Watch Canucks prospects put up points in round two of the CHL playoffs [VIDEO]

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.

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7 comments

  1. Jack Dup
    April 18, 2014

    Wow that empty net goal was amazing!!

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 18, 2014

      The completist in me had to include it. I didn’t show all the assists, but I wanted all the goals in there.

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      Rating: +3 (from 5 votes)
  2. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 18, 2014

    I’m not sure whether I should find it upsetting that the team’s top prospect appeared to take a step back this postseason, or encouraging that some of the more middling prospects (Cassels, Gaunce and Fox) seem to have taken steps forward.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 18, 2014

      Horvat scored 13 more points this season in 13 fewer games. He actually scored at a higher point-per-game rate these playoffs than he did last playoffs. Judging Horvat on one playoff series is ridiculous. He had a goal in each game in the first round, finishing with 8 points in 4 games. 3 points in 5 games in the second round is disappointing, but calling it a step backward is absurd.

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  3. Chris the Curmudgeon
    April 18, 2014

    Perhaps “step back” is the wrong term. However, typically players who succeed in the long run will show major growth in the year after they’re drafted. Horvat was better this year than last, but relative to his age I don’t know if that’s still true. Plus, dominance in last year’s OHL postseason was a big reason why the Canucks reached a little for Bo. The fact that a year later, he could be shut down effectively in the second round is a bit disappointing, if nothing else.

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    • Daniel Wagner
      April 19, 2014

      He was 18th in the OHL in points-per-game while continuing to play largely a shutdown role. I’m not sure what kind of step forward you were expecting, but his points-per-game went from 0.91 and 61st in the OHL last regular season to 1.37 and 18th this season.

      It’s definitely disappointing to see him fail to put up more points in the second round of the playoffs, but we’re basically talking about just 5 games here. He had 8 points in the previous 4 games.

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  4. PB
    April 19, 2014

    To write off Horvat’s season as a disappointment because of a (relative) lack of production in the second round is premature at best. At every stage of this season — training camp, the actual OHL season, the WJC — Horvat was pretty much as good as advertised. For a two-way player being given increased responsibilities he still managed to rack up the points. I think that performance depends on the player as much as the level, but context clearly matters (i.e. Fox’s scoring prowess as an over-ager).

    All lin all it’s good to see so many of the Canucks’ draft picks not only participating in the junior playoffs but playing what appear to be relatively prominent roles in them.

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