Alberni and Nanaimo will carry the torch on Vancouver Island as the BC Hockey League advances to the quarterfinals.
The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are in the next round of the BCHL playoffs after sweeping the Victoria Grizzlies in four games.
After the Bulldogs won Game 3 by a score of 6-2 on Tuesday, April 4, the Grizzlies will look to avoid elimination at home on Wednesday. However, the visiting Bulldogs quickly took a 2-0 lead in the first quarter with goals from Matthew Maltese and AJ Vasco.
Bulldogs forward Dakota McIntosh led 3-0 at the start of the inning, and the Grizzlies responded with two goals of their own to cut the lead to one. But Bulldogs defenseman Emanuelson Charbonneau made it 4-2 before the end of the game.
Victoria was strong in the third quarter, scoring just 19 seconds into the opening, but Bulldogs Will Elger and MacIntosh sealed the game with two late markers to win the game and the series.
The Bulldogs are the first Coastal Conference team to advance to the second round. This is the second straight year the Bulldogs have advanced to the second round of the playoffs. Last season, they swept the Cowichan Valley Capitals in four games before being eliminated by the Langley Riverers.
Meanwhile, the Nanaimo Clippers defeated this year’s Rivers 1-0 in Game 6 of their best-of-seven series at Langley on Saturday, April 8.
Grant Babcock scored the game-winning goal in the third quarter, and Shane Shelest blocked all 29 shots he faced.
After trailing two-to-one in the series, Nanaimo eliminated Langley with three straight wins.
In Game 5 on Thursday, April 6, the Clippers won 5-2. Kay Daniels had two goals and two assists in that game, Jack Hewitt had one goal and three assists, and Brody Waters had one goal and two assists. Michael Craig also scored and Celeste had 19 shots.
The Coastal Conference semifinal will see No. 1 Nanaimo host No. 5 Chilliwack Chiefs as the league’s second-round playoffs are set to begin on Friday, April 14. The second race, also in Nanaimo, takes place on Saturday.
The second-seeded Surrey Eagles take on the third-placed Bulldogs after Surrey beat the Powell River Kings in five games. Sarri will have home advantage, so games 1 and 2 will be played in Surrey on 14-15 April.
Inland, the Vernon Vipers take on the fourth-ranked Salmon Arm Silverbacks in a game courtesy of seventh-seeded Wenatchee Wild, who beat the second-ranked Cranbrook Bucks 4-2 on Sunday to finish An upset first-round win in Washington State.
The Wild won the series 4-2 and faced the regular season champion Penticton Vees in the second round.
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BCHL Nanaimo Clippers