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WILD vs VERNON VIPERS – PLAYOFF SERIES PREVIEW

The Wenatchee Wild will face the Vernon Vipers in the third round of the BCHL’s Fred Page Cup Playoffs. The Wenatchee Wild (#3) are the highest remaining seed in the Interior Conference. The Vipers entered the postseason as the #4 seed in the conference.

The Wild and Vipers have played 18 regular season games against each other and have met once in the playoffs. In the regular season, the Wild are 11-5-2 against the Vipers, and Wenatchee eliminated Vernon in six games in the second round of the playoffs last season. The Wild went 3-2-1 against Vernon this season.

OFFENSE: In the regular season, Wenatchee ranked 7th in the BCHL with 202 goals and a +32. Vernon ranked 14th with 166 goals and were minus -6.  Matt Gosiewski (28g, 23a reg. season) led the Wild in the regular season and in the playoffs it’s been captain Lucas Sowder (9g, 11a) leading the entire BCHL. Murphy Stratton (13g, 33a reg. season) has been consistent in the postseason (5g, 11a), delivering a league-best 4 power play goals in the playoffs. Fifth year forward and Vernon captain Jagger Williamson (4g, 10a) leads his team in points, followed by Jesse Lansdell (4g, 7a), Matt Kowalski (5g, 4a) and Michael Young (3g, 6a).

DEFENSE: In terms of generating points from the blue line in the playoffs, the Wild have 8 goals and 16 assists credited to defensemen, and the Vipers have 8 goals and 26 assists. Over the regular season, Chad Sasaki (14g, 28a) and Brandon Koch (8g, 30a) led the way while Jack Judson (7g, 26a) and Michael Young (9g, 13a) fortified the Vipers. The Wild allowed 170 goals (2.93/gm) during the season, compared to 160 (2.76/gm) for Vernon.

GOALTENDING: Veteran netminder Austin Park has a 7-2 postseason record, with a 2.71 GAA and .889 save percentage. Vipers goalie Aiden Porter is 8-4 in the playoffs, with a 2.46 GAA and .904 save percentage.

SPECIAL TEAMS: Wenatchee’s power play in the playoffs ranks 3rd (10/45, 22.2%) while Vernon ranks 5th (7/33, 21.2%). Wenatchee ranks 6th