They took different routes to arrive at this point, but the Powell River Kings and Vernon Vipers will now have to go through one another to capture the Fred Page Cup.
The series, which begins Friday on the Sunshine Coast, features a match-up between the BCHL's top offensive and defensive units. The Kings scored a league-high 251 goals during the regular season and counted four players amongst the top-six in overall scoring. Vernon, on the other hand, held opponents to league-low 145 goals and cut that number severely since the playoffs began. The Vipers have averaged 1.6 goals against in 11 postseason games.
The teams met only once during the regular season, with that game taking place just three weeks into the 2008/09 campaign. Powell River won by a 4-2 margin on home ice that night, with the Kings' duo of Darcy Oakes and Clay Harvey each picking up two points in the victory. But with a number of roster additions and deletions on both squads since September, both clubs will have little more than video and scouting reports to go on come Friday.
For the Vipers, the series marks an opportunity to win the team's first Fred Page Cup since 2003. While the gap may not seem an extended one, it is the longest that the team has waited between championships since the franchise won it all in 1988. That year, the club began a run that saw them win their first of seven titles in a 16-year span. They'll hope that the third time is the charm after recent FPC losses to Surrey (2005) and Nanaimo (2007).
The Kings, meanwhile, are looking to capture their first league championship after two previous finals appearances. In 1991, Powell River advanced to their first BCHL Finals before losing out to Vernon. Four years later, on their second trip, they were beaten out by the Chilliwack Chiefs.
This year's Fred Page Cup Final begins on Friday in Powell River before shifting north to Vernon on Tuesday, April 7th. Should the series go a full seven games, it would end on April 14th on the Sunshine Coast.
Fred Page Cup Schedule:
Game One: Friday, April 3rd — 7:30 PM — Powell River Recreation Centre
Game Two: Saturday, April 4th — 7:30 PM — Powell River Recreation Centre
Game Three: Tuesday, April 7th — 7:00 PM — Wesbild Centre, Vernon
Game Four: Wednesday, April 8th — 7:00 PM — Wesbild Centre, Vernon
Game Five: Friday, April 10th — 7:30 PM — Powell River Recreation Centre
Game Six: Sunday, April 12th — 7:00 PM — Wesbild Centre, Vernon
Game Seven: Tuesday, April 14th –7:00 PM — Powell River Recreation Centre