(Submitted by Alex Hoegler, BCHL communications)
The Divisional finals start this Friday. Here is a preview for each series and key players to watch closely as we near puck drop.
Chilliwack Chiefs (1) vs. (2) Wenatchee Wild
How they got there: Chilliwack swept the Coquitlam Express in the opening round, and have been off since March 8. They scored 18 goals in the four games while surrendering just seven. Seven players scored four or more points in the series.
Wenatchee defeated the Langley Rivermen in five games in what was their first ever playoff series in the BCHL. Chase Perry’s hot glove in Games 4 and 5 (two wins, one shutout,) carried Wenatchee to the divisional final.
Who to watch for: Chiefs forward Jordan Kawaguchi leads the team in playoff scoring, with three goals and five assists. He had 45 goals and 83 points in 56 regular season games.
Goaltender Aidan Pelino enters the series with plenty of momentum for Chilliwack. He went 4-0 with a .931 save percentage and 1.69 GAA, surrendering just seven goals in the postseason thus far.
Wild forward Kyle Stephan had nine points in the opening round against the Rivermen, leading all Wenatchee players. His four goals in the series tied the team lead with Charlie Combs.
Brendan Harris finished second in scoring during Wenatchee’s first-round series. He had two goals and six assists, including an overtime game-winning goal in Game 2.
Chase Perry is 3-1 in the playoffs so far. He registered a shutout in Game 3, a 5-0 Wild victory. He was named 1st star twice. He enters the series with a .914 save percentage and 2.42 GAA.
Season series: The Wild won the season series, going 4-2-1, with five games decided by one goal.
Penticton Vees (1) vs. (2) West Kelowna Warriors
How they got there: Penticton dominated regular season play, going 50-7-0-1. It took them five games to get past Vernon in Round 1.
The Warriors finished with 79 points, good for second in the Interior. They faced off against the Salmon Arm Silverbacks in the first-round, where they won the series in six games.
Who to watch for: Vees’ Conway leads all active playoff performers with 10 points. Jost and Nicholas Jones are in a four-way tie for second place in postseason scoring with nine.
Goaltender Zachary Driscoll went 3-0 against Vernon in the playoffs, allowing just four goals and posting a shutout. He had a .942 save percentage and 1.33 GAA.
West Kelowna’s Liam Blackburn had eight points in Round 1 which led the team, with Kylar Hope’s three goals and three assists adding vital secondary scoring.
Goaltender Matthew Greenfield went 4-2 with a .932 save percentage and 2.40 GAA against Salmon Arm.
Season series: The Vees won the season series, 6-1.
Nanaimo Clippers (1) vs. Powell River Kings (2)
How they got there: The Clippers overcame a Game 1 loss to win four in a row, dispatching the Alberni Valley Bulldogs in five games.
The Kings fought off the Cowichan Valley Capitals by defeating them in six games.
Who to watch for:
Sheldon Rempal leads the Clippers with nine points, while defenceman Yanni Kaldis had two goals, four assists, an overtime winner and was named 1st star and 3rd star twice in the opening series
Liam Lawson’s eight points lead all Powell River players in the postseason. Carter Turnbull, Kyle Betts and Jonny Evans are tied for second on the team with seven.
Kings Goaltender Jeff Smith enters the series with a 4-2 record in the postseason, with a .916 save percentage and 2.32 GAA.
Season series: The Kings won the season series, 5-3.