Players residing within the Interior Division of the BC Hockey League took nearly half the spots on the league's first and second all-star teams and all rookie team announced Thursday.
The Interior Division took eight of the 18 spots while players from the Coastal Division took six spots and the Island Division the other four.
The Interior Division regular season champion Penticton Vees led the way with four selections.
- Brad McClure - first team forward
- Brett Beauvais - first team defenceman
- Hunter Miska - second team goaltender
- Alexandre Coulombe - all-rookie defenceman
Two members of the West Kelowna Warriors were selected, forward David Pope on the second all-star team and Liam Blackburn, named to the all rookie team.
Salmon Arm forward Landon Smith was named to the first all-star team while Merritt goaltender Devon Kero was named to the rookie team.
The Vernon Vipers were shut out.
The entire all star list includes:
- F – Landon Smith, Salmon Arm SilverBacks
- F – Brad McClure, Penticton Vees
- F – Myles Fitzgerald, Victoria Grizzlies
- D – Marc Biega, Coquitlam Express
- D – Brett Beauvais, Penticton Vees
- G – Jayson Argue, Nanaimo Clippers
- F – Gerry Fitzgerald, Victoria Grizzlies
- F – David Pope, West Kelowna Warriors
- F – Adam Rockwood, Coquitlam Express
- D – Carter Cochrane, Chilliwack Chiefs
- D – Christian Weidauer, Prince George Spruce Kings
- G – Hunter Miska, Penticton Vees
All Rookie Team
- F – Danton Heinen, Surrey Eagles
- F – Jarid Lukosevicius, Powell River Kings
- F – Liam Blackburn, West Kelowna Warriors
- D – Alexandre Coulombe, Penticton Vees
- D – Carter Cochrane, Chilliwack Chiefs
- G – Devin Kero, Merritt Centennials
It didn't take long for the bad blood to take center stage in the Interior Division semi-final series between the West Kelowna Warriors and Vernon Vipers.
The Vipers, who set a physical tone in a game one 5-1 loss Tuesday turned it up a notch Wednesday in a dominating 4-1 win evening the best of seven series 1-1.
In the process, the Warriors lost two more players to what appeared to be serious lower body injuries.
Top defenceman Adam Plant, who had five points in Tuesday's win went out after Colton Sparrow hit Plant with a clean check along the board.
Leading scorer Seb Lloyd left late in the third after taking a knee-on-knee hit from call-up Dallas Calvin.
"It was a gutless move by an affiliated player. You can quote me on that," stated Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster after the game.
To make matters worse, fans behind the Vipers bench allege a Vernon player hit a boy in the face with the butt end of his stick after the game.
Brett Mulcahy, who spent one season with the Warriors, led the Vipers with three goals including a shorthanded empty net marker to seal the outcome late in the third.
Brendan Persley also scored for the Vipers.
Matt Anholt scored the lone goal for the Warriors.
"I thought they (Vernon) played hard tonight. I thought they played good," says Ferster.
"They came out like a team that wanted it a little bit more tonight.. They battled hard and did what they had to do to get the win."
In game one it was the Warriors that were the better team on the forecheck, the more aggressive team on loose pucks.
Wednesday, it was the other way around.
"I think they got pucks in deeper tonight. I thought they just battled a little harder than us," says Ferster.
"I thought we got out competed in the second period."
The game turned on two plays.
In the opening period with the game scoreless, Carl Hesler put the Warriors on the board with an early power-play goal.
The goal was immediately waved off and Helser sent off for slashing.
Then in the second, with the Vipers clinging to a 1-0 lead, Warriors defenceman Ryan Fraser-Lee was handed a roughing penalty on a play in which he clearly knocked the Vipers forward off the puck shoulder to shoulder.
Mulcahy scored on the ensuing power-play.
Just 30 seconds later Persley blocked a shot inside his own blue line, grabbed the loose puck, streaked down the left wing and beat Andy Desautels to the short side.
The Vipers outshot West Kelowna 35-25. They also won the special teams battle going 1-4 with the man advantage while the Warriors were 0-5.
The series now shifts to Vernon for games three and four Friday and Saturday.
The Warriors could be without as many as six players for game three.
