Blazers and Winterhawks to meet in Second Round of 2023 WHL Playoffs presented by Nutrien – Kamloops Blazers

Blazers and Winterhawks to meet in Second Round of 2023 WHL Playoffs presented by Nutrien – Kamloops Blazers

April 8, 2023 at 9:12 pm  Kamloops Blazers, Sports

The Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks will engage in a best-of-seven series when the Second Round of the 2023 WHL Playoffs presented by Nutrien begins Friday, April 14.

The series was confirmed Saturday after Portland advanced to the Second Round with a 3-2 overtime victory over the Everett Silvertips. Kamloops has earned home-ice advantage by finishing as the second seed in the Western Conference, while the Winterhawks are the third seed.

It’s been a full decade since the last playoff meeting between the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks. The two sides last saw each other in post-season play in the 2013 Western Conference Championship, a series the Winterhawks won in five games en route to the Club’s most recent WHL Championship. Since 1992, the teams have met five times in the WHL Playoffs, with Portland winning the series on three occasions.

Kamloops, the B.C. Division Champions in each of the last four seasons, dispatched the Vancouver Giants in four games in the First Round, outscoring their opponents 24-5 in the series. 2023 Canadian World Junior teammates Caedan Bankier and Logan Stankoven both finished the series with four goals and nine points, while defenceman Olen Zellweger, who also won gold with Canada this past January, put up three goals and eight points in the series.

The Winterhawks enter the Second Round having knocked off the Everett Silvertips in five games in the opening round of the 2023 WHL Playoffs presented by Nutrien. Forward James Stefan led Portland in points with five (3G-2A), while fellow forward Marcus Nguyen had the most goals of any Winterhawks skater in the first round with four.

Portland won three of the four regular season meetings, though it was Kamloops won took both points in a 5-1 decision the last time the two sides faced one another, February 1 at the Sandman Centre. Two of the Winterhawks wins came in extra time including a shootout contest in Portland October 15.

Dallas Stars prospect Matthew Seminoff led both Clubs in scoring during the season series, finding the back of the net four times for the Blazers. Captain Logan Stankoven added three goals and five points for Kamloops in the four-game set.

Portland was led offensively by veteran forward Robbie Fromm-Delorme, who scored twice and totalled four points in the season series.

In goal, 2023 NHL Draft prospect Dylan Ernst was the goaltender of record for Kamloops in three of the four meetings, posting a 1-1-0-1 record and .935 save percentage.

At the other end of the ice, Dante Giannuzzi earned two of the three regular season wins for the Winterhawks versus the Blazers.

Game 1 of the first-round series between the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks is scheduled for Friday, April 14 at 7:00 p.m. PT in Kamloops (Sandman Centre). The series will shift to Portland for Game 3 on Wednesday, April 19 at 7:00 p.m. PT (Veterans Memorial Coliseum).

2023 WHL PLAYOFFS – SERIES L SCHEDULE

Game Date Away Home Time
1 April 14, 2023 Portland Kamloops 7:00 p.m. PT
2 April 15, 2023 Portland Kamloops 7:00 p.m. PT
3 April 19, 2023 Kamloops Portland 7:00 p.m. PT
4 April 20, 2023 Kamloops Portland 7:00 p.m. PT
5 April 22, 2023 Portland Kamloops 7:00 p.m. PT *
6 April 24, 2023 Kamloops Portland 7:00 p.m. PT *
7 April 26, 2023 Portland Kamloops 7:00 p.m. PT *

* – if necessary

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