Series Preview: Round One – Wolverines vs Stampeders

The Waywayseecappo Wolverines begin the 2020 MJHL Postseason on Friday night in Swan River when they take on the Swan Valley Stampeders in game one.

After some uncertainty on who the Wolverines would match up with in the first round, they booked their fifth-place spot and their date with the Stampeders one week ago on Saturday after dismantling the Virden Oil Capitals in a 5-0 shutout win the cap off the regular season.

How We Got Here

After another hot start to the regular season, the Wolverines were able to gain some consistency after a bumpy ride mid-season and a rough start to the new year.

Going 7-1-1-0 in their last nine games of the regular season, the Wolverines were led by 20-year-old Goaltender, Colin Ahern who started in 19 straight games to help lead the Wolverines to their second-best regular-season finish in franchise history.

Capping off the season with a 32-21-5-2 record and a fifth-place finish, the Wolverines ended the regular season playing their best hockey of the year and will go into the playoffs looking to continue that trend.

The Wolverines and Stampeders have never met in the playoffs prior to this year’s series but have met in the now-defunct survivor series back in 2016 when the Stampeders swept the Wolverines two games to none.

Keys to the Series

Just like in every other league and level of hockey, this first-round matchup between the Wolverines and Stampeders will come down to Goaltending and Special Teams.

It should be quite the showdown in between the pipes with Colin Ahern and Mikael Foucher boasting more than respectable numbers in the regular season.

The Wolverines will need to utilize their speed against a Stampeders team that brings a ton of physicality and grit to the game. Jumping on the Stamp’s defense and finishing checks will go a long way if the Wolverines look to have success.

By the Numbers

Wolverines Team Leaders

LW – Jaymes Knee: 56GP – 19G – 39A | 56 Points

C- Conrad Phillips: 59GP – 27G – 21A | 48 Points

RW -Rayman Bassi: 58GP – 15G – 33A | 48 Points

D – Nick Doyle: 59GP – 12G – 34A | 46 Points

G – Colin Ahern: 11-6-1-0 | 2.72GAA | .905SV% | 2SO

Stampeders Team Leaders

F – Luke Beerman: 60GP – 18G – 39A | 57 Points

F – Josh Maucieri: 60GP – 16G – 39A | 55 Points

F – Tommy Cardinal: 60GP – 22G – 30A | 52 Points

F – Trevor Schroder: 58GP – 20G – 30A | 50 Points

G – Mikael Foucher: 24-13-2-0 | 2.80GAA | .917SV% | 1SO

Head to Head Special Teams

The Wolverines went just 4-for-37 on the man-advantage for a powerplay percentage of 10.8%.

The Stampeders managed to go 7-for-32 on the powerplay, good enough for a 21.9% conversion rate with the man-advantage.

It’s clear both teams were at each other’s throats through their six meetings in the regular season. Special teams will be a major factor in this opening-round series with whoever comes out on top expected to take the series.

Head to Head

While the Stampeders got the best of the Wolverines in the season series taking it 4 games to 2, it really could have gone either way with a pair of games that slipped out of the Wolverines grasp.

September 27 | Stampeders 4 – Wolverines 1 @ Swan River Centennial Arena

The Stampeders scored twice in the first period before Tyler Leibl scored midway in the second to bring the Wolverines within one goal. After a push from the Wolverines went unsuccessful to tie the game, Luke Beerman scored to extend the Stampeders lead to 3-1 before Leyson Coleman added the empty netter to take the win.

Wolverines Powerplay: 0/8

Stampeders Powerplay: 1/5

Shots: 26-25 Wolverines

October 27 | Wolverines 2 – Stampeders 1 @ Waywayseecappo Arena Complex

In what was a tight-checking and low scoring affair, the Wolverines were able to edge the Stampeders just one month after the Stamps’ picked up the first win of the season series. Kris Bladen scored at the 12-minute mark of the first before Conrad Phillips gave the Wolverines a two-goal lead at the 12-minute mark of the second. Swan Valley would score one late on the powerplay to pull within one and would pull Foucher for the extra attacker, but that would be all as the Wolverines would tie the season series at 1-1.

Wolverines Powerplay: 0/5

Stampeders Powerplay: 1/7

Shots: 30-28 Wolverines

November 21 | Stampders 4 – Wolverines 1 @ Waywayseecappo Arena Complex

Swan Valley would score early in the first period on a goal from the stick of Luke Beerman and wouldn’t look back. Adding one late in the first to take a two-goal lead, Swan Valley would add two late in the second with one coming on a penalty shot and the other a short-handed marker. Anthony Bilka would score early in the third on the powerplay, but that’s as close as the Wolverines would come, dropping the contest 4-1.

Wolverines Powerplay: 1/9

Stampeders Powerplay: 2/6

Shots: 34-27 Stampeders

January 7 | Stampeders 8 – Wolverines 3 @ Swan River Centennial Arena

After both clubs scored twice in the first period, Swan Valley was able to put home their chances in the second period and capitalize on their opportunities. After Rayman Bassi brought the Wolverines within one goal at 4-3, the Stampeders scored four unanswered goals on route to their 8-3 victory. Goaltending was the biggest difference on that night as Mikael Foucher was the key factor in stopping 41 of 44 shots.

Wolverines Powerplay: 1/7

Stampeders Powerplay: 2/5

Shots: 44-30 Wolverines

February 15 | Stampeders 3 – Wolverines 2 OT @ Swan Valley Centennial Arena

After a scoreless first period, the Wolverines were able to take over the play in the second period. Nick Doyle and Brody Moffatt scored twice in six minutes to give the Wolverines a 2-0 lead that would hold up going into the third period. In the third, Swan Valley would push back and score twice in the final eight minutes of the period to send the game to extra time. In overtime, Frazer Dodd beat everyone to the puck and went down to win the game in seven seconds.

Wolverines Powerplay: 1/3

Stampeders Powerplay: 0/2

Shots: 39-37 Stampeders

February 19 | Wolverines 4 – Stampeders 2 @ Waywayseecappo Arena Complex

Another scoreless first period would see the Wolverines come into the second period feeling their game. Gerrik Ripley and Conrad Phillips would both score in the second before Leyson Coleman cut the Wolverines lead to one heading into the third period. In the third, Jacob Charko and Brody Moffatt would extend the Wolverines lead to 4-1 scoring twice in just over three minutes. The Stamps’ would get one late in the third and push the pace, but it was too little too late as the Wolverines would take the season series finale.

Wolverines Powerplay: 1/5

Stampeders Powerplayer: 1/7

Shots: 38-26 Stampeders

News and Notes

After getting swept in the first round of last year’s playoffs by the eventual league champion Portage Terriers, the Wolverines will try to pick up their first playoff victory in quite some time when they meet the Stampeders on Friday night.

There will be a couple of days off between games one and two, with game two set for Monday night in Waywayseecappo at 7:30.

After missing two weeks of the regular season, Cody Thompson will return to the Wolverines back end just in time for the postseason.

Series Schedule

GAME ONE Friday, March 6 | Wolverines @ Stampeders – 7:30

GAME TWO Monday, March 9 | Stampeders @ Wolverines – 7:30

GAME THREE Wednesday, March 11 | Wolverines @ Stampeders – 7:30

GAME FOUR Friday, March 13 | Stampeders @ Wolverines – 7:30

GAME FIVE Monday, March 16 | Wolverines @ Stampeders – 7:30 *If Necessary

GAME SIX Tuesday, March 17 | Stampeders @ Wolverines – 7:30 *If Necessary

GAME SEVEN Wednesday, March 18 | Wolverines @ Stampeders – 7:30 *If Necessary

Where to Watch

Watch each game between the Wolverines and Stampeders live on HockeyTV.com or follow the Wolverines on Twitter @mjhlWolverines for live game updates.

Listen to games one and four with Benny Walchuk on GX94 in Yorkton or tune in online at gx94radio.com.