March 26, 2018
The semi-final matchups of the BCHL Championship playoffs are now set.
The Trail Smoke Eaters downed the #1 seed Penticton Vees 4-2 Monday in Penticton to take the series in seven games.
Trail will now face the Wenatchee Wild in the Interior series playoff. Wenatchee downed Vernon in six to advance, and will host Trail to start.
On Saturday, it was the Spruce Kings downing the Langley Eagles 4-0 in Prince George to take the Mainland Division in seven.
The Spruce Kings will meet the Powell River Kings, who eliminated the Victoria Grizzlies in six, in the Island Division.
This year the league has moved to a new playoff format – with the winner of the Mainland vs Island divisions, meeting the Interior division champion in the final.
All series will be a best-of-seven and it will be up to the opposing coaches in each round to determine the series format, whether it be 2-3-2 or 2-2-1-1-1, etc.
The BCHL Fred Page Cup champion will advance to play the winner of the Alberta Junior Hockey League (AJHL) in the Doyle Cup to determine who goes to the RBC Cup national championship tournament.
The Doyle Cup was last played in 2012 when the Penticton Vees defeated the Brooks Bandits on their way to a national title. For the last five seasons, the Western Canada Cup had replaced the Doyle.
The Chilliwack Chiefs are hosting this year’s RBC Cup.
Final Game Recaps
Interior Division 1
Game 7, Trail 4-2, defeat Penticton
March 26, 2018
Adam Marcoux made 37 saves and Ross Armour scored twice to lead the Interior No. 4-seed Trail Smoke Eaters past the No. 1-seed Penticton Vees by a 4-2 score in Game 7 that puts Trail into the Interior Division finals.
Andre Ghantous opened the scoring for the Smoke Eaters near the midway point of the first and they went up by two later in the period, taking advantage of a too-many-men-on-the-ice call against the Vees and capitalizing on the power play with a goal by Braeden Tuck.
Armour made it a three-goal Smoke Eaters lead with a shorthanded goal at 5:52 of the second. Penticton got on the scoreboard on a goal from Wyatt Sloboshan near the middle of the second period but still trailed by two going to the third.
Just 1:10 into the third, Armour restored the two-goal Trail advantage on a play set up by Tuck and Kale Howarth. Penticton kept pushing to make up the difference and outshot Trail 15-6 in the third. They appeared to have life at the 12-minute mark when they got a goal from an unlikely source in defenceman Kenny Johnson who converted a cross-crease feed from fellow blueliner Luke Reid.
Johnson had just one goal all season and this was his first of the playoffs but it would be the last puck to get past Marcoux on the night. The goalie was named 3rd Star of the game.
Trail will now take on the Wenatchee Wild in Round 3 of the playoffs. Wenatchee, as the No. 3 seed in the Interior, will have home-ice advantage. Schedule to be announced soon.
Game 7 – Prince George 4-0, defeat Surrey
March 25, 2018
Ethan de Jong scored a twice and Evan DeBrouwer stopped all 14 pucks that came his way as the Prince George Spruce Kings claimed a 4-0 home win over the Surrey Eagles that also earns them the Mainland Division crown.
Prince George moves on the face the Powell River Kings in the league semifinal to determine who moves on to play the Interior Champion for the Fred Page Cup.
de Jong scored just 3:35 into the game and it proved to be the only goal PG would need on the night. There was no more scoring until late in the third period when de Jong potted his second. After a Surrey timeout and Eagles goalie Mario Cavaliere on the bench for an extra attacker, Ben Brar scored into the empty net to seal the win.
Nolan Welsh added another, his first goal of the playoffs, to round out the Spruce Kings attack.
Cavaliere made 34 saves in the Surrey net. The shutout was DeBrouwer’s first of the postseason and the second playoff shutout of his BCHL career.
Prince George came back from 3-1 down in the series, winning three-straight games to take the series.
The series begins on Friday March 30th at the Rolling Mix Concrete Arena in Prince George, followed by Game 2 on Saturday March 31st. Powell River will host Games 3 and 4 on Monday and Tuesday April 2nd and 3rd. The series would then shift into a 1-1-1 format if necessary, with Game 5 going Thursday April 5th in Prince George, Saturday April 7th in Powell River, and Game 7 would be played Monday, April 9th at the RMCA.
All games start at 7 PM.
Game 6 – Powell River win 4-3 OT vs Victoria, take series in six
March 23, 2018
Ben Berard took a centring feed from Carter Turnbull and made no mistake, burying the game- and series-winning tally at 10:36 of overtime to deliver a 4-3 road win for the Powell River Kings over the Victoria Grizzlies that puts Powell River into Round 3.
The Kings led 1-0 after one on a goal by Hunter Findlater but Ethan Nother tied it for Victoria early in the second and then put the Grizzlies ahead later in the middle frame on the power play, diving across the Kings crease to knock in a loose puck.
Powell River struck twice in quick succession in the third period to regain the lead with Carter Turnbull tallying, followed by Berard with his first of the night just 40 seconds later.
It was a TJ Friedmann goal at 12:50 of the third on the man advantage that evened things up again and set the stage for overtime.
Powell River gained possession after winning a faceoff in the Victoria zone and it was Berard, scoring his eighth of the playoffs, that won it.
Powell River will travel to Prince George for game one March 30.
Interior Division 2
Game 6 – Wenatchee Wild 4-3 OT vs Vernon, take series in six
March 24, 2018
AJ Vanderbeck scored 3:38 into overtime as the Wenatchee Wild threw 59 shots at Vernon Vipers goalie Ty Taylor and pulled out a 4-3 victory Saturday night to win the series 4-2.
Derek Brown, Jimmy Lambert and Niko Karamanis scored first-period goals for the Vipers, while the Wild got one from Zak Galambos and Vernon led 3-1 after one.
After a scoreless second period, Jasper Weatherby cut into the lead less than five minutes into the third and Sam Hesler tied the game at the 12:33 mark to force overtime and set up Vanderbeck’s heroics.
After going down 2-0 in the series, Wenatchee won four straight games to win it in six and advance to the Interior Division finals. They will host the Trail Smoke Eaters in game one.