Wright, Cunti Take Early Series Leads over Tokarski, Barberio

N.A. Juniors Playoff Game Night: 3/31

Opening night of Round 2 in the CHL ... Cunti sets up game winner ... Screaming Eagles use 4 OTs to beat Quebec ... Tokarski shines, but Spokane comes up short ... Fadden another multipoint night.

USHL
Omaha Lancers 6 @ Fargo Force 1 (Regular Season)
D Luke Witkowski, FGO: 1-0-1, -2, 0 PIM, 2 SOG, *Second Star*
Season totals: 54 GP, 6-16-22, +30, 114 PIM

Fargo had a chance to clinch home ice advantage in the first round of the playoffs, but fell two points behind Omaha as the West Division’s 3 seed. Both teams have one game remaining. Witkowski has a three game point streak.

QMJHL Playoffs – Conference Semi-Finals

Rimouski Oceanic 2 @ Moncton Wildcats 1
Rimouski leads Best of 7 series 1-0
W/C Luca Cunti, RIM: 0-1-1, +1, 0 PIM, 1 SOG
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 2-3-5, +4, 6 PIM
Season totals: 57 GP, 20-25-45, +10, 32 PIM
D Mark Barberio, MCT: 0-0-0, -2, 2 PIM, 0 SOG
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 0-4-4, +6, 4 PIM
Season totals: 66 GP, 15-30-45, +9, 42 PIM

Cunti has points in all five Rimouski playoff games thus far, and set up Logan MacMillan (Ducks ‘07 first rounder) with the game winner late in the third period. Moncton’s David Savard (undrafted) had tied the game for Moncton early in the final period. Game 2 is Saturday night.

Cape Breton Screaming Eagles 3 @ Quebec Remparts 2 (4 OT)
Cape Breton leads Best of 7 series 1-0
D Michael Ward, CB: 0-0-0, +1, 0 PIM, 2 SOG
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 1-1-2, +1, 8 PIM
Season totals: 65 GP, 7-27-34, +9, 105 PIM

Robert Slaney (undrafted) scored at the 12 minute mark of the fourth overtime to give Cape Breton home ice advantage in this second round series. CB is 5-0 in the playoffs. Game 2 is Sunday.

WHL Playoffs – Conference Semi-Finals

Kelowna Rockets 3 @ Tri-City Americans 4
Tri-City leads Best of 7 series 1-0
C Mitch Fadden, TC: 0-2-2, +1, 0 PIM, *Third Star*
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 2-9-11, +4, 2 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 37-39-76, +24, 49 PIM

TC captain Taylor Procyshen (undrafted) scored with under two minutes to go to give the Americans the first lead in the series. TC had a 3-1 lead in the third period that was nullified when Tyson Barrie (Second Star) scored at the 6:58 mark for the Rockets. Kruise Reddick, who played for the Lightning in Traverse City last summer, was First Star with a goal and two assists. Fadden is now tied for second in WHL playoff scoring behind Tyler Ennis’ 13 points. Mikael Backlund (Flames ’07 first rounder) did not play for Kelowna due to a lower body injury. Game 2 is Saturday.

Spokane Chiefs 1 @ Vancouver Giants 3
Vancouver leads Best of 7 series 1-0
G Dustin Tokarski, SPO: Loss, 36 saves on 38 shots, *Third Star*
Playoff totals: 6 GP, 4-2-0, 1.84 GAA, .944 sv%
Season totals: 54 GP, 34-18-0-2, 1.97 GAA, .937 sv%, 7 shutouts
C James Wright, VAN: 0-0-0, +2, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 5 GP, 1-3-4, +4, 4 PIM
Season totals: 71 GP, 21-26-47, +26, 54 PIM

Gary Nunn (undrafted) deflected a point shot over Tokarski’s blocker on the power play mid-way through the third period to snap a 1-1 tie and send top-seeded Vancouver to a 1-0 series lead. James Wright had his four game point streak snapped, but finished plus-2 for the Giants. The press in the Northwest has said if Spokane is to win this series, Tokarski has to stand on his head and he did just that, stopping 36 shots to Tyson Sexsmith’s (Sharks) 18 for Vancouver. Nunn and Sexsmith were the game’s First and Second stars, respectively. This is a match-up of the last two Memorial Cup winners. Both Sexsmith and Tokarski have backstopped their teams to championships, and Tokarski beat out Sexsmith to get a spot on Canada’s WJC team last December. Vancouver had an empty net goal to close out the scoring. Game 2 is Saturday.