We have reached the climax of the Shaw BCHL Playoffs with the Fred Page Cup Finals set to begin on Friday night. It’s a matchup between two teams with a combined one loss through the first three rounds of the postseason, so it is setting up to be an exciting conclusion.
Penticton Vees (#1 Interior Conference) vs. Nanaimo Clippers (#3 Coastal Conference)
Head to head:
Penticton won the lone meeting between the two teams by a 7-3 score in Nanaimo on Nov. 5.
Top playoff performers:
Penticton – F Josh Nadeau (19 points), F Luc Wilson (19 points), F Bradley Nadeau (18 points), G Kaeden Lane (.939 SV%)
Nanaimo – F Sean Donaldson (19 points), F Brody Waters (14 points), F Keighan Gerrie (12 points), G Cooper Black (.953 SV%)
Nanaimo enters the championship series with a perfect 12-0 record, having swept the Surrey Eagles in Round 1, the Chilliwack Chiefs in the second round and most recently the Langley Rivermen in the Coastal Conference Finals.
Penticton has won 12 straight games in the postseason after dropping their playoff opener to the Trail Smoke Eaters in the first round. They got past Trail in five games and swept the Prince George Spruce Kings and the West Kelowna Warriors the next two rounds.
The Clippers have had timely offensive production throughout the playoffs, but none of their skaters have been as clutch as Sean Donaldson. The MVP finalist is tied for the league lead in points in the postseason with 19 in 12 games and also leads the playoffs in goals with 12. The supporting cast has also played a key role for the Clippers. Keighan Gerrie was a go-to player on offence in the second round against Chilliwack, while Brody Waters stepped up against Langley. The Clippers have been without standout forward Max Itagaki since the first round and will hope the layoff between series will allow him to get healthy enough to return for the finals.
Although Nanaimo has received top-end production from players like Donaldson, the biggest story has been their goaltender Cooper Black. The 20-year-old has been a brick wall so far this postseason. He leads the BCHL Playoffs with a .953 save percentage and three shutouts. He is also tied for the top goals-against average with a mark of 1.54. He posted three straight shutouts between rounds two and three, going over 11 periods without surrendering a goal.
On the Penticton side, their offensive players have come to play all postseason. The Vees boast three of the top-five scorers in the playoffs in Josh Nadeau, Luc Wilson and Bradley Nadeau and four of the top-seven if you include Adam Eisele and his 17 points. Wilson was an assist machine through the first two rounds, but found his goal-scoring touch against West Kelowna, burying five times in the four-game sweep. The Nadeau brothers have been consistent contributors all year long and that has carried over into the playoffs. Josh has at least a point in 11 of 13 games, while Bradley has at least one in 10 of 13.
Just like the Clippers, the Vees have received a huge boost from their goaltender during the postseason. Kaeden Lane is tied with Black for the best goals-against average in the playoffs at 1.54 and has the second-best save percentage with a mark of .939. Both numbers are a significant improvement from the regular season, which is impressive from a goaltender who posted six shutouts during the year.
- Penticton last won the Fred Page Cup in 2017 – Nanaimo last won in 2007
- Penticton has won the championship a total of 12 times – Nanaimo has won five times
- Penticton is making their 22nd finals appearance – Nanaimo is making their ninth
- The teams have met in the finals six times prior to this year and split 3-3
- The most recent finals matchup between the teams was in 2015 when Penticton won in six games