Wednesday, February 22, 2012

They're Almost Here!

BCHL Playoff Preview!
With under 10 games remaining for each BCHL squad, here's a look at the teams still in the hunt for a playoff spot!







Coastal

The Kings look poised to make a run to their 4th consecutive Fred Page Cup final. 20 year old Cohen Adair has been a monster scoring 52 goals in under 100 BCHL regular season games, and 17 year old Evan Richardson continues to improve with 47 points in 41 games. Bringing on Teal Burns and J.P Villeneuve has solidifed the Kings with depth up front, while local boy Sean Maguire will continue to carry the load between the pipes. Check out the Kings blog, done by my buddy Alex Rawnsley!



Look out BCHL, the Eagles have won the Fred Page Cup in each of their 4 attempts(90,97,98,05) and they look ready to make a serious run to make it 5. With just 4 forwards with under 10 goals, the Eagles are a deep team that can light the lamp, but they can also rely on their netminder Andrew Hunt. He currently has the 3rd best Save % of starters in the league. A downfall the Eagles may need to improve upon is getting some offense from the point, as just 28 goals have been scored by Defencemen, and half of those have been scored by Steve Koshey. Check out the Eagles Nest Blog!



The Capitals have struggled in past seasons, but this season they have proved they are for real. Under Dale Purinton and Jim Ingram, the Capitals have surged with 2 ex-Salmon Arm Silverbacks leading the scoring, Devon Gannon and Brett Knowles, and both players bring first-class leadership to the program. With Matt Brown approaching 30 goals, Cowichan knows what it takes to be successful away from home, as only the Penticton Vees have a better road record. But with the 3rd least effective powerplay at home, the Capitals need to win on home ice, something they have struggled to do this season. Look for both netminders to pick their play up to an elite level here in the finals weekends of the regular season.



Wrapping up the 4 teams that will make the playoffs from the Coastal Conference with the Coquitlam Express. The Express have 7 games remaining and need just 4 wins to beat their franchise win total and to match their point total, that was set during the RBC Championship winning 2006 season. For a team that has a strong list of alumni, depth has continued to haunt the Express as just 7 players have broken the 25 point plateau. Alex Petan and Alex Kerfoot have been the teams go-to guys all season long and will play large roles in the post season, while Cole Huggins will continue to hold his team in games. Despite a 2.59 GAA, Huggins has a league leading .928 save percentage. Two ex-WHL veterans Connor Redmond and Zach Hodder provide experience that will assist them in the playoffs. Check out Coquitlam Expressions!



Interior

Do I need to even begin? Here, I'll give you a few reasons the Vees are number one in Canada: Connor Reilly, Wade Murphy, Joey Benik, Mario Lucia, Mike Reilly, Michael Garteig, Bryce Gervais, Travis St. Denis, Steven Fogarty AND Ryan Reilly. All those players are among the BCHL's best. That's a solid team. But, I am from Vernon; which means I grew up watching the Panthers/Vees, which in turn means I will be the last BCHL follower to jump the bandwagon. With 9 players sure to break the 30 goal mark, I look forward to watching their competition take the body every chance they get. That will be the only way to beat the Vees. Check out Fraser Rodger's Vees Blog!




I wish I could say this is the most exciting story in the Interior this season, but look at the 3 teams below and look at the team above and there is NO shortage of excitement this season. Merritt has won more then 30 games just once since 2001(back in 2006) which hurt the community support over the years, but this year the Cents are playing 'for real'. It all starts with Lino Chimienti and Tyler Steel in net, both goaltenders have helped the team solidify a playoff spot with wonderful seasons. Evan Stack and Chad Brears are the only players with more then 20 goals, but the Centennials have used every player in an important role this season, something that is very important if you want to have a long playoff run. Luke Pierce has built a hard to play against team that will give whoever they play in round one quite a bit of trouble. Check out Red, Black and White Blog!



I had the privilege of calling a couple Spruce King games back in November, and I must say; this team is good. If Penticton has a direct threat, the PGSK are it. They can play tough, they can play fast, and they can embarrass you. With rising star Paul De Jersey and youngstar Jujhar Khaira leading the rush, and Ben Woodley and Chase Golightly manning the point, this team will move the puck so quickly you'll be comparing their style to the Vancouver Canucks. Mix in Michael Colantone and the Fitzgerald triplets, and all the sudden this offense is among the leagues best. In net, Kirk Thompson is capable of stealing games by himself, and newly added Ty Swabb can do the same. Much like Merritt, last summer the Kings future was in limbo, but a strong 2011/2012 season has helped the Kings solidify their place in the BCHL's elite. Check out the Spruce Kings Crusader!



I haven't heard much about the reincarnation of the Chiefs, but I do know they are lead by some dangerous players, including the son of NHL-great Peter Bondra(David). Malcom Gould and Derek Huisman were brought over in the move from Quesnel and have excelled in their new home. Adding Kody Dhaliwal from Salmon Arm gave Chilliwack some more offensive depth, and most of them will be back next year. The Chiefs have struggled defensively and in net, and both of those positions will be very important if they hope to hold Vernon out of the post season. Ex-Viper Bryton Udy and Mitch Gillam both have GAA's of over 3 and Save Percentages just over 90.



The Vipers have won 3 consecutive BCHL titles and are temporarily on the outside looking in as they still have the prospective of missing the post season for the first time since 2001. Now led by Ex-Viper Jason Williamson, the Vipers have picked up their play as of late. Speaking of Williamson, the last time Vernon missed the playoffs, Jason was the Captain and top scorer. The Snakes are led by Mike Zalewski and Adam Tambellini, who are among the leagues top players. In goal, Kirby Halcrow is beginning to play the way the fans have expected him to, which will hugely help the Vipers if they hope to go deep. This team is very talented, and I expect them to make a very strong push for the post season thanks to veteren newcomers Colton Cyr, Ben Gamache and Sean Robertson. Check out vipersdiehardfan's Blog!





I would also like to congratulate Andrew Gladiuk of the Nanaimo Clippers for committing to the Bentley University Falcons for the 2012/2013 season!

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