JR. BLUES SILVER CUP FINALS PREVIEW

VENUE: Canlan Ice Sports, Romeoville, Ill.

GAME TIMES: March 29, 4:30 pm vs. Atlanta Capitals, March 30, 4:30 pm vs. Granite City Lumberjacks, March 31, 4:00 pm vs. Metro Jets (all times Central). Semifinal and final times to be announced.

WHERE TO FOLLOW: All games will be streamed live and in high definition on HockeyTV.com (subscription required). Join Kevin Gier and Grant Francis on the call. In addition, follow @JrBluesGameday on Twitter for live updates and exclusive behind-the-scenes content.

BACK TO THE FINALS: With their 6-3 win over Peoria on Sunday, the Jr. Blues punched their ticket to their second straight Silver Cup Finals appearance. The Jr. Blues have won the tournament five times, most recently in 2010.

HOW IT WORKS: All eight division playoff winners qualified for the Silver Cup, and were then divided up into two groups of four based on regular-season points totals. St. Louis were seeded fourth, and thus placed into Group A with Metro (#1 seed), Atlanta (#5) and Granite City (#8). Group B features #2 seed Binghamton, #3 seed and defending champions North Iowa, #6 seed Yellowstone and #7 seed Long Beach. Each team will play each other once, with the top two teams from each group advancing to the semi-finals on Saturday: the winners of those games will play in the grand final on Sunday afternoon.

SCOUTING THE CAPITALS: Atlanta is the only team that did not win their division this year: they finished second in the South behind Texas, whom they went on to beat in the playoffs. Swiss forward Sascha Figi leads the Caps in scoring with 84 points (37 G, 47 A), while the goaltending tandem of Wyatt Monear (10-0-0, 1.58 GAA, .941 SV%) and Nolan Bivolcic (19-7-1, 2.49 GAA, .912 SV%) provides a strong defensive base.

SCOUTING THE LUMBERJACKS: Based in Sauk Rapids, Minn. near St. Cloud, the Lumberjacks were Silver Cup champions two seasons ago but were bounced early in the West Division playoffs last year. The attack for the Jacks has been strongly balanced, with their top scorer Ryan Smith only scoring 37 points (17 G, 20 A) but 21 squad members having double figure point totals. Goalies Mac Berglove (22-3-6, 2.30 GAA, .920 SV%) and David Mulligan (10-4-1, 2.02 GAA, .923 GAA) are two of the league’s stingiest. Granite City defeated St. Louis in the Jr. Blues’ last trip to the Silver Cup Grand Final in 2012.

SCOUTING THE JETS: After going a perfect 47-0-0 in the regular season, Metro has proven to be fallible in the playoffs, losing Game 1 to both West Michigan and Pittsburgh before coming back to win both East Division series. Louis Boudon, a French youth international tendered with the Northeast Generals, leads the team in scoring with 81 points (38 G, 43 A), while 18 Jets skaters have at least twenty points. Andrew Kormos–also an NAHL tender (New Jersey)—and Jake Gwillim split the goaltending duties, both posting sub-1.50 GAAs. Metro ended the Jr. Blues’ season last year in the Silver Cup group stage, going all the way to the final before falling to North Iowa.

JUNIOR NOTES: The Jr. Blues will be hosting a team dinner Monday, April 3 at Chris’ at the Docket (100 Tucker Boulevard, St. Louis, MO.) All billet families and volunteers are invited to celebrate another great season.