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In the System: Canes Prospects Shine in CHL Playoffs

by Nikki Stoudt @NikkiStoudt /

The Carolina Hurricanes' season may be over, but a number of Canes' prospects are making noise in their respective junior teams' playoff runs.

Ontario Hockey League (OHL)

Warren Foegele (2014, third round)

Forward Warren Foegele and the Erie Otters clinched the playoffs early on, with their 50-15-3 record earning them the title of regular-season champions. The Otters' success continued in the first round of the playoffs, as they outscored the Sarnia Sting 29-12 in a four-game sweep. Foegele recorded six points (2g, 4a) in series, helping Erie progress to the second round to face off with the London Knights and fellow Canes prospect Janne Kuokkanen.

If the drama of competing against a potential teammate wasn't enough, all seven games were needed to decide who would advance. Still not enough? How about overtime in Game 7?

Foegele took a seat for cross-checking late in the third period, allowing the Knights to knot the game at four apiece with a minute left in regulation. Roughly 10 minutes into overtime, Foegele scored the game-winning goal to send the Otters to the third round.

Tweet from @OHLHockey: WATCH THIS: @FoegDaddy96!@NHLCanes prospect is Game 7 OT hero as @ErieOtters eliminate LDN from #OHLPlayoffs in dramatic fashion. #ERvsLDN

Tweet from @msconduct: Warren Foegele is never afraid to drive to the net, his speed, footwork & commitment complement each other on this goal @CanesProspects

Erie will take on the Owen Sound Attack in the Western Conference Final, marking the first playoff meeting between the two teams in OHL history.

Janne Kuokkanen (2016, second round)

London Knights forward Janne Kuokkanen totaled eight points (4g, 4a) in the Knights' seven-game victory over the Windsor Spitfires in the first round of the 2017 OHL playoffs.

Including this beauty:

Tweet from @msconduct: Janne Kuokkanen has hands like silk. @CanesProspects @GoLondonKnights #OHLPlayoffs

The Finnish forward brought the same energy to the second round against Foegele and the Otters. Game 4 was big for Kuokkanen as he notched two goals, including the game-winner, for his first of two multi-point games in the series.

Tweet from @msconduct: .@CanesProspects Janne Kuokkanen is so much fun to watch. Creative, skilled, smart. Scored 2 goals last night for @GoLondonKnights #OHL

Despite the Knights' eventual elimination, Kuokkanen recorded another eight points (6g, 2a) in the seven-game series, bringing his playoff scoring total to 16 points. He ranked tied for first among league skaters in goals (10) and power-play goals (4).

Steven Lorentz (2015, seventh round)

Peterborough Petes alternate captain Steven Lorentz flipped the switch in Game 2 of the first round against the Niagara IceDogs with his first of four multi-point games (2g, 1a). The centerman would total six points (4g, 2a) in the four-game sweep of the IceDogs, propelling Peterborough to the second round.

In round two, Lorentz and the Petes sent fellow Canes prospect goalie Jeremy Helvig and the Kingston Frontenacs packing in another four-game sweep. Lorentz celebrated his birthday with two goals in Game 4 and helped the Petes outscore the Frontenacs 17-6 in the series.

Lorentz leads the Petes in playoff goals (8) and scoring (12), as well as shots on goal (34) and faceoff-win percentage (67.0%). He also boasts a 67 percent faceoff win percentage (71-for-106), good for first place in the OHL playoffs.

Put simply, stay out of Lorentz's way. 

Tweet from @PetesOHLhockey: When an unstoppable force meets an immovable object. . . Steve Lorentz wins.#PetesRising

Noah Carroll (2016, sixth round)

After being traded to Sault Ste. Marie in January, defenseman Noah Carroll registered 12 points (3g, 9a) in 30 games for the Greyhounds. Carroll tallied one assist as the Soo bested the Flint Firebirds in five games in the first round.

Tweet from @OHLHoundPower: WE'RE MOVING ON! Hounds win the series 4-1 over the @FlintFirebirds with a victory at home! Bring on ROUND 2 baby. ��

The blueliner added another assist to his playoff total in the second round against the Owen Sound Attack, who ultimately eliminated Sault Ste. Marie in six games. Carroll ended the postseason ranked first among Greyhounds in penalty minutes (16).

