Shaw BCHL Playoffs Recap: Apr. 1

Alberni Valley Bulldogs – 5
Cowichan Valley Capitals – 3

Five different Bulldogs players registered multiple points, including team captain Stephen Castagna whose goal at the 11:08 mark of the third period held up as the game winner in Alberni Valley’s 5-3 Game 1 win over Cowichan Valley.

The Capitals got off to a hot start with two early first-period goals from Massimo Sarantos-Lombardi, but the Bulldogs answered before the end of the frame on a Chase Klassen goal to make it 2-1. Alberni took over in the second, scoring twice on the power play, one from Josh Zary and another from Brandon Buhr to lead 3-2 after two. Shane LaVelle tied the game for the Caps less than five minutes into the third, but Castagna replied shortly after and Ethan Bono scored the insurance marker into an empty net to close out the game.

The teams will regroup tonight before they are back at it tomorrow in Game 2 from Port Alberni.

Langley Rivermen – 3
Victoria Grizzlies – 2

Rivermen defenceman Joseph Messina’s goal in the final minute broke a 2-2 tie and goaltender Ajeet Gundarah held the fort in his return to the lineup, making 25 stops in Langley’s dramatic 3-2 win against Victoria in Game 1 of their first-round series. BCHL leading scorer Matthew Wood started things off by putting home a one-time blast on a Grizzlies power play in the first period before Langley stormed back with two in the second on goals by Max Bulawka and Max Dukovac. Andrew Amousse tied it for Victoria on another power play with under six minutes to go in the third, but Messina quieted the comeback with his late winner. Game 2 goes tomorrow night.

Nanaimo Clippers – 3
Surrey Eagles – 2

Down 2-1 going into the third, the Clippers got goals from Brody Waters and a late one by Austin Spiridakis en route to a 3-2 come-from-behind win over Surrey. After a scoreless first period, Nanaimo took the lead on a goal by BCHL MVP finalist Sean Donaldson, but Surrey replied quickly with two of their own, from Primo Self and Ben Fontaine, to take the lead before the Clippers late-game heroics. Nanaimo goalie Cooper Black stopped 22 pucks to get the win. Game 2 is set for tomorrow night.

Vernon Vipers – 5
West Kelowna Warriors – 2

Cameron MacDonald scored twice and Roan Clarke stopped 24 of 26 shots as Vernon upset West Kelowna 5-2 in their series opener. MacDonald scored the game’s first goal less than four minutes in, but was answered by Charles-Alexis Legault barely two minutes later. Vipers defenceman Ayden Third scored midway through the opening period to make it 2-1 Vernon after one. After a scoreless second, the Vipers built on their lead with a Zack Tonelli goal and a power-play marker by Reagan Milburn to make it 4-1. Chase Dafoe would score for the Warriors shortly after, but MacDonald capped things off with an empty-netter in the final seconds. West Kelowna will look to rebound in Game 2 tomorrow.

Prince George Spruce Kings – 4
Cranbrook Bucks – 1

Ty Gagno, Nick Marciano, and Simon Labelle each had a goal and an assist and Aaron Trotter made 26 saves in the Spruce Kings 4-1 defeat of the Bucks in Game 1. Labelle and Marciano both scored in the first period and Gagno’s marker came in the second and it was 3-0 Prince George after two. That score would hold until late in the final frame when the teams exchanged goals, Luc Layin for the Spruce Kings and Zeth Kindrachuk for the Bucks. The 4-1 victory puts PG up 1-0 in the series with Game 2 tomorrow night.

Chilliwack Chiefs – 6
Coquitlam Express – 3

After trailing early, Chilliwack exploded for three straight goals in the second and an additional three straight in the third in their 6-3 Game 1 victory against Coquitlam. Jayden Sison got the Express on the board 2:38 into the game, but the Chiefs eventually stormed back on second-period goals by Connor Milburn, Ethan Bowen and Cameron Johnson before Coquitlam defenceman Matthew Campbell scored to make it 3-2 at intermission. The Express tied the game early in the third on a goal by Emmett McHardy, but the Chiefs jumped back ahead with goals by Thomas Messineo, Milburn and Brett Rylance into an empty net. With two goals on the night, Milburn was named first star of the game.

Penticton Vees – 5
Trail Smoke Eaters – 1

Aydar Suniev scored twice and Kaeden Lane Stopped 26 of 27 shots as Penticton rebounded nicely from their Game 1 loss last night and took Game 2 against Trail by a 5-1 score. Spencer Smith got the scoring started for the Vees just 30 seconds in and Brett Moravec added on to make it 2-0 heading to intermission. Suniev got his first halfway through the period, but Teddy Lagerback answered for the Smokies to cut into the lead. That was short-lived because Grayson Arnott scored another one for Penticton later in the second and Suniev potted his second in the final period to make it a 5-1 final. The teams get a well-deserved break and are back at it for Game 3 on Monday night with the series tied 1-1.