The BCHL playoffs start on Tuesday, March 3 with each of the Division Semifinals.The league has stated that the Division Semifinals will be completed no later than March 11. The Division Finals start March 13 and wrap up no later than March 22. The three-team double round robin in Round Three starts March 25 and is done no later than April 5. The BCHL Championship Fred Page Cup Finals are scheduled between April 10 and April 19.
The top four teams from each division make the post-season, meaning four of the BCHL's 16 teams don't get in. As of Thursday, Surrey, Cowichan, and Trail are eliminated while Penticton, Vernon, Chilliwack, Langley, Prince George, Coquitlam, Powell River, Alberni Valley, Victoria and Nanaimo have all locked up playoff spots. It looks like the battle for the final two spots in the Interior Division will come down to the final weekend of regular season action.
Victoria at Nanaimo
Chilliwack at Coquitlam
Vernon at Penticton
Langley at Prince George
Merritt at Salmon Arm
Alberni Valley at Powell River
If the regular season ended Thursday, these would be the Division Semifinal match-ups:
(1) Penticton vs. (4) Salmon Arm
(2) Vernon vs. (3) Merritt
Penticton - 89 points, two games remaining
Vernon - 76 points, one game remaining
Merritt - 64 points, two games remaining
Salmon Arm - 64 points, two games remaining
West Kelowna - 64 points, one game remaining
(1) Nanaimo vs. (4) Alberni Valley
(2) Victoria vs. (3) Powell River
Nanaimo - 77 points, two games remaining
Victoria - 65 points, two games remaining
Powell River - 62 points, two games remaining
Alberni Valley - 58 points, two games remaining
(1) Chilliwack vs. (4) Coquitlam
(2) Langley vs. (3) Prince George
Chilliwack - 74 points, two games remaining
Langley - 62 points, two games remaining
Prince George - 59 points, two games remaining
Coquitlam - 55 points, two games remaining
The father of a Merritt Centennials player could be in some legal hot water after allegedly uttering threats against the referees as they left the South Okanagan Events Centre last Saturday following Merritt's loss to the Penticton Vees. Joe Fries of the Penticton Herald has the story here.
With the BCHL regular season coming to an end soon, we're bound to see the number of players committing to university and college hockey increase. On Thursday, the Vernon Vipers announced that 19-year-old defenseman Luke Shiplo verbally committed to attend Quinnipiac University this September. Shiplo had previously committed to Western Michigan University as a 16-year-old back in 2011, but de-committed from the school last week. He has 44 points (five goals, 39 assists) in 50 games with the Vipers this season. The Vernon Morning Star has more here.
17-year-old Penticton Vees netminder Brendan Barry took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to announce his commitment to Clarkson University. Barry has three years of junior eligibility left and didn't indicate when he'll head to Clarkson, but my guess would be that he plays one more season in Penticton before leaving for school starting in September 2016. The Kelowna native has a 10-2-0 record with a 2.06 goals-against-average, a .912 save percentage and two shutouts this season.
Excited to announce my commitment to play Division 1 college hockey at Clarkson University #GoldenKnights
— Brendan Barry (@BBarry_1) February 27, 2015
Congrats @cowichancaps Defenceman Julien Lepage on committing to @yorkuniversity for this fall!
— Jeff Sargeant (@jeffthesarge) February 26, 2015
Goaltender Nic Renyard (Cowichan AP, Langley AP, Penticton, Victoria, 2010-14) was named Alberta Junior Hockey League MVP and Top Goaltender for 2014-15. Renyard, who was released by the Grizzlies in September and signed as a free agent with Okotoks shortly after. He finished the season with a 30-7-3 record, a 2.12 goals-against-average, a .925 save percentage and five shutouts. Sean Emmett of High River Online has Renyard's story here.
Netminder Andrew Hammond (Westside AP, Surrey, Vernon, 2006-09) posted his second straight NHL shutout for Ottawa as the Senators blanked LA 1-0 Thursday night. The White Rock product is 4-0 on the season with a sparkling 1.15 goals-against-average and a .962 save percentage. Hammond is 7-13-2 with a 3.51 goals-against-average and an .898 save percentage with the Sens AHL affiliate in Binghamton this season.
Forward Brett Lyon (Penticton AP, Westside, 2007-09) was traded in the ECHL to the Brampton Beast by the Allen Americans on Thursday. Lyon, a native of Grand Forks, BC, has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and a league-leading 256 penalty minutes in 47 games with the Americans this season.