Jeremy Helvig (2016, fifth round)

The Kingston Frontenacs bested the Hamilton Bulldogs in a seven-game set, with netminder Jeremy Helvig being named first star of the game twice in that span. Helvig allowed 18 goals in 426:52 of playing time, recording a .900 save percentage.

Tweet from @FrontsNation: Three Stars:��Jeremy Helvig (KGN)����Jason Robertson (KGN)������Eemeli Rasanen (KGN)

Helvig posted an .880 save percentage in the second round, as the Frontenacs were swept by Lorentz and the Peterborough Petes.

The Eastern Conference Finals began Thursday, as the East Division Champion Peterborough Petes (Steven Lorentz) battle the Central Division-leading Mississauga Steelheads. The Erie Otters (Warren Foegele) and Owen Sound Attack face off for Game 1 of their series on Friday, April 21, both fighting for the Western Conference title.

Quebec Major Junior Hockey League (QMJHL)

Three Canes prospects call the Saint John Sea Dogs home, so it's safe to say the #Redvolution is strong in New Brunswick.

Julien Gauthier (2016, first round), Spencer Smallman (2015, fifth round), Callum Booth (2015, fourth round)

Goaltender Callum Booth and fellow prospects Spencer Smallman and Julien Gauthier ousted the Rimouski Océanic in just four games, outscoring them 22-8, in the first round of the 2017 QMJHL playoffs. Saint John captain Smallman totaled five points (3g, 2a) in the series, with all three goals occurring in the first game of the series …

Tweet from @SJSeaDogs: ��GOAL�� It's a hat trick goal for the Captain Spencer Smallman 9-2 Dogs

… while Gauthier tallied one goal in the same span.

Tweet from @SJSeaDogs: Julien Gauthier skates through the Rimouski defence in the latest @WawanesaCanada @QMJHL Plays of the Week:

Booth posted an .886 save percentage.

While waiting for the rest of the league to play out the first round, Smallman was looking ahead to the future:

Tweet from @SJSeaDogs: Congratulations to our Captain @ssmallman96 who has signed a 3 year entry level deal with the @NHLCanes ! Great work Spencer!

The quarterfinals proved just as quick as the first round as the Sea Dogs also swept the Val-d'Or Foreurs in four games. Smallman showed off on the penalty kill, netting a shorthanded goal in Game 2 …

Tweet from @SJSeaDogs: Here's @NHLCanes prospect @ssmallman96 scoring a huge shorthanded insurance goal in last night's 4-1 #SJSeaDogs win. #PortCityRise

… and continued his hot streak through the series, notching 6 points (5g, 1a), including his second hat trick of the playoffs in the final game. Smallman ranks first among his teammates and is tied for second among QMJHL skaters in playoff goals (8).

Tweet from @SJSeaDogs: Another pretty passing play finished off by @ssmallman96 last night. Full highlights of the #SJSeaDogs 7-1 win here:

Julien Gauthier's quarterfinals were nothing to sneeze at either as he recorded five points (3g, 2a) in the four-game sweep of the Foreurs. Through two rounds of play, Gauthier is tied for second among QMJHL skaters in game-winning goals (2).

Booth allowed only six goals, registering a 1.44 goals-against average and a .914 save percentage. In addition to his perfect playoff record of 8-0-0, Booth ranks third among QMJHL goalies in playoff goals-against average (1.71).

Tweet from @SJSeaDogs: Callum Booth and other #SJSeaDogs make appearances in the @WawanesaCanada @QMJHL Plays of the Week. Watch:

Nicolas Roy (2015, fourth round)

Chicoutimi Saguenéens captain Nicolas Roy entered the QMJHL playoffs as the team's scoring leader with 80 points (36g, 44a) on the season, and he didn't stop there. In the first round, Roy and the Saguenéens knocked out the Victoriaville Tigres in just four games, during which Roy totaled seven points (4g, 3a) and led the Saguenéens in goals for the series.

The Saguenéens advanced to the quarterfinals and defeated the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies after seven games, helped along by Roy, who tallied two goals and four assists in those games. Going into the third round, Roy leads the Sags in playoff goals (6) and ranks second in points (13).

Roy, Smallman, Gauthier and Booth go head-to-head-to-head-to-head in the QMJHL playoff semifinals as the Chicoutimi Saguenéens and the Saint John Sea Dogs begin their series Friday, April 21, in Saint John.

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