Playoff journey begins

They played each other extremely closely in the regular season.

Dauphin won four of six games, three of which were in overtime while the Stampeders won a 3-0 game and Kobe Grant stole the show in the team’s other victory.

All of that is now in the past and what’s in store is projected to be one of the most exciting and entertaining first-round series in the league.

The Swan Valley Stampeders and Dauphin Kings open their series on Friday evening as the Stamps’ play host to game one at the Centennial Arena.

These same two teams met in the first round last year and Dauphin won that series in six games.

Who to Watch – Dauphin – Mathew Gough

The 20-year-old from Ontario continued to get better as the season went on. Gough has the ability to take a game over and he will have to be solid in the series.

He led Dauphin with 27 goals and 29 assists in the regular season for 59 points, an average of just more than a point per game.

Gough has a great shot and it will be needed in the series as Dauphin goes up against the MJHL’ Top Goaltender in Kobe Grant.

Who to Watch – Swan Valley – Kobe Grant

He’s been putting on a show since he entered the league and if the Stampeders have success in the series, Grant will be front and centre.

He won 26 games in the regular season and had a superb .933 save percentage.

Grant has great size between the pipes and he is never an easy man to beat. He was also named the league’s Top Goaltender which is a tremendous feat. If you like watching elite goalies, Swan Valley vs Dauphin has just that.

Tale of the Tape:

How much does home ice advantage mean?

At the end of the day, if the Dauphin Kings want to win this series, they will have to win at the Centennial Arena, a feat that is certainly easier said than done.

The Stampeders were 20-7-2 on home ice in the regular season. It’s a smaller ice surface at the Centennial Arena and the Stampeders sure make it work for themselves. Some of the credit has to go to Barry Wolff who has set up some solid systems that allows Swan Valley to succeed.

For Dauphin; meanwhile, they need to keep defending home ice as they did in the regular season. The Kings were 19-8-0-2 at Credit Union Place in the regular season. They scored 107 times on home ice while giving up 89.

Summary: Home ice is a huge deal in this series. If you’re Dauphin, you will need a win on the road at some point and you need to pair that with defending your home ice.

Why Dauphin?

A few members of the team have been here before after winning the league title last year. It’s a group that works extremely hard and are well-coached.

Why Swan Valley?

Kobe Grant and their first line has combined for 195 points. They are also very solid on the back end led by Collinn Jennings. While this year’s team perhaps isn’t as strong as the one that made the league final in 2019, this Stampeders team can’t be taken lightly, to say the least

How it goes down:

You can watch every game in the series on HockeyTV and you can also listen to the game with Darnell Duff on 730CKDM.com.