Along with Plant and Lloyd the Warriors also played without forwards Jordon Masters and Jason Cotton and defencemen Taki Pantziris and Ryan Ivey Wednesday.
In the other interior semi-final series the Penticton Vees took a 2-0 series lead with a 6-3 win over the Merritt Centennials.
Merritt held a 3-1 lead one one point in the game before the Vees rallied for five unanswered goals. That series shifts to Merritt for game three Friday.
Adam Plant scored twice and assisted on three others and the West Kelowna Warriors established a club record with five power-play goals in one playoff game Tuesday as they opened their Interior Division playoff series with a convincing 5-1 win over the Vernon Vipers.
The five points for Plant was also a club record for points in a playoff game - and admittedly likely the first time he picked up five points in any game.
"Hopefully they keep coming (goals) but that's not my game this year, that's not my role," admits Plant.
"I'm happy to contribute offensively but my job is to shut down the other team. If I can contribute offensively once in a while, that's great."
It's a far different role from a year ago when Plant was used in more of an offensive role.
Seb Lloyd also scored twice for the Warriors while Carl Hesler added the other.
The difference was the power-play which clicked on all five of its opportunities.
Plant says they didn't do much Tuesday.
"We just kind of got our looks tonight. Hopefully it can continue but we can't depend on getting five power-play goals every night."
Warriors coach Rylan Ferster agreed.
"Obviously we capitalized on the power-play and got a couple of lucky bounces, fortuitous bounces right to guys - at this time of year I always say you need good health, good luck and good goaltending and I think we got some good luck tonight," says Ferster.
Hesler opened the scoring in the first period when David Pope's shot caromed off the end boards to Hesler who banked the puck off Vernon goaltender Austin Smith and into the net.
Plant made it 2-0 16 minutes into the second on a wrist shot from the point that alluded Smith. Three minutes later Lloyd banged home the 3-0 goal one-timing a perfect backdoor feed from Matt Anholt.
Plant and Lloyd scored their respective second goals of the night late in the third to seal the victory.
TJ Dumonceaux ruined Andy Desautel's shutout bid early in the third period when he sent a rebound past the Warriors netminder.
Smith turned aside 39 shots while Desautels faced 28 in the Warriors net.
The Warriors, who played with just 19 healthy bodies Tuesday lost another player to injury when forward Jason Cotton left with a lower body injury.
Ferster didn't know the extent of the injury immediately following the game.
The Warriors played Tuesday without forward Jordon Masters and defencemen Ryan Ivy and Taki Pantziris.
The Vipers may be without the services of forward Tyler Povelofskie for game two. Povelofskie was assessed a five minute charging penalty and game misconduct with just 3.1 second left on the clock.
Game two in the best-of-seven series goes Wednesday night at Royal LePage Place and Ferster says game one means nothing if the team can't back up the effort Wednesday.
"They are going to be better tomorrow night too. That's a proud group over there and a very good group and they can play," says Ferster.
"We have to expect they are going to be better tomorrow night and they are going to be hungrier. We have to make sure we prepare ourselves as good as we can again."
The series will then shift to Vernon for games three and four Friday and Saturday.
Penticton crushed Merritt 8-0 Tuesday in the opening game of the other Interior Division semi-final.
Brad McClure suits the hero role quite well. The Penticton Vees Captain scored the overtime-winner, as the Vees held-off the Salmon Arm Silverbacks 3-2 Saturday, and clinched the Interior Division Regular Season pennant in the process.
McClure scored the game-winner, right off a face-off 1:23 into the first overtime period. Erik Benoit won the face-off back to McClure, who then moved to the slot before rifling a wrist-shot past Angus Redmond’s blocker; McClure’s 41st sending over three thousand fans into a frenzy.
Former Vee Evan Anderson forced the extra frame, when his centering pass from the corner deflected off Brett Beauvais’ leg and in, with just 36 seconds left in the third; Anderson’s 21st coming with the Salmon Arm goalie pulled in favour of the extra-attacker.
Salmon Arm opened the scoring just 76 seconds into the first period, when Alex Gillies capitalized on a Silverbacks power-play. Brett Fagerheim spotted Gillies at the bottom of the left-circle and his wrist-shot squeezed by Hunter Miska on the short-side.
