There won’t be any WHL teams roaring back from being down 3-1 to win a series in the first round of these playoffs.
So, at least for now, the number of teams to have erased such a deficit in order to win a series remains at 15 . . .
A few years ago, Dean (Scooter) Vrooman, the long-time radio voice of the Portland Winterhawks, filled my inbox with a whole lot of WHL playoff history. It included information on WHL series that went the distance, either seven or nine games. (Yes, there was a time — back in the good old days — when there were best-of-nine series in this league.) . . .
(ASIDE: Not to tell the WHL what to do, but Scooter should be the next person honoured with the Bob Ridley Award for Media Excellence.)
So I did some fact-checking and have since updated some of the information to include the most-recent playoff years. . . . What follows is a brief look at the 15 series in WHL history in which a team rallied from a 3-1 deficit to win Game 7, with two of those being the only ones to erase a 0-3 deficit and win a series. . . .
(ANOTHER NOTE: To anyone so inclined to keep track of this stuff into the future, you should go right ahead and clip-and-save whatever you see here now and in the next little while. Because my days of keeping track of things such as this and, say, coaching victories have come to an end.)
Anyway . . . on to the Fab 15 . . .
1980 — Brandon vs. Calgary (first round) — Brandon trailed 3-1. Brandon (68 points) beat Calgary (88 points) on the road in Game 7. Brandon won Game 7, 10-3, in Calgary.
1981 — Victoria vs. Calgary (league final) — Victoria trailed 3-1. Victoria won Games 5 and 6 in Calgary, then won Game 7 at home. First time team erased 3-1 deficit in league final to win title. They played a 3-3-1 format. . . . Victoria won 7-4 and 4-2 in Calgary to get to 3-3, then won Game 7, 4-2 at home. The last three games were played on consecutive nights.
1996 — Portland vs. Spokane (first round) — Spokane rallied from down 3-0 to win Game 7 at home. . . . Spokane won Game 5, 4-3 in 2OT, in Portland. F Joe Cardarelli tied it on PP at 19:29 of third period. F Randy Favaro won it at 3:50 of 2OT. . . . Spokane won Game 7 at home, 4-3 in OT. F Darren Sinclair scored at 0:58.
1996 — Prince Albert vs. Regina (conference semifinal) — Regina was up 3-1 and Prince Albert rallied to win the next three, including Game 7 at home. . . . Prince Albert won 8-5 at home and 5-0 in Regina to get to 3-3, then won Game 7, 5-1, at home.
1998 — Calgary vs. Swift Current (conference semifinal) — Swift Current was up 3-1 and Calgary won the next three. Calgary (84 points) beat Swift Current (97 points) at home in Game 7. Calgary was division champion, and thus had home-ice advantage. . . . Calgary won 3-2 at home, then 4-1 in Swift Current to get to 3-3, then won Game 7, 1-0, at home. . . . F Brad Mehalko scored at 5:35 of the first period. Alexandre Fomitchev stopped 28 shots for the shutout.
1998 — Prince George vs. Kamloops (first round) — Kamloops was up 3-1 and Prince George won the next three, including Game 7 at home. Prince George won 4-1 at home and 4-3 in OT in Kamloops to get to 3-3, then won Game 7 at home, 2-1.
2002 — Red Deer vs. Brandon (conference final) — Brandon was up 3-1 and Red Deer won the next three, including Game 7 at home. . . . Red Deer won 4-0 at home and 3-2 in 2OT in Brandon, then won Game 7, 5-2, in Red Deer.
2003 — Spokane vs. Portland (first round) — Portland was up 3-1 and Spokane won the next three, including Game 7 at home. . . . Spokane won 8-3 at home and 3-2 in OT in Portland to get to 3-3, then won Game 7, 4-2, at home.
2004 — Everett vs. Kelowna (conference final) — Everett won the opener, then Kelowna won the next three to go up, 3-1. . . . Everett won the next three, including Game 7 on the road, with the last three all decided in overtime. . . . Everett won Game 5, 1-0, in Kelowna (D Bryan Nathe, 5:50); Game 6, 2-1, in Everett (F John Dahl, 2:44); and Game 7, 2-1, in Kelowna (F Jeff Schmidt, 7:56).
2005 — Brandon vs. Calgary (conference semifinal) — Calgary was up 3-1 and Brandon won the next three, winning Game 7 at home. . . . Brandon won 6-4 at home and 3-1 in Calgary, getting to 3-3, then won Game 7, 3-1, at home.
2010 — Calgary vs. Moose Jaw (first round) — Moose Jaw was up 3-1 and Calgary won the next three, winning Game 7 at home. . . . Calgary won 5-2 at home and 7-3 in Moose Jaw to get to 3-3, then won Game 7, 6-2, at home.
