Round One of Canada’s British Columbia Hockey League playoffs wrapped up Sunday with Victoria and Prince George picking up Game Seven wins. Today we’ll take a look back and what we said would happen and the reality of what took place on the ice.
#1 Prince George Spruce Kings vs. #4 Chilliwack Chiefs
THE PREDICTION: On paper this match up looks like it would be very easy to assume that the Spruce Kings have the advantage. That’s the thing about hockey; games are not played on paper. I still can’t figure out how such a talent rich team like Chilliwack could get their way to the playoffs as a #4 seed. The other issue I see is the fact that the Chiefs ticket to the Royal Bank Cup has already been punched as the home team. There’s a ton of hockey that could be played before now on then so maybe Chilliwack puts the pedal to the metal now that the playoffs are beginning.
MY PICK: Chilliwack
WHAT HAPPENED? Prince George wins in seven games
#2 Langley Rivermen vs. #3 Surrey Eagles
THE PREDICTION: The Rivermen and Eagles know each other about as well as twin brothers could. It’s going to be difficult for either team to pull a surprise on the other and that means it’s going to come down to what team wants it more.
MY PICK: Langley
WHAT HAPPENED? Surrey wins in six games
#1 Victoria Grizzlies vs. #4 Alberni Valley Bulldogs
THE PREDICTION: No team should ever go into a playoff series suffering from over confidence. This is certainly one match-up where Victoria has to stay focused and refuse to allow the Bulldogs to stay in it.
MY PICK: Victoria
WHAT HAPPENED? Victoria needed all seven games to win.
#2 Nanaimo Clippers vs. #3 Powell River Kings
THE PREDICTION: This is going to be one of the most exciting series to watch. Like Langley-Surrey, these teams know each other a little too well. That’s not only the players, but also goes for the staffs, parents, and supporters. When bitter rivals go at it in the playoffs, the intensity rises to even higher levels. I am literally tossing a coin for this one.
MY PICK: Nanaimo
WHAT HAPPENED? Powell River takes series in six games
#1 Penticton Vees vs. #8 Coquitlam Express
THE PREDICTION: This is a series that has to be played…and one I have to pick.
MY PICK: Penticton
WHAT HAPPENED? Penticton wins in four games.
#4 Trail Smoke Eaters vs. #5 West Kelowna Warriors
THE PREDICTION: Only ten points separated these two teams during the regular season, but the gulf between these two teams is much wider than that.
MY PICK: Trail
WHAT HAPPENED? Trail wins in four games
#2 Vernon Vipers vs. #7 Salmon Arm Silverbacks
THE PREDICTION: The Vipers are one of junior hockey’s best teams this year…at any level. I’m sorry, but Salmon Arm will need to surgically attach Plexiglas to the backsides of their netminders to get past Vernon in this series.
MY PICK: Vernon
WHAT HAPPENED? Vernon wins in four games
#3 Wenatchee Wild vs. #6 Merritt Centennials
THE PREDICTION: I know Wild Head Coach Bliss Littler well enough to feel that his team will not be overlooking Merritt. The Centennials will give it their all, but I’m afraid their chances are not realistic…yet.
MY PICK: Wenatchee
WHAT HAPPENED? Wenatchee wins in four games
I’ll take a 5-3 record for the first round. Let’s see if we can do a bit better in Round 2.
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