the Colts in five.
Taken in the third round, 73rd overall, in 2013, Kujawinski has five goals and eight points in nine playoff games. He posted 59 points (34g-25a) this season and was plus-19 in 61 games split between North Bay and Kingston, finishing fourth among Battalion scorers.