Mainland Division playoff preview

No. 1 Chilliwack Chiefs vs. No. 4 Langley Rivermen

Regular season head-to-head: (8 games)
Chilliwack won all eight meetings this season, including one in overtime.

The Chiefs took the Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy for the top team in the regular season. The defending National Champions should be well-rested heading into this series since they were able to sit most of their key players the last two games of the year after clinching top spot the week before. 2018 RBC Cup Top Goaltender Daniel Chenard returned from injury in December and has been lights out ever since, going 13-5-0 with a .913 save percentage and a 2.70 goals-against average. Chilliwack also has firepower up front with Matt Holmes, Kevin Wall and Harrison Blaisdell, who all finished in the top-20 in league scoring.

The Rivermen will hope to shut down the Chiefs offence with their tough defence and solid penalty killing. They gave up the sixth-least goals per game during the regular season and owned the third-best penalty kill at 84.2 per cent. They also scored 13 shorthanded goals which is the most in the league. 2019 NHL Draft prospect Ethan Leyh led Langley in scoring with 42 points, while Jake Livingstone was second on the team and in the top-10 among all BCHL defencemen with 38.

Final word:
Considering the nearly 30-point gap in the standings between the teams and the fact that the Chiefs won all eight meetings in the regular season, Chilliwack is the clear favourite in this series. Langley will need excellent goaltending as well as an improvement on their bottom-five offence if they hope to contend with the regular-season champs.

No. 2 Prince George Spruce Kings vs. No. 3 Coquitlam Express

Regular season head-to-head: (8 games)
The Spruce Kings took six of eight games, including one in overtime and one in a shootout.

Of note:
Prince George was the best defensive team in the regular season, giving up the least amount of goals as well as shots. Goaltender Logan Neaton was a breakout star this year, posting a sparkling 1.92 goals-against average (best in the league) as well as a top-five save percentage at .914. On offence, Dustin Manz led the team with 70 points and Ben Brar had the most goals with 35. Home-ice advantage will be key for the Spruce Kings as they won eight straight at home to finish the year.

The Express are one of the most improved teams compared to last year, finishing with 27 more points this season. Coquitlam will hope that the tandem of leading-scorer Regan Kimens (55 points) and newly-acquired Ty Westgard (52 points) will continue to build their chemistry in the postseason. Westgard has 18 points in 16 games since joining the Express from the Surrey Eagles. Earlier in the season, Coquitlam was competing with Chilliwack and Prince George for top spot in the division, but their pace dropped considerably in the second half of the year, including a recent stretch where they lost nine of 10 games.

Final word:
The Spruce Kings are the heavy favourite in this one and are expected to challenge Chilliwack for the Mainland Division title in the next round. Coquitlam will need to come home with at least a split of the first two games in Prince George if they want to challenge the Spruce Kings in this series.