The Laredo Bucks were the only CHL playoff team who didnt need overtime to win on Saturday. The Bucks stopped Rio Grande Valley 4-1 to take a 2-0 series lead, while Amarillo, Oklahoma City and Wichita all needed extra frames to emerge as Saturday night winners. Oklahoma City takes a 1-0 series lead over Colorado with a 4-3 (OT) road win, while Amarillo improves to 2-0 in their series with Odessa with a 4-3 (OT) victory. Wichitas win was perhaps the most crucial, victorious 2-1 in double overtime to even their series 1-1 with Bossier-Shreveport heading to Louisiana for Games 3,4 and 5.
Rio Grande Valley 1 @ Laredo 4
Laredo Leads Series 2-0
First period goals 42 seconds apart by Ladislav Kouba (third of the playoffs) and Nick Warriner put the Killer Bees in a 2-0 deficit they were unable to recover from. Jeff Mushaluks first pro playoff goal halved the lead to 2-1 after 20 minutes of play, but goals by Steve Simoes midway through the second period and Chris Grenville late in the third gave Laredo a 4-1 win and the 2-0 series lead heading to Rio Grande Valley for Game 3 on Tuesday. Both clubs managed 30 shots, with Laredo starter David Lemanowicz (29 stops) outplaying Evan Lindsay (26 saves).
Odessa 3 @ Amarillo 4 (OT)
Amarillo Leads Series 2-0
The Jackalopes, without suspended enforcer Jeff Ewasko, came out firing and opened up an early 2-0 lead on power play goals by Pascal Bedard and John Kozoriz. The resilient Gorillas came back with goals by Joe Guenther on the power play and Derek Hahn while shorthanded to even the score 2-2 after the opening period. Bedards second of the game regained the lead for the Jackalopes in the middle frame, but Brent Hughes retied the game midway through the third, forcing overtime. Keith Rowe had his second game winner in as many nights, finishing off the win with the overtime winner 4:45 into the extra frame. Amarillo has held serve at home in the series, now shifting to Odessa for Games 3,4 and 5.
Oklahoma City 4 @ Colorado 3 (OT)
Oklahoma City Leads Series 1-0
Heavy underdogs against the defending champions, the Oklahoma City Blazers played their traditional physical style and capitalized on a few Colorado miscues to steal home ice advantage with an overtime win in the series opener. Outshot 46-39, goaltender Sean Connors was the difference, making several big saves throughout. Marty Standish had a pair of goals, including the game winner 8:20 into overtime when he scored from two feet behind the Colorado net, banking a shot off of Eagles goaltender Paulo Colaiacovo. Ryan Johnston had given the Blazers a 3-2 lead, swiping at a loose pucks from his knees in the second period after Jared Dumba had scored shorthanded to tie the contest. 04-05 Playoff MVP Chris Hartsburg had evened the score at 3-3 midway through the third with his second goal of the contest to force overtime. The series resumes Sunday night, again in Colorado.
Bossier-Shreveport 1 @ Wichita 2 (2OT)
Series Tied 1-1
Ryan McLean scored the biggest goal of the Thunders season to date 55 seconds into double overtime to earn a home series split with Bossier-Shreveport. A loss would have forced Wichita to win at least three games on the road, with Games 3,4,5 and 7 played in Bossier-Shreveport. Kris Wiebe (late in the first) and Brett Smith (early in the second period on the power play) accounted for all the scoring in regulation as the clubs played overtime for the second time in as many nights. Both teams had multiple chances in overtime with the man advantage, but the game wasnt decided until McLeans game winner early in period number five. Goaltenders David Cacciola (37 saves) and Sebastien Laplante (42 stops) played well. Laplante was particularly effective in the second period, allowing just Smiths goal despite the Thunder being outshot 12-2.