With a sweep possible in each of the three Canadian Hockey League finals, the question is which result is the most surprising.
On face value, the Moncton Wildcats shooting out to a 2-0 lead in the Quebec Major Junior Hockey League final over Saint John Sea Dogs (by an ouch-that-hurts 14-4 aggregate score) ranks as the biggest shocker.
The 'Cats did have success in the season series against the Dogs, and most observers gave coach Danny Flynn's older, more experienced club the edge. They have lost only seven games since Dec. 1; like the Montreal Canadiens, it's been a matter of getting nursed back to health after a whack of injuries.
However, people expected the games would be somewhat close. The Wildcats have fired home 14 goals in two games despite not having the QMJHL scoring champ Nicholas Deschamps (high ankle strain). You could say they've scored goals getting off the bus, since Brandon Gormley tallied just 15 seconds into the series opener on Friday.
Not to single anyone out, but Saint John's two overage scorers, Ottawa Senators draft choice Mike Hoffman and Pittsburgh Penguins pick Nicholas Petersen, have six shots on goal and no points combined through two games. It's not just the Sea Dogs' young guns who are struggling.
Granted, calling Moncton the biggest shocker might be by what Homer Simpson once called the two sweetest words in the human language, de-fault. The Calgary Hitmen, up 2-0 in the Western Hockey League final, have a big edge over Tri-City in playoff experience and size.
One would had to be open to the possibility the Windsor Spitfires, one win from closing out Barrie in the OHL final, would continue their roll after winning four elimination games in a row against Kitchener. (The Spitfires also dominated the Eastern Conference more than Barrie did, going 16-1-0-1 against the other nine teams. The only regulation-time loss coming in October at Ottawa.)
Still, Moncton having such an easy time. People who are naturally inclined to hope for a tight series might have worried about that, but few predicted it. The series, like the Sea Dogs, is still young.
Neate Sager is a writer for Yahoo! Sports Canada. You may contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Moncton Wildcats
- Saint John Sea Dogs