The Calgary Hitmen exacted a measure of revenge against the Lethbridge Hurricanes on Wednesday and advanced to their second straight Western Hockey League Eastern Conference final.
One season after failing to win a game against Lethbridge in the East final, it was the Hitmen's turn to do the sweeping as they hammered the Hurricanes 6-0 to knock Lethbridge out of the playoffs in four straight games.
Brett Sonne led the way with his first two goals of the playoffs for Calgary, which outscored the Hurricanes 19-4 in the conference semifinal series. Sonne opened the scoring 90 seconds into the first period and team-leading playoff scorer Joel Broda added another 22 seconds later to set the tone for a convincing Hitmen victory.
"For us that was huge," said Hitmen head coach Dave Lowry told the Lethbridge Herald. "I don't think we expected to get up a couple that quick. But what it allowed us to do was settle in and play our game."
Sonne scored his second midway through the third while Broda, who has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in the post-season, added an assist on a second-period power play.
Brandon Kozun and Alex Plante both had a goal and an assist for Calgary, which remained undefeated in the 2009 WHL playoffs. The Hitmen swept the Edmonton Oil Kings in the first round.
"It's been fun," said Sonne. "I think both teams we swept played us hard and we recognized that. We also know it's only going to get harder from here."
Ian Schultz rounded out the scoring.
"Our guys were very good tonight," said Lowry. "They were very committed and we got big efforts from a lot of guys."
Elsewhere in the WHL, it was: Kelowna 4, Tri-City 3 (OT); Spokane 1, Vancouver 0; and Brandon 6, Medicine Hat 1.
At Lethbridge, Alta., Martin Jones needed just 18 saves to record his second shutout of the post-season. The North Vancouver, B.C., native had seven shutouts during the regular season, tying Spokane Chiefs netminder Dustin Tokarski for the most in the league.
Juha Metsola also stopped 18 shots, but the seventh-seeded Hurricanes failed to keep their Cinderella run alive after surprising the second-place Saskatoon Blades in seven games to earn a berth against top-ranked Calgary.
"This was certainly not the way we wanted to finish," said Lethbridge coach Mike Dyck.
"I'm really proud of our guys," he added. "We have an amazing group of guys in that room and I think we blew a lot of our energy off that seven-game series (against Saskatoon). I don't think we were able to recover from that."
Rockets 4, Americans 3 (OT)
At Kelowna, B.C., Jamie Benn scored the game-winning goal 12 minutes into overtime as the Rockets defeated Tri-City to tie their Western Conference semifinal series at 2-2.
Mikael Backlund, Cody Almond and Tyler Myers scored for Kelowna.
Mitch Fadden, Jordan Messier and Justin Feser replied for the Americans, who held leads of 2-1 and 3-2.
Chiefs 1, Giants 0
At Spokane, Wash., Dustin Tokarski made 41 saves to rob Vancouver as the Chiefs escaped Game 4 with a 2-2 series split.
Tyler Johnson scored the lone goal of the game on a first-period power play for Spokane.
Tokarski, who had three shutouts during Spokane's championship run in 2008, stopped 33 shots in the final 40 minutes, including 18 saves in the third period as Vancouver's offence threw everything they had at the Chiefs' net.
Tyson Sexsmith stopped 17 shots in a losing effort.
Wheat Kings 6, Tigers 1
At Brandon, Man., Brayden Schenn, Scott Glennie, Colby Robak and Andrew Clark scored a goal and an assist each as the Wheat Kings dumped Medicine Hat to take a 3-0 lead in their best-of-seven Eastern Conference semifinal.
Aaron Lewadniuk and Matt Calvert also scored for Brandon, which has a chance to wrap up the series at home on Friday.
Colton Grant replied for the Tigers.