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WILD vs VERNON VIPERS – 2020 BCHL PLAYOFF PREVIEW

For the Wenatchee Wild, the 2020 Interior Conference Quarterfinal Round opens Saturday, Feb. 29 on home ice at Town Toyota Center as the #4 seed Wild meet the #5 seed Vernon Vipers in Game 1 of their best-of-seven series.

Game 1 – Sat Feb 29 – Vernon at Wenatchee – 7:05 pm
Game 2 – Sun Mar 1 – Vernon at Wenatchee – 7:05 pm
Game 3 –  Tue Mar 3 – Wenatchee at Vernon – 7:00 pm
Game 4 – Wed Mar 4 – Wenatchee at Vernon – 7:00 pm
*Game 5  – Fri Mar 6 – Vernon at Wenatchee – 7:05 pm
*Game 6 – Sun Mar 8 – Wenatchee at Vernon – 2:00 pm
*Game 7 – Tue Mar 10 – Vernon at Wenatchee – 7:05 pm
* – if necessary

REGULAR SEASON: The Wild finished with a record of 30-23-5 (65 pts), while Vernon finished a point behind at 30-24-4 (64 pts). The teams met six times, with the Wild sporting a 2-3-1 record (2-0-1 at home).

PLAYOFF HISTORY: In 2018, the Wild defeated Vernon in 6 games (the last two in overtime) to advance to the Interior Division Final before going on to win the Fred Page Cup. In 2019, Vernon eliminated Wenatchee in 5 games in the Division Final sending the Vipers to the Fred Page Cup Finals against the eventual champion Prince George Spruce Kings.

SPECIAL TEAMS:               WEN PP  –  20.6%     4th                                WEN PK   –  81.1%     10th
VER PP   –   16.4%    13th                               VER PK     –  85.3%      4th

In the six head to head games, Wenatchee went 5/22 (22.7%) on the power play with 1 shorthanded goal. Vernon went 5/21 (23.8%) on the power play also with one shorthanded goal.

KEY OFFENSE: Wenatchee has had a lot of firepower sitting in the stands due to injury this season. Despite missing over a quarter of the season, first year forward Nick Cafarelli still led the Wild in scoring (17g, 23a). Wild Captain Brian Adams also missed nearly a third of the season but finished tied for fourth in scoring (19g, 18a) while leading the team in goals scored. Brett Chorske (18g, 21a) was the team’s only Iron Man (playing in all 58 games) and finished tied for second in scoring with Matt Dorsey (12g, 27a). Both Cafarelli and Adams have missed the last ten games but are hopeful to return for the playoffs. Sam Morton joined the team in December and after 26 games leads the team in pts. per game. Vernon is led by Matt Kowalski (26g, 35a), a fifth-year BCHL veteran and Vernon native. Dawson Holt (23g, 23a) played in 41 games and has a lengthy WHL resume. Connor Marritt (16g, 31a) is the Vipers #2 scoring leader.

BLUELINE PRODUCTION: Wenatchee’s Drew Bavaro (9a, 24a) is a driving force on the power play, leading all Wild skaters with 22 of his 33 points coming in man-advantage situations. Trevor Griebel (5g, 16a) rates second among defensemen despite missing 17 games to injury. For the Vipers, it’s 4th year veteran Landon Fuller (10g, 13a) leading the way in terms of points, followed by Jackson Caller (5g, 13a) and Trey Taylor (6g, 11a).

GOALTENDING: For the Wild, veteran Daniel Chenard (21-16-3, 2.86 GAA, .891 sv pct) has been the workhorse, working two-thirds of the season despite being sidelined for an eight-game stretch in October. Noah Altman (9-7-1, 3.46 GAA, .877 sv pct) has been particularly strong of late, playing his best hockey of the year. Vernon has had a bit of a goaltending carousel with early season injuries. Reilly Herbst (20-10-3, 2.91 GAA, .901 sv pct) has become the #1 goalie for the Vipers, with late season acquisition Keegan Karki (3-2-1, 3.19 GAA, .880 sv pct) proving to be a capable backup.

In other Interior Conference series, #1 Penticton faces #8 West Kelowna, #2 Trail takes on #7 Prince George, and #3 Salmon Arm will meet #6 Victoria. Prince George and Victoria join the Interior playoffs as Wild Card crossovers.

In the Mainland, #1 Coquitlam hosts #4 Langley, and #2 Chilliwack takes on #3 Surrey. On the Island, #1 Nanaimo faces #4 Alberni Valley, while #2 Cowichan Valley welcomes #3 Powell River.

Wild playoff games will be broadcast and streamed online with NewsRadio 560 KPQ, with the Pregame Shows airing 15 minutes prior to faceoff. All games are video streamed live on HockeyTV.

Wild playoff tickets, group packages and Season Tickets are on sale now in the Wild office. Call 509-888-7825.