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Quebec Survives The Scare


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It was predicted to be an easy series. The projections were that Seattle was a solid team but that the reigning Continental Cup Champions would have very little trouble with the Bears. Two games into the series, Quebec were the better team all around and carried a 2-0 lead heading into Seattle to try to wrap up the simple series. 


It was then that a shift happened and the first round of the playoffs in the North American conference became a series many will remember. Game 3 saw last seasons Kanou winner Skylar Rift absolutely flop letting in 4 goals on 20 shots. This game will be remembered for what it was, hope. While it could of just been a minor set back, the hope this game brought the Bears locker room left a lasting impression on this series. They knew that the Muete were not unbreakable, that Rift could be beaten and that despite any of their shortcomings they had a chance in this series.


Game four is where the series really began to turn into an epic one, and it marked the first break out performance by Seattle goaltender Steven Smyl. The game would require two overtime periods before Sebastian Ball Jr would score the clutch game winner. All this despite the fact that Seattle was badly outshot 53 to 31. While Ball won first star of the game for his hat trick and game winner, the fans and roster now realized they had momentum. Rift was struggling and Smyl finally showed up to be the goalie Seattle needed him to be. 


If Game Four was epic than game five will be one of the most talked about and remembered playoff games in recent memory. The game required four overtime periods. Over two full games of play. Both goalies played respectable in that stretch but Seattle would put the top seated Quebec team on the ropes as Ball Jr scored yet another clutch game winner etching his name among Seattle fans and in VHL history. Ball Jr and Kasten Olsen solidified themselves as the offensive players going forward and Seattle turned from hope, to killer instinct. One more win for a gigantic upset. 


That win would not come in game six, Both teams were utterly exhausted following a near 7 period affair which resulted in a meager 18 shots on net for both teams. In this tight defensive game it would be Rift staying strong and Smyl making one mistake which resulted in Wesley Kellingers game winning goal only 24 seconds into the third period. But despite the slow down, this set the stage for what should of been an epic game seven. One last game for Seattle to make history.


Ultimately though the reigning Continental Cup champions refocused, and played a game seven that was much like the first two games of the series and much like how Quebec played Seattle during the regular season. Despite outshooting Quebec 32 to 26, solid defensive play mixed with timely goal scoring and excellent goal tending propelled Quebec into the second round of the playoffs. Quebec would survive the scare of Seattle but a lesson for the entire league was learned. Seattle is no joke, and this series proved that. It doesn't matter how solid of a team you are, a team with hungry players younger or otherwise can push even one of the best teams to the brink. 


While Seattle didn't pull of the upset, they have redeemed themselves for a struggling season that nearly saw them not make the playoffs in favor of a rebuilding and young New York American team. This should be the confidence boost that the Bears need to propel their roster forward in the right direction next season. This should also be the reality check for the Muete. They may be the best team on paper, but they will have to continue to play like the best team if they have any chance of repeating. 





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