Cam Amantea tied the game five-minutes later when he finished off an end-to-end rush. Amantea started from his own blue-line, before darting down the right-wing and sneaking a backhand between Redmond’s glove and the post at 6:46; his first goal in 16 games.
The Vees went ahead for the first time in the dying moments of the second period. On a five-on-three power-play, and with the clock winding down, Erik Benoit swatted in a rebound at the side of the Silverbacks net at 19:58. Brett Beauvais blasted a shot high and wide from the slot, but the puck caromed off the end boards and right out to Benoit on the far-side of the net; his 8th and second in three games.
Hunter Miska was terrific in the first period and was a major reason why the two teams were tied after twenty-minutes. Miska stopped 11 of 12 shots in the frame, including several quality chances in-close; his best stop was when he robbed Jeff Kennedy, when he came across to his right kicking-out his right leg.
The Vees finish the regular season with a 36-16-2-4 and capture their third consecutive Interior Division Regular Season pennant. The Vees finish with a 19-7-0-3 record at home and win their last three games against Salmon Arm, after dropping the first five games in the season series.
Brad McClure finishes fourth in BCHL scoring, amassing 41 goals and 80 points in 58 games. Hunter Miska and Olivier Mantha finish second and third in goals-against average amongst BCHL goalies.
The Vees now face the Merritt Centennials in the first round of the Interior Division playoffs. They last met in the spring of 2012, when the Vees knocked-out the Centennials in five games in the Interior Division final. Game one is set for Tuesday, March 4th at the SOEC; puck drop is slated for7 p.m..
The West Kelowna Warriors enter the BC Hockey League playoffs on a four game winning streak.
The Warriors concluded the 58-game regular season Saturday with an easy 8-3 win over the Interior Division cellar dwelling Trail Smoke Eaters.
Despite the win the Warriors finish second in the interior after the Penticton Vees edged Salmon Arm 3-2 in overtime Saturday. Both teams finished with 78 points, however, the Vees earn their third straight division title by virtue of more wins (36 to 35).
David Pope led the way offensively with two goals and an assist, giving him a team high 27 goals on the season.
Tyson Dallman, Liam Blackburn, Matt Anholt, Carl Hesler, Kyler Hope and Jason Cotton also scored for the Warriors. Seb Lloyd chipped in with three assists while Ben Tegtmeyer added a pair of helpers.
The Warriors put the game away with four unanswered goals in the first and scored four more in the second to build up a commanding 8-1 lead.
While he was happy with the 14 goals scored over the last two games Warriors head coach Rylan Ferster says the team has to tighten up defensively after surrendering seven to the Smoke Eaters.
"We scored some goals we certainly we are going to have to shore up in our own end a little bit," says Ferster.
"We gave up four last night and three tonight and I think if you're giving up any more than three in any playoff game you're probably not going to be winning too many. You can't be expecting to score five and six in the playoffs so the defensive side of the game will be a focus for us."
The first and only goal for the Warriors was to make the playoffs and Ferster says he's excited they are finally here.
"Real excited. It will be a long day here tomorrow preparing and getting ready. It will be a short turnaround too," says Ferster.
"We play on Tuesday. We're excited to get it going. Obviously we are going to play a great team but we knew we were going to be doing that whether we were playing Merritt or whether we were playing Vernon."
The Warriors and Vipers met seven times during the regular season with Vernon holding a 4-2 edge with one game ending in a tie.
The Vipers came away with one win in three meetings between the two teams at Royal LePage Place while the Warriors lost two in Vernon in regulation time and once in overtime.
Despite finishing second in goals scored over the course of the regular season in the BCHL the Warriors were outscored by the Vipers 25-20 in their head to head meetings.
Ferster doesn't expect injured defencemen Ryan Ivey and Taki Pantziris back for the start of the series with Vernon while forward Jordan Masters is possible.
The Vipers are a physical team and Ferster expects a physical series from his northern rival.
"We certainly know who we're playing. We're playing a team that is big and physical," says Ferster,.
"They are built for this, they are built for a championship and they're hosting a championship. I'm sure they will be chomping at the bit to get going on Tuesday night."
The opening two games of the opening round best of seven series will be played at Royal LePage Place Tuesday and Wednesday.
The series then shifts to Vernon for games three and four Friday and Saturday.
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