Norsemen Sink Schooners, Prepare for Wheat Kingsby Matt MacInnis | May 2, 2017, 6:52 PM ET
The Vancouver Island Norsemen are moving on to the second round of the playoffs for the first time since 2012-13.
The Victoria-based team won a hard-fought battle over the Nova Scotia Schooners in six games, setting up a confrontation with the upstart Brandon Wheat Kings who knocked out the Ottawa Slammers in the opening round.
The Norsemen won the regular season series against the Wheaties 3-2, but the Brandon club won the final game 5-4, lighting up starting goalie Jonathan Quick in the process.
However, the real story coming out of the opening series win was the loss of defencemen Duncan Keith and Ryan Ellis, both of whom suffered left knee tears that are expected to keep them out of most of or all of the upcoming series.
“It’s really tough to lose two high quality d-men like Dunks and Ry-Guy,” said HC Pronger. “But we’ve called up Big D (Dalton Prout), to be a big D on our blueline, and we’re real confident in him.”
Prout appeared in 22 regular season games earlier in the season, mostly while Erik Johnson was out with injury, but also subbing in at times when Ellis struggled. Prout is a physical, strong defender who focuses on taking care of his own end.