The first round of the National Hockey League’s Stanley Cup playoffs is done after a trio of epic game sevens in both the Western and Eastern Conferences.
Before the marathon for Lord Stanley’s mug began, 15 players with BC Hockey League experience were featured on the opening rosters. 13 of them saw action during the first round, and 10 of them have moved on to continue the battle for hockey’s biggest prize.Embed from Getty Images
The Vegas Golden Knights made pretty quick work of the Winnipeg Jets in the first round of the playoffs, winning the series in five games. Goaltender Laurent Brossoit (Cowichan Valley Capitals) is the lone player with BCHL experience on the Golden Knights roster. The Port Alberni, B.C. product played every minute against the Jets, finishing with a 2.42 goals-against average and a .915 save percentage.
Vegas faces Edmonton in the second round after the Oilers knocked out the Los Angeles Kings in six games in the first round. Edmonton has one BCHL alumni on their roster – behemoth defender Vincent Desharnais (Chilliwack Chiefs). Desharnais, who’s from Laval, Que., had two assists in Edmonton’s 5-4 series-clinching game six win for his only points of the series.
Forward Jamie Benn (Victoria Grizzlies) is the lone former BCHL player on the Dallas Stars, who will meet the upstart Seattle Kraken in the second round of the post-season marathon. The 33-year-old from Victoria notched a goal and three assists in the Stars’ six-game series win against Minnesota.
There are two BCHL alumni on Seattle’s roster, and both were instrumental in the Kraken’s upset of the Stanley Cup champion Colorado Avalanche in seven games. Defender Justin Schultz (Westside Warriors) is second in scoring among former BCHLers in the playoffs after putting up a goal and four assists against the Avs. Kraken forward Brandon Tanev (Surrey Eagles) finished the series versus Colorado with a goal and an assist.
Of the eliminated players in the Western Conference who have experience in the BCHL, Colorado defender Devon Toews (Surrey Eagles) notched nine points in seven games against the Kraken, while Avs forward Alex Newhook (Victoria Grizzlies) posted an assist.
Colorado defender Brad Hunt (Burnaby Express) was scoreless in his lone appearance and fellow Avs blueliner Josh Manson (Salmon Arm Silverbacks) didn’t have any points in his five games. Minnesota forward Brandon Duhaime (Merritt Centennials) failed to register a point in six games against Dallas.Embed from Getty Images
Toronto Maple Leafs forward Alexander Kerfoot (Coquitlam Express) is one of only two players with BCHL experience left in the Eastern Conference playoff picture who played in the first round. He had one goal in six games in the Buds’ seven-game win over Tampa Bay. Veteran defender Jordie Benn (Victoria Grizzlies) didn’t play in the series against Tampa Bay and is currently in the American Hockey League playoffs with Maple Leafs’ affiliate squad.
Forward Zac Dalpe (Penticton Vees) posted a goal for the Florida Panthers in their shocking upset win against the record-setting Boston Bruins. The 33-year-old from Paris, Ont., ended up getting into four games for the Cats during the first round.
Duncan, B.C. blueliner Dylan Coghlan (Nanaimo Clippers) didn’t see action for Carolina during its six-game series win over the New York Islanders and actually hasn’t suited up for the Hurricanes since Mar. 14. Isles forward Mathew Barzal (Coquitlam Express) played all six games against Carolina and finished with a pair of goals.