The Calgary Hitmen wasted no time halting the Lethbridge Hurricanes' Cinderella charge on Friday night.
Brandon Kozun scored twice and added an assist to lead Calgary to a convincing 7-1 win over the Hurricanes in the opening game of their Western Hockey League Eastern Conference semifinal series.
Paul Postma and Joel Broda each tallied two goals for the Hitmen. Carson McMillan also scored, Bostjan Golicic had four assists, Michael Stone had three helpers, while Kyle Bortis set up a pair of goals.
Mitch Versteeg scored the lone goal for the Hurricanes, who upset the second-place Saskatoon Blades in seven games to move on to the second round. Lethbridge's 4-3 victory in Game 7 came on Wednesday, giving them one off-day before travelling to Calgary to face the Hitmen, who had nine days of rest after sweeping the Edmonton Oil Kings.
The Hitmen quickly shook off any rust from their long layoff, scoring twice in the first period on goals from MacMillan and Kozun. Postma made it 3-0 on an early second-period power play before Versteeg got the Hurricanes on the board less than a minute later with a man-advantage marker of his own.
Zach Boychuk, who leads the Hurricanes with seven goals and 11 points in the playoffs, was held to just one assist on Friday as Lethbridge was outshot 36-16.
Elsewhere in the WHL, it was: Tri-City 4, Kelowna 3; and Vancouver 3, Spokane 1.
At Calgary, Hitmen goalie Martin Jones made 15 saves to improve his record to 5-0 in the playoffs. Juha Metsola started in net for the Hurricanes and allowed five goals on 28 shots before being relieved in the third period by Michael Tadjdeh, who stopped six of eight.
The Hitmen host Game 2 of the series in Calgary on Sunday afternoon.
Americans 4, Rockets 3
At Kennewick, Wash., Taylor Procyshen scored the winner with 1:53 left in the game to lead the Americans over Kelowna in the first game of their Western Conference semifinal series.
After a scoreless first period, the Rockets opened the scoring on a goal by Evan Bloodoff, but the Americans answered 10 minutes later with a tally by Jason Reese.
Tri-City came out firing in the third, taking a 3-1 lead with goals by Kruise Reddick and Jarrett Toll. Kelowna evened things up with goals by Lucas Bloodoff and Tyson Barrie before Procyshen put the game away.
Reddick and Mitch Fadden each had two assists for the Americans.
Giants 3, Chiefs 1
At Vancouver, Garry Nunn's power-play goal at 6:40 of the third period sparked the Giants to a 1-0 series lead over Spokane as the last two Memorial Cup champions met in a playoff series for the first time since 1993, when the Kamloops Blazers, coached by Giants bench boss Don Hay, faced off against Spokane.
Mike Piluso also scored and Craig Cunningham added an empty-netter with only 43.9 seconds left in the game for Vancouver, which remained undefeated in the 2008-09 post-season.
Mitch Wahl replied for the Chiefs.