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WHL playoffs: ICE bump off Blades in East final opener

Zach Benson Winnipeg Ice Vaughn Watterodt Saskatoon Blades Zach Benson Vaughn Watterodt - Western Hockey League (@TheWHL)

WINNIPEG — The Winnipeg ICE scored two unanswered goals in the first period and received flawless goaltending from Daniel Hauser as they defeated the visiting Saskatoon Blades 3-0 in the opening game of the Western Hockey League Eastern Conference final on Friday night.

Ben Zloty, Zack Ostapchuk and Carson Lambos scored for the ICE, who led 2-0 after the first period and 3-0 heading into the third.

The Blades, coming off a tough seven-game series with the Red Deer Rebels in which they dropped the first three games before pulling off the "reverse sweep," were outshot 26-16.

The Blades went 0-for-4 on the power play, while the ICE went 0-for-1.

Game 2 is Saturday afternoon at Wayne Fleming Arena.

POKECHECKS: The Western Conference final between the Kamloops Blazers and Seattle Thunderbirds starts Saturday at the accesso ShowWare Center in Kent, Wash. … The Blazers are the host team for the 2023 Memorial Cup championship, which starts May 26 with the Blazers playing the QMJHL champions.

This report by The Canadian Press was first published April 28, 2023.