After Tuesday’s dramatic overtime win on home ice for the West Kelowna Warriors, the BCHL finals are set. The Warriors will face the Chilliwack Chiefs for the Fred Page Cup starting Friday in Chilliwack.
The Chiefs have home-ice advantage in the Finals by virtue of the fact they were the first team in Round 3 to earn three wins and clinch a Finals berth. The championship round is a best-of-seven in a 2-2-1-1-1 format.
Friday, April 15: West Kelowna @ Chilliwack, 7 p.m. – Prospera Centre
Saturday, April 16: West Kelowna @ Chilliwack, 7 p.m. – Prospera Centre
Monday, April 18: Chilliwack @ West Kelowna, 7 p.m. – Royal LePage Place
Tuesday, April 19: Chilliwack @ West Kelowna, 7 p.m. – Royal LePage Place
*Friday, April 22: West Kelowna @ Chilliwack, 7 p.m. – Prospera Centre
*Saturday, April 23: Chilliwack @ West Kelowna, 7 p.m. – Royal LePage Place
*Sunday, April 24: West Kelowna @ Chilliwack, 7 p.m. – Prospera Centre
ROAD TO THE FINALS
Chilliwack swept Coquitlam in Round 1 and defeated Wenatchee in five games in Round 2. They got their third win of Round 3 on April 10 over West Kelowna.
West Kelowna defeated Salmon Arm in six games in Round 1 and downed Penticton in six games in Round 2. They got their third win of Round 3 Tuesday night over Nanaimo.
HEAD TO HEAD IN ROUND 3
March 29: WK 5 @ CHW 1
April 6: CHW 4 @ WK 3
April 10: WK 3 @ CHW 4
FACTS & FIGURES
– It’s the first trip to the Finals for the Warriors since the franchise moved to West Kelowna in 2006. They operated in Langley as the Thunder (1994-98) and Hornets (1998-2006). The Thunder went to the BCHL Finals in 1996 but lost to the Vernon Vipers.
– The Chiefs have not been to the Finals since 2003, when they too lost to the Vernon. The Chiefs last won the Fred Page Cup in 2002, defeating Vernon.
– The Chiefs feature two of the six current BCHL players included in Tuesday’s NHL Central Scouting player rankings. Defenceman Dennis Cholowski, committed to St. Cloud State, has been generating lots of interest and rose 25 spots in the latest list to #23 among North American skaters. Rookie forward Kohen Olischefski, committed to Denver, came in at #151.
– West Kelowna boasts the playoffs’ top-two goalscorers in Kylar Hope and Jonathan Desbiens who each have 12 tallies. Hope is committed to the University of Alaska and has seven goals in his last four games. Desbiens is committed to Bentley University.
– Jordan Kawaguchi of Chilliwack is the top scorer still active in the postseason. The Providence commit has 9-11-20 in 14 games.
– Both starting goalies have 11 wins in the postseason. Chilliwack’s Aidan Pelino, who will be college teammates with Desbiens as he is also committed to Bentley for next season, has played all but 32 minutes and carries an 11-3 mark with a .918 save percentage. West Kelowna’s Matthew Greenfield, a native of Parkland, Fla., has played all but five minutes in the playoffs and is 11-7 with a .931 save percentage.
– This will be the first trip to the Finals for Chiefs coach Jason Tatarnic, who is in his second season with the club. West Kelowna coach Rylan Ferster is heading to his second Finals, having guided the 2004 Salmon Arm Silverbacks there before losing to Nanaimo. Ferster was a Junior A national champion as a player; he won the 1990 Centennial Cup as a forward with the Vernon Lakers.
– The West Kelowna-Chilliwack matchup makes for the second-shortest travel route for Finals opponents. Only Merritt-Chilliwack would be closer.