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Shaw BCHL Playoff Recap: Apr. 5

Photo credit: Garrett James Photography

Langley Rivermen – 5
Victoria Grizzlies 4 (OT)

On his 21st birthday, Riley Wallack potted the overtime winner on the power play just 51 seconds into the extra frame to vault the Langley Rivermen to a 5-4 win over the Victoria Grizzlies and a 2-1 series lead.

Devan Nagra scored for Langley and Noah Fladagar tallied for Victoria in the first period, which made it 1-1 heading to intermission. Then, things got crazy in the second. Isack Bandu buried his first of the postseason for the Grizzlies 17 seconds in before the Rivermen scored three straight on a pair of goals by Andrej Kovacevic and one by Max Bulawka, all less than four minutes apart. Jack Gorton got the Grizzlies closer before the end of the period with his second playoff goal and it was 4-3 Langley after two.

In the third, Michael Hoekstra scored at the 11:58 mark to tie the game and force overtime, but a late Victoria penalty bled into overtime and allowed Wallack to win it on the man advantage.

Despite giving up four goals, Langley goalie Ajeet Gundarah was solid in net, stopping 38 of 42 shots to get the win. The big difference in this game was on special teams. The Rivermen power play went 3/4, while the Grizzlies went 0/4 with the man advantage. The teams are back at it again tomorrow night in Victoria for Game 4.

Wenatchee Wild – 3
Salmon Arm Silverbacks – 2 (OT)

We hadn’t had any overtime in the playoffs before tonight, but the Wenatchee Wild and Salmon Arm Silverbacks became the first to reach extra time in the 2022 postseason and it was Wenatchee who came out on top after a Cade Stibbe goal 4:50 into OT gave them a 3-2 win. Cade Littler and Quinn Emerson scored to build a 2-0 lead for the Wild, but the Silverbacks answered with goals by Daniel Panetta and Isaac Lambert to force overtime. Wenatchee goalie Andy Vlaha got his first start of the playoffs and made 39 saves to get the win and earn first star of the game.

Nanaimo Clippers – 6
Surrey Eagles – 2

The Nanaimo Clippers became the first team to advance to the second round after beating the Surrey Eagles 6-2 in Game 4 to clinch the series sweep. Max Itagaki and Tristan Fraser had a goal and two assists each and Cooper Black made 29 stops to get the win. The Eagles outshot the Clippers in this one by a 31-27 margin, but Black stood tall. Nanaimo now awaits its second round opponent.

Alberni Valley Bulldogs – 3
Cowichan Valley Capitals – 2

In another tight-checking affair, the Alberni Valley Bulldogs got by the Cowichan Valley Capitals 3-2 on the strength of a two-point effort by Matthew Maltais and 21 saves by Hobie Hedquist. Finn Brown, Cole Melady and Maltais notched goals for the Bulldogs, while Griffin Wilson and Luke Haymes scored for the Capitals. The busiest man all night was Cowichan goalie McCoy Bidewell who battled to keep his team in it, making 40 saves in a losing effort. Alberni has a chance to sweep the series in Game 4 tomorrow.

Penticton Vees – 2
Trail Smoke Eaters – 1

Josh Nadeau and Brett Moravec each scored and Kaeden Lane made 29 saves on 30 shots as the Penticton Vees edged the Trail Smoke Eaters 2-1 in Game 4 of their first-round series to take a 3-1 lead. Corey Cunningham got the Smokies on the board in the third period, but Trail could not solve Lane after that. Smoke Eaters goalie Cole Tisdale swatted away 35 pucks in the loss. Penticton will have a chance to clinch the series back at home in Game 5 on Thursday.

Coquitlam Express – 4
Chilliwack Chiefs – 2

Ryan Tattle and Carter Woodside stole the show, leading the Coquitlam Express to a massive 4-2 victory over the Chilliwack Chiefs and evening their series 2-2. After Trevor O’Brien opened the scoring for the Express, Tattle took over from there, scoring all three of his team’s goals after that point to earn his first career playoff hat trick. In the crease, Woodside faced a barrage of shots, but made 53 saves to secure the victory. Coquitlam defenceman Matthew Campbell chipped in with three assists as well.

Cranbrook Bucks – 5
Prince George Spruce Kings – 3

Five different Cranbrook Bucks players hit the back of the net and the team went 2/4 on the power play in a 5-3 home win over the Prince George Spruce Kings that tied their series 1-1. Jaden Fodchuk, Brendan Rogers, Bauer Morrissey, Johnny Johnson and Tyson Dyck all got in on the act and Liam Hansson contributed a pair of helpers in the win. On the other side, Prince George forward Luc Laylin was in on all three of his team’s goals, finishing the night with two markers and an assist. Laylin scored his two goals just seven seconds apart early in the second period, but that is shockingly not the fastest two goals we have seen by one player in the BCHL playoffs this year, as Wenatchee’s Cade Stibbe topped him by one, scoring a pair in six second. This series shifts back to PG all knotted up with Game 5 on Thursday night.