The Canucks have to be proud of the performance of their prospects in the CHL playoffs. After two rounds, three prospects are still in the top-ten in OHL playoff scoring: Dane Fox, Brendan Gaunce, and Cole Cassels. The Canucks have five prospects still in the playoffs — the aforementioned three forwards and defencemen Miles Liberati and Anton Cederholm.
Bo Horvat’s London Knights regrettably got eliminated by the Guelph Storm, but will still get a chance to play for the Memorial Cup since they are the hosts of the tournament.
Since so few of the CHL playoff games are televised, I compiled a highlight reel for round one two weeks ago and I have done the same for round two, featuring some pretty assists from Brendan Gaunce and an outburst of goals from Cole Cassels.
Horvat was largely shutdown by the Guelph Storm, tallying just 1 goal and 2 assists in their 5 game series. He finishes the playoffs with 5 goals and 11 points in 9 games, but will hope to redeem himself in the Memorial Cup.
Fox was likewise largely shutdown, held off the scoresheet in three of the four games of the Otters’ sweep of the Greyhounds. But in the one game he did score, he went off with 4 points. His assist on Connor McDavid’s goal at 0:25 is particularly nice, taking the hit along the boards to tip the puck to McDavid at the back door.
He can still rip the puck, though. His one goal was a gorgeous shot on a one-timer from the right faceoff circle.
Gaunce, on the other hand, was a picture of consistency, managing at least a point in every game. In fact, he has only failed to tally a point in one game in the playoffs so far. Gaunce was all about the pretty playmaking in this round: witness his fake slap shot into a perfect pass at 1:26, his incredible blind backhand pass at 1:46, and his slick stickhandling to take the puck out of the corner and avoid checkers at 2:23.
He also assisted on both the third period gametying goal and the overtime gamewinner in the series winning game four, which you can see starting at 2:48.
Cassels went the other direction, from piling up assists in the first round to scoring at a goal-per-game rate in the second round. The prettiest comes at 3:40, as he sends a defenceman to his knees and out of the play with a fake slap shot before beating the goalie on the blocker side.
The second round also saw the first points from the Canucks’ 2013 5th round pick Anton Cederholm, who’s known more for his solid, stay-at-home defence. He scored just 4 goals and 16 points in 71 regular season games, so it’s not surprising that he has just two points through 9 playoff games. For what it’s worth, he was tied for 10th in the WHL in plus-minus during the regular season.
In the third round, Dane Fox and Brendan Gaunce’s Erie Otters will face the Guelph Storm, while Cole Cassels’ Oshawa Generals will be playing Miles Liberati’s North Bay Battalion. In the WHL, Anton Cederholm’s Portland Winterhawks will take on the Kelowna Rockets.Tags: Anton Cederholm, Bo Horvat, Brendan Gaunce, Cole Cassels, Dane Fox, Prospects