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BCHL Playoffs Set to Commence

By Marshall Mackinder on February 28, 2017

Wenatchee Wild forward Charlie Combs was the lone 50-goal scorer in the BCHL this season, scoring 52 goals while playing in all 58 games for the Boileau Memorial Trophy winning Wild. (Garrett James photo)     

The BCHL regular season wrapped up on Sunday and the playoff matchups are finalized. Each series will begin at the home of the higher seeded team and all playoff series are a best of seven format. Also, finalists from each of the three divisions have been determined for the annual league awards, which will be announced before the playoffs begin on Friday.

In only their second season in the BCHL, the Wenatchee Wild have claimed the Boileau Memorial Trophy for winning the regular season title with a record of 45-9-4-0, good for 94 points. The Wild, which are the lone American team in the BCHL, also had the top two scoring leaders in the league, with Brett Hull Award Winner Brendan Harris finishing with 23 goals and 98 points and Charlie Combs finishing with 52 goals and 84 points.

Starting out West in the Island Division, the Division-winning Victoria Grizzlies will take on the fourth-seeded Nanaimo Clippers. Victoria finished the regular season with a record of 37-12-5-4, 83 points and had a standout season from overage forward Cole Pickup who finished the season with 27 goals and 65 points. The Clippers (23-28-6-1, 53 points) have a well-balanced offence with nine players who had 20+ points, but none surpassing the 40-point mark. 

The Powell River Kings are the second seed and will take on third-seeded Cowichan Valley Capitals. Powell River finished with 76 points and a 37-19-1-1 record, led by Jonny Evans and goaltender Brian Wilson. Powell River scored the most goals in the division with 237 goals in 58 games. Cowichan Valley (25-28-3-2, 55 points) is led by Max Newton who scored 25 goals in his first season with the Capitals after two seasons in Trail.

In the Interior Division, the top two seeds, the Penticton Vees (41-13-3-1, 86 points) and Vernon Vipers (30-19-5,4, 69 points), receive first round byes, while NHL draft eligible power forward Kale Howarth takes the third-seeded Trail Smoke Eaters (26-26-5-1, 58 points) against overage Captain Carson Bolduc and the Salmon Arm Silverbacks (24-28-3-3, 54). The defending Fred Page Champion West Kelowna Warriors (27-29-2-0, 56 points) are set to defend their title, wrapping up in the fourth seed position, and will meet the fifth-seeded Merritt Centennials (23-25-8-2, 56 points). 

The Mainland division playoff matchups feature Division and League champions Wenatchee meeting fourth seed Prince George Spruce Kings (25-27-4-2, 56 points), who boast high scoring overage forward Brett Mennear. The second seed, Chilliwack Chiefs (41-11-6-0, 88 points) and standout scoring threats Jordan Kawaguchi and Kohen Olischefski will take on Ryan Barrow and the third-seeded Langley Rivermen (30-20-6-2, 68 points).

Here are the finalists for the 2016-17 BCHL awards:

MVP (Vern Dye Memorial Trophy)
Island: Matthew Galajda (G) - Victoria Grizzlies
Mainland: Brendan Harris (F) - Wenatchee Wild
Interior: Mat Robson (G) - Penticton Vees

Rookie of the Year (Bruce Allison Memorial Trophy)
Island: Cam Donaldson (F) - Powell River Kings
Mainland: Brendan Budy (F) - Langley Rivermen
Interior: Zach Risteau (F) - Merritt Centennials

Top Defenceman Trophy
Island: Jake Stevens - Victoria Grizzlies
Mainland: Tyler Anderson - Prince George Spruce Kings
Interior: Michael Ufberg - Vernon Vipers 

Most Sportsmanlike Player (Bob Fenton Trophy)
Island: Cam Donaldson (F) - Powell River Kings
Mainland: Brendan Harris (F) - Wenatchee Wild
Interior: Grant Cruikshank (F) - Penticton Vees

Coach of the Year (Joe Tennant Memorial Trophy)
Island: Craig Didmon - Victoria Grizzlies
Mainland: Bliss Littler - Wenatchee Wild
Interior: Fred Harbinson - Penticton Vees 

Vernon Vipers goaltender Darion Hanson won the Goaltending Award with lowest goals-against average at 1.84. The Wally Forslund Award for best goalie tandem went to Penticton Vees netminders Mat Robson and Nolan Hildebrand with a combined GAA of 2.14.

*Updated on March 3, 2017. A previous version of this story incorrectly identified Vernon Viper goalies Darion Hanson and Ty Taylor as the Wally Forslund award winners.


 

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By Marshall Mackinder| February 28, 2017
Categories:  Junior

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