2013 — Kelowna vs. Seattle (first round) — Kelowna rallied from down 3-0 to win Game 7 at home. . . . Kelowna won Game 6, 4-3 in OT, in Kent, Wash. Teams were 3-3 after one period. F Myles Bell won it at 10:39 of OT. . . . Kelowna won Game 7, 3-2 in OT, at home when F Tyson Baillie scored his third goal of the game at 5:10.
2014 — Medicine Hat vs. Kootenay (conference semifinal) — Kootenay was up 3-1 and Medicine Hat won the next three, including Game 7 at home. . . . Medicine Hat won 9-2 at home and 2-1 in Cranbrook, getting to 3-3, then won Game 7, 4-1, at home.
2017 — Lethbridge vs. Red Deer (first round) — Red Deer was up 3-1. Lethbridge won Game 7 at home. . . . Lethbridge got to 3-3 by winning 5-3 at home and 4-1 in Red Deer, then won Game 7, 6-2, at home.
2017 – Regina vs. Swift Current (conference semifinal) — Swift Current led series 3-1 after winning Game 4 in 3OT. Regina won Game 7 at home. . . . Regina won 3-2 at home and 5-3 in Swift Current to get to 3-3, then won Game 7, 5-1, at home.
With six of the WHL’s eight first-round series having been decided in four or five games, there are only two series still active.
In Saturday night’s lone game, Vancouver visited Everett one night after the Giants lit up the Silvertips to the tune of 11-6 to forge a 2-2 series tie. ICYMI, Vancouver scored the game’s last five goals in that one. . . . Should Everett win the series, it would face the Seattle Thunderbirds in the second round, with the Kamloops Blazers and Portland Winterhawks facing off in the other one. . . . A Vancouver series victory would put Kamloops against the Giants, while Portland clashed with Seattle. . . .
In the Eastern Conference, the Red Deer Rebels hold a 3-2 series lead as they go into Brandon to face the Wheat Kings in Game 6 today (Sunday). Should Red Deer win the series, it would set up a second round featuring the Winnipeg Ice against the Moose Jaw Warriors and the Edmonton Oil Kings against Red Deer. . . . A Brandon victory would put the Ice against the Wheat Kings, while the Oil Kings took on the Warriors. . . .
Stay tuned. . . .
SATURDAY IN THE WHL:
In Everett, G Jesper Vikman stopped 50 shots — yes, 50! — to lead the Vancouver Giants to a 3-0 victory over the Silvertips. . . . The Giants hold a 3-2 series lead and get their first chance to end it on Monday in Langley, B.C. . . . In the regular season, Everett finished atop the Western Conference with 100 points (45-13-10); the Giants (24-39-5, 53) tied for sixth but wound up eighth after going through two tiebreakers. . . . Everett scored 95 more goals than Vancouver in the regular season, while allowing 64 fewer. . . . Vikman, who turned 20 on March 11, is from Stockholm. The Vegas Golden Knights selected him in the fifth round of the NHL’s 2020 draft. . . . This season, with the Giants, he was 17-15-2, 3.05, .903 with three shutouts. However, he didn’t play after March 4 before returning for the playoffs. He has appeared in four of the first-round games, going 3-1-0, 3.85, .887. . . . Last night, F Adam Hall, who scored 17 times in 60 regular-season games, opened the scoring with his sixth goal of the series, at 10:42 of the first period. . . . F Fabian Lysell (4) made it 2-0 at 7:48 of the third, and D Connor Horning (1) added a PP score at 18:33. . . . Hall also had an assist on Lysell’s goal. . . . G Braden Holt blocked 28 shots for Everett.
I woke up Saturday to a note from an old friend . . .
“Really enjoy your Taking Note. I do still remember I owe you lunch. Just want to bring you and my hockey collection up to speed. Came into (Regina General Hospital) for neck surgery on Wednesday where they were going to insert a rod and 4 screws that would take 3 hours. Instead it came to 2 rods, 10 screws and 7 hours of surgery. Glad to hear your wife is a kidney survivor. Keep up the great work.”
Now you’re up to date on the recent adventures of Barry Trapp, a familiar face in hockey arenas across the west for a long, long time. . . . If you would like to wish him well, drop him a note at firstname.lastname@example.org.
My wife, Dorothy, is preparing to take part in her ninth Kamloops Kidney Walk. . . . It will be held on June 5, but thanks to the pandemic it again will be a virtual event. . . . If you would like to sponsor her, you are able to do so right here.
If you are interested in being a living kidney donor, more information is available here:
Living Kidney Donor Program
St. Paul’s Hospital
6A Providence Building
1081 Burrard Street
Vancouver, BC V6Z 1Y6
Toll free: 1-877-922-9822
Vancouver General Hospital Living Donor Program – Kidney
Gordon and Leslie Diamond Health Care Centre
Level 5, 2775 Laurel Street
Vancouver, BC V5Z 1M9
604-875-5182 or 1-855-875-5182
Or, for more information, visit right here.