By Bill Burfoot
Photo courtesy of the Pembina Valley Twisters
The Pembina Valley Twisters are the first team to move on in the Manitoba Major Junior Hockey League playoffs after completing a 4-0 series sweep over the Charleswood Hawks on Friday night.
Braeden Beernaerts and Jeremie Goderies picked up where they left off in the regular season, leading the way for the Twisters, with each player registering four points in the series. Travis Klassen was solid in net for Pembina Valley, picking up the 4-0 shutout in the deciding game, and finishing with a 1.43 GAA in the series. Three of the four games were decided by just one goal, and a big reason for that was Hawks netminder Ryan Hall, who faced 48-or-more shots in three of the four contests, including 59 in a 3-2 Game 1 loss, as Pembina Valley outshot the Hawks 193-125 overall in the series.
The Stonewall Jets have a 3-games-to-1 lead on the Raiders Jr. Hockey Club and will have a chance to move on with a win in Game 5 on Sunday afternoon. After splitting the first two games, Stonewall went with goaltender Adam Swan for Game 3, and the 18-year-old from Ashern has completely shut the door, stopping all 33 shots he faced in Game 3, and followed that up with a 35-save shutout in Game 4, to put the Jets within one win of the second round. Aiken Chop leads the MMJHL playoffs in scoring with five goals and six points overall after the first four games.
The St. James Jr. Canucks have the Ft.Garry/Ft. Rouge Twins on the brink of elimination after winning three of the first four games of the best of seven series. The Twins, facing elimination in Game 4 and allowing the first goal of the game, responded in a big way with four unanswered goals and came away with a 4-1 win to extend the series and force a Game 5 Sunday afternoon.
In what has been the tightest series so far, the Transcona Railer Express and St. Vital Victorias are locked up at two wins apiece after the first four games. Each game has been decided by one goal, with the first three games of the series all ending in 2-1 finals. The reigning MMJHL regular season leading scorer Riley Beauchemin has continued to put up points for the Vics, notching four points (1G, 3A) in the first four games along with teammate Jonah Cook (2G, 2A). Kyle Lamont leads the Railer Express with three points (2G, 1A). Game 6 is scheduled for Sunday afternoon.