WHL Playoffs Preview: Nick’s picks

Herald writer Nick Patterson’s predictions for the first round of the 2015 Western Hockey League playoffs:


Portland vs. Seattle

Synopsis: Portland dominated the season series the past five years, but this season Seattle won seven of the 12 meetings. However, Portland’s elite offensive talent is a handful, and the T-birds will miss the physical presence of injured forwards Justin Hickman and Keegan Kolesar.

Prediction: Portland in seven games.

Kelowna vs. Tri-City

Synopsis: Kelowna, which led the league for most of the season, slowed down near the end. But the Rockets have way too much talent for a banged-up Tri-City team. Only an exceptional goaltending performance by Eric Comrie can win the Americans a game.

Prediction: Kelowna in five games.

Victoria vs. Prince George

Synopsis: Prince George didn’t secure a playoff berth until the final weekend of the season, but the Cougars are playing their best hockey of the season heading into the playoffs. However, Victoria has the edge in both talent and playoff experience.

Prediction: Victoria in six games.


Brandon vs. Edmonton

Synopsis: This series pits last season’s league champion and Memorial Cup winner (Edmonton) against this season’s Scotty Munro Trophy winner for the league’s best record (Brandon). Brandon is a team on the rise, Edmonton is a team on the decline.

Prediction: Brandon in six games.

Regina vs. Swift Current

Synopsis: An odd series that sees a team that sold at the trade deadline and has key players out injured (Regina) against a team that was supposed to contend but underachieved (Swift Current). Just how many players can the Pats lose before the effects are felt?

Prediction: Swift Current in seven games.

Calgary vs. Kootenay

Synopsis: One of the more intriguing first-round series. Calgary has the depth of a title contender, while Kootenay is thin but has some of the best top-end talent in the league. But Calgary has some elite talent, too.

Prediction: Calgary in five games.

Medicine Hat vs. Red Deer

Synopsis: Medicine Hat blew a big lead in the WHL’s Central Division and wound up finishing in second place, but the Tigers’ defense has gotten healthy in time for the postseason. Red Deer is hoping to experience some playoff success in advance of hosting the Memorial Cup next season.

Prediction: Medicine Hat in six games.

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