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We're a week into the start of the CHL playoffs and NCAA tournament, with the bulk of games happening over the Easter weekend. Rather than trying to make individual updates, I'll wait to do more complete reports on the major prospects as they finish their playoff runs.

In the meantime, this is just some short updates on how their playoffs are going so far.

Easton Cowan

London played twice over the weekend, winning both games at home and now have a 2-0 series lead. Cowan has three points in the two games – one empty net goal in a 3-0 win for the first game, and two secondary assists on the powerplay in the 6-4 win for game two.

The first game was pretty tight between both games, but London was clearly the better team. They controlled most of the play, they generated most of the chances, and they got the better goaltending. Cowan was good in this game, even if he wasn't creating as much offense he was very defensively responsible and integral during a full two minute 5 on 3 penalty kill.

Game two was chaos. London was incredibly sloppy in the first period and gave up three quick goals through a combination of awful turnovers and poor discipline leading to powerplays for the other team. Cowan was one of those, with Flint scoring while he was in the box for a high sticking penalty. Cowan also took a roughing penalty later in the game after he and his twin Barkey got into a scrum after the whistle. The open game was better for his offense, though, and he was able to create better chances.

So a good but not spectacular start to his playoffs. Game three heads to Flint for Tuesday at 7 pm EST.

Fraser Minten & Brandon Lisowsky

Saskatoon as the top seed actually lost the first game. They had a 2-0 lead early in the second period, but a series of bad bounces, poor goaltending and powerplays for the other team led to a 4-3 loss. That said, Prince Albert were definitely opportunistic and got the better bounces and goaltending – Saskatoon outshot them 44-20 in the game.

Minten and Lisowsky started on the same line and looked good early. They were both +2 as they were on for two of the team's goals, while not being on for any goals against. Lisowsky got one assist on those goals, while Minten did not have any points. They each had three shots a piece.

Game two was a 4-1 win for Saskatoon, with Minten getting a primary assist on the powerplay – his shot from the point created a rebound for his teammate to finish off. The lines were mixed up for the game, with Lisowsky getting bumped up to the top line. The play of both is what I've come to expect from them – Minten is controlled and solid with and without the puck, but not necessarily creating a high level of offense. Lisowsky is a little waterbug with a chip on his shoulder, but in the first two games hasn't really had the chance to use his shot in more dangerous areas.

The series will head to Prince Albert for the next two games, with game three coming on Tuesday night at 9 pm EST.

Noah Chadwick

Chadwick and Lethbridge as the 7th seed were always going to have a tough time, and they've had a lot of trouble hanging with the much more talented Swift Current roster. They've kept the shot totals close, but don't have the same talent at forward to capitalize on the chances they get. Total shots for the series is 55-54, but goals are 7-3 for Swift Current and the series is 2-0 heading back to Lethbridge.

For his part, Chadwick has played well. He isn't creating the same kind of offense that he was during most of the regular season despite having 8 shots on goal through the two games. However, he's been defensively responsible and has yet to be on the ice for a goal against at 5v5.

Game three will be on Tuesday at 9 pm EST.

Braeden Kressler

Ottawa entered the series as the slight underdogs – they were the 6th seed in the Eastern Conference, but only five points back in the standings compared to Brantford. Game one was more dominant by Brantford, who won 5-2 and outshot Ottawa 39-28. Ottawa was pretty undisciplined though, handing Brantford 9 powerplays while only drawing four chances of their own.

In game two, Ottawa built a 4-2 lead thanks to some dominant special teams and mostly carrying the play, then hung on for a 6-3 win thanks to two empty net goals. Kressler's play has been like Chadwick – he's been very responsible and hasn't been on the ice for a goal against. He has 9 shots on goal through the two games, and his only point was one of the empty net goals in the game two. He's never been an elite offensive generator, even while being one of the older players in the league this year, so it's not too surprising. But he's doing the little things to help his line mates and team.

Game three is on Tuesday at 7 pm EST.

Nick Moldenhauer

Michigan started the tournament as a slight underdog. They pulled off a slight upset against North Dakota with a 4-3 win, then pulled off a bigger upset against the 4th seeded Michigan State in a 5-2 win. I'll admit, I didn't see these games as much. Though when it comes to Moldenhauer, it seems like there wasn't a lot to miss. He has one shot in the two games, and has not been on the ice for a goal for or against. I'm guessing Michigan has been very heavily leaning on their top players, and this year at least that does not include Moldenhauer.

Michigan now has the honour of being the biggest underdogs still left in the bracket as the tournament hits the Frozen Four semi finals. They face the top seed in the whole tournament, Boston College, on Thursday April 11th at 8:30 pm EST.

Cade Webber

Webber and Boston University is on the opposite side of the bracket. They entered the tournament as the 2nd seed, and had back-to-back 6-3 wins against RIT and then Minnesota. They should have a tougher time against Denver, who is the 3rd seed for the tournament – though Denver barely eked out two 2-1 wins against some of the lower seeds in their bracket.

Webber was as expected. I tried to watch him where I could, between all of the other games of Toronto's better prospects. He is as he has been advertised and what I've seen from him since being traded to the Leafs. He continues to be big, skate pretty well for his size, be a bit of a physical force (though he definitely needs some more muscle to get rid of the awkward giraffe look), and block a lot of shots. No offense to speak of.

Their semi final game against Denver will come on Thursday April 11th at 5 pm EST. If they advance to the finals, they'll play the winner of Boston College vs Michigan University on Saturday April 13th at 6 pm EST.

Mike Koster

I didn't watch much of Minnesota, aside from parts of their game against Cade Webber, but there wasn't really much to say about Koster anyway. Minnesota beat Omaha 3-2, then lost to BU 6-3. He had one shot on net in the two games, and no points. This ends his fourth year in Minnesota, and at this point I think his NCAA career is over. I have no idea what he does next, but I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't wind up on an NHL contract – with Toronto or any other team. An AHL/ECHL deal, maybe.

Nikita Grebyonkin

Metallurg wrapped up their second round series on Saturday, beating Spartak 3-0 and clinching the series 4-2. It was a tougher series for Grebyonkin than the first round, with only one goal coming in the first game for the whole six game series and seeing his ice time dropping to under 14 minutes in game 5 on 6.

That said, Grebyonkin is still averaging the second most ice time among all the team's forwards for these playoffs. He just looked to have a harder time creating offense from his usual sources: off the rush and the cycle. Spartak was playing a pretty tight defense, and it was a pretty close and low-scoring series compared to the first.

The semi-finals begins on Wednesday April 3rd at 10 am EST, with Metallurg as the top remaining seed in the KHL facing Avtomobilist. They were the 5th seed in the conference, but they have been incredibly stingy defensively in these playoffs – they've averaged only 2.10 goals against per game. So it will likely be a tough series again for them.

Artur Akhtyamov

Akhtyamov and Neftyanik are continuing their Cinderella run in the playoffs, having reached the semi-finals after upsetting the 3rd seed in the second round. They began as the 9th seed, and will now face the 2nd seeded Rubin Tyumen starting on Tuesday April 2nd at 10 am EST.

Despite being the 9th seed, Neftyanik hasn't necessarily played like it. They've controlled 57% of the shots in the playoffs despite being the lower seed in each series. And Akhtyamov has played strong, with a .926 sv% and one shutout in the 10 games so far.

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