When the puck drops Friday night at 7 pm at the Ice Cave at Winnipeg’s Wayne Fleming Arena, three of the top prospects among North American skaters for the 2022 NHL entry draft will be among those taking center stage.
It’s Game 1 in the Western Hockey League second-round playoff series between the Winnipeg Ice and Moose Jaw Warriors.
NHL Central Scouting released their final rankings for the upcoming entry draft on Thursday, and the names of Ice centers Matthew Savoie and Conor Geekie were fourth and fifth respectively on the list of North American skaters while Warriors defenseman Denton Mateychuk was slotted in at No. 15.
The 2022 NHL entry draft is scheduled for July 7-8 at the Bell Center in Montreal.
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Adding further appeal to this series is that Geekie and Mateychuk are homegrown Manitoba products, hailing from Strathclair and Dominion City respectively.
Both Winnipeg and Moose Jaw are coming off five-game victories in Round 1.
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The Ice pretty much had their way with Prince Albert in outscoring the Raiders 27-9, but did receive a bit of a scare when Savoie suffered a lower-body injury in the opener series and had to miss games two and three. The highly skilled five-foot-nine, 178-pound pivot scored a goal and added two assists in the three games he played while Geekie also averaged a point per game with 2-3-5 totals.
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Mateychuk had an excellent series against the Saskatoon Blades, scoring a goal and adding six assists. He was a plus-eight in the five games.
The Ice and Warriors met seven times during the regular season with Winnipeg winning five of those games, including all three matchups on home ice where they outscored Moose Jaw by a combined 22-3 margin.
Game 2 of the series is set for Saturday night in Winnipeg before shifting to Moose Jaw for Game 3 and 4 on Tuesday and Wednesday.
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