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BCHL Playoffs Preview: Round 2

Round 2 on the B.C. side of the playoffs begins tonight with all four series playing Game 1. We breakdown each matchup in the Coastal and Interior to get you set.

Interior Conference

#1 Penticton Vees vs. #4 Vernon Vipers


Penticton won the season series 4-0-0-1

Top Playoff Performers:

Penticton – F Callum Arnott (3 points), F Anselmo Rego (3 points), D Francesco Dell’Elce (3 points), G Will Ingemann (.962 save percentage)

Vernon – F Owen Kim (7 points), F Isaac Tremblay (7 points), F Erik Pastro (4 points), G Ethan David (.944 save percentage)


This is a matchup between two historic BCHL rivals who are meeting in the playoffs for the 25th time, but the first time since 2017.

Penticton is coming off a four-game sweep of the Prince George Spruce Kings, but all four games were fairly close, with the last two being especially tight as the Vees won Game 3 in double overtime and won Game 4 by a 3-2 score after coming back from down two in the third period. Penticton has relied on a balanced attack on offence all year long and that did not change against PG. They currently have six players tied for the team lead in point with three in four games, including two defencemen. For the Vees, the strongest facet of their game is their ability to shut down the opposition. This is done through their strong defensive corps, featuring the likes of Francesco Dell’Elce and Larry Keenan, as well as their dynamic duo between the pipes in Will Ingemann and Andrew Ness. The two goalies split the starts in Round 1 and it proved to be effective. They are one and two in goals-against average through the first round and Ingemann leads the playoffs with a .962 save percentage.

Vernon dispatched the Trail Smoke Eaters in five games in their first-round series. Owen Kim is off to a hot start for the Vipers with seven points in five games, as well as Isaac Tremblay who also had seven points against Trail. In net, Ethan David has stepped up big time in the postseason. After a strong regular season, the third-year Vipers netminder has reached another level in the playoffs and currently owns a .944 save percentage, which is the third highest mark in the league. He set the tone for Vernon in Game 1 against Trail where he posted his third-career playoff shutout in a 2-0 win.

#2 West Kelowna Warriors vs. #3 Salmon Arm Silverbacks


West Kelowna won the season series 5-1 with two of their wins coming in the shootout.

Top Playoff Performers:

West Kelowna – F Trent Wilson (14 points), F Jack Pridham (8 points), F Callum Hughes (8 points), F Felix Caron (7 points)

Salmon Arm – F Cole Cooksey (7 points), F Maddux Martin (4 points), D Ryan Philbrick (4 points), G Eli Pulver (.930 save percentage)


West Kelowna was pushed to the limit in their first-round series against the Cranbrook Bucks, but eventually prevailed in seven games. West Kelowna forward Trent Wilson was a big reason why they managed to avoid the upset as the 2004-born veteran currently leads the BCHL Playoffs in scoring with 14 points in seven games. Wilson and linemate Jack Pridham combined for 12 points in the Warriors first two games of the playoffs, with Pridham accounting for five goals over that stretch. Pridham is tied for the postseason goals lead and tied for second in points along with teammate Callum Hughes who put up eight in seven contests. West Kelowna lost their starting netminder Rorke Applebee in the first round due to injury, but Matthew DellaRusso stepped up and filled in admirably to help his team to the series victory.

Salmon Arm was also tested in the first round against an upstart Merritt Centennials team, but the Silverbacks ultimately prevailed in six games. Cole Cooksey is the reigning BCHL First Star of the Week after notching six points through the final four games of the series, including a pair of goals in Salmon Arm’s series clinching win in Game 6 last Saturday. The Silverbacks have also received excellent goaltending so far in the playoffs, as they have all year long. Netminder Eli Pulver has a .930 save percentage after Round 1 and a goals-against average of 1.99. He earned his first playoff shutout in Game 5, a game in which they needed every save as Salmon Arm won 1-0.

Coastal Conference

#1 Surrey Eagles vs. #4 Victoria Grizzlies


Surrey won the season series 3-1.

Top Playoff Performers:

Surrey – F Zachary Wagnon (7 points), F Micah Berger (6 points), D Rylan Bonkowski (6 points), G Jaiden Sharma (.961 save percentage)

Victoria – F Chase Pirtle (7 points), F Charlie Gollob (5 points), D Richard Baran (4 points), G Oliver Auyeung-Ashton (.934 save percentage)


Surrey topped the Cowichan Valley Capitals in five games in Round 1. The Eagles split duties between their two goaltenders as First-Team All-Star Ajeet Gundarah started three of five contests with a .929 save percentage. Not to be outdone, Jaiden Sharma performed admirably in his appearances and currently has the second best save rate in the playoffs with a mark of .961. As was the case all year long, Surrey was able to fill the net in the series as well. Zachary Wagnon had seven points to lead the team, while Rylan Bonkowski stepped up with six points in five games from the back end, putting him second in the defencemen scoring race. The Eagles two MVP finalists Caden Cranston and Aaron Schwartz also contributed to the offence, but will look to reach their regular-season form in Round 1.

Despite having the narrowest separation in points in the standings among all Round 1 matchups, Victoria managed to make quick work of the Nanaimo Clippers, defeating their Island rivals in five games in the first round. BCHL Rookie of the Year finalist Chase Pirtle led the way offensively, like he has done all season long, with seven points through their five playoff games. The Grizz also got support from the back end, specifically from Richard Baran and Tim Busconi who had four points each. They received strong play in net from Oliver Auyeung-Ashton who allowed more than two goals just once against Nanaimo and closed out the series with his first-career postseason shutout, a 3-0 blanking in Game 5 where he made 23 stops.

#2 Chilliwack Chiefs vs. #3 Alberni Valley Bulldogs


The teams split the season series 2-2.

Top Playoff Performers:

Chilliwack – F Mateo Mrsic (5 points), F Nathan Morin (5 points), F Nico Grabas (4 points), G Austin McNicholas (.936 save percentage)

Alberni Valley – F Hayden Stavroff (8 points), F Grayson Badger (7 points), F Zeke Nicholson (6 points), G Callum Tung (.931 save percentage)


Chilliwack swept the Langley Rivermen in their Round 1 series, but the matchup was a lot closer than that would suggest. The first three games all went to overtime before the Chiefs finished things off in Game 4 with a 5-2 win on the road. Chilliwack lost their starting goaltender Vladimir Nikitin during Game 1 of the series, but the next man up Austin McNicholas stepped in and didn’t miss a beat. McNicholas posted a .936 save percentage during the series and earned all four wins. Up front, Mateo Mrsic and Nathan Morin each had five points in four games to lead the team offensively.

Alberni Valley was pushed to seven games by the Coquitlam Express in the first round, but ultimately prevailed after a 4-1 win in Game 7. The Bulldogs top offensive players were exactly that against Coquitlam. Hayden Stavroff, the BCHL’s leading goal scorer in the regular season and recently named First-Team All-Star, led the way with eight points in seven games, including five goals, which is tied for the postseason lead. Grayson Badger also stepped up with a huge series, matching Stavroff with five goals and averaging a point per game over the seven contests. In net, Callum Tung continued to excel, posting a .931 save percentage and a 2.36 goals-against average against Coquitlam, while only allowing four goals over the final three games of the series.