Four Blackhawks prospects prospects have advanced to the semifinals in their respective league’s playoffs in the Canadian Hockey League.
The Ontario, Quebec and Western hockey league winners along with host Halifax will play in the round-robin Memorial Cup in May. Goaltender Alexis Gravel and defenseman Jake Ryczek play for Halifax and are already guaranteed a spot in the tournament.
Forward MacKenzie Entwistle and No. 4 Guelph rallied from a 3-0 series deficit to eliminate defenseman Adam Boqvist and No. 1 London in seven games. Entwistle scored two goals, including an empty-netter, in Game 7 in London.
Entwistle had three goals, four assists and won 56 percent of his faceoffs while primarily playing right wing in the series. He’s already matched his seven assist total from last year’s playoff run with Hamilton, and has 12 points total this year.
Boqvist’s season ends with 10 playoff goals — eight on the power play — 13 points and a minus-4 rating in 11 games. The 2018 first-round pick’s goal total is tied with Guelph’s Nick Suzuki (Canadiens) for the most in the playoffs and Boqvist’s 13 points are second among defensemen to his London teammate and Oilers prospect Evan Bouchard’s 21 (four goals, 17 assists).
Entwistle and Guelph will face No. 2 seed Saginaw in the Western Conference Final, starting Thursday.
Game 1, Thurs., April 18 at Saginaw, 7:07 p.m.
Game 2, Sat., April 20 at Saginaw, 7:07 p.m.
Game 3, Mon., April 22 at Guelph, 7 p.m.
Game 4, Wed., April 24 at Guelph, 7 p.m.
Game 5, Fri., April 26 at Saginaw, 7:07 p.m.*
Game 6, Sun., April 28 at Guelph, 2 p.m.*
Game 7, Mon., April 29 at Saginaw, 7:07 p.m.*
Gravel and Ryczek (Halifax) swept Moncton to advance to the semifinals against defenseman Nicolas Beaudin and Drummondville, who took out Sherbrooke in five games.
After allowing three goals in Game 1 against Moncton, Gravel settled in and gave up two goals in each game while making at least 30 saves in each game the rest of the series. The 2018 sixth-rounder is 8-2 with a 2.54 goals-against average and .915 save percentage in the playoffs.
Ryczek, a 2016 seventh-rounder, had a secondary assist in Halifax’s 4-2 win over Moncton in Game 3. The right-handed blue liner has three assists and 13 shots with a plus-5 rating in the playoffs.
Beaudin had three assists in Drummondville’s 7-1 win in Game 2 against Sherbrooke. The 2018 first-rounder found himself in the penalty box for 10 minutes in the series, including four minutes each in Games 3 and 4. He has two goals, five assists, 28 shots and a plus-2 rating in the playoffs.
Game 1, Fri., April 19 at Drummondville, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2, Sat., April 20 at Drummondville, 7 p.m.
Game 3, Tues., April 23 at Halifax, 7 p.m.
Game 4, Wed., April 24 at Halifax, 7 p.m.
Game 5, Fri., April 26 at Drummondville, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6, Sun., April 28 at Halifax, 2 p.m.*
Game 7, Tues., April 30 at Drummondville, 7 p.m.*
The Blackhawks don’t have any prospects currently playing in the WHL playoffs, but they could have a future one in defenseman Bowen Byram, who is the No. 2 ranked North American skater by NHL Central Scouting. The 6-foot-1, 192-pound Byram is the top defenseman in this year’s NHL draft and could be selected third overall by Chicago.
Byram’s ranks third in assists (nine) and points (12) in 10 games for the Vancouver Giants in the WHL playoffs. The Giants, the first seed from the British Columbia Division, will play the No. 2 seed Spokane Chiefs from the United States Division in the Western Conference Final.
Game 1, Fri., April 19 at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.
Game 2, Sat., April 20 at Vancouver, 7 p.m.
Game 3, Tues., April 23 at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Game 4, Wed., April 24 at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.
Game 5, Fri., April 26 at Vancouver, 7:30 p.m.*
Game 6, Mon., April 29 at Spokane, 7:05 p.m.*
Game 7, Tues., April 30 at Vancouver, 7 p.m.*
Another potential draft choice for the Blackhawks in Saskatoon Blades center Kirby Dach had his season ended in a 4-2 Eastern Conference semifinals series loss to top-ranked Prince Albert. The 6-foot-3, 195-pounder had five goals and eight points in 10 playoff games after posting 73 points (25 goals, 48 assists) in 62 regular-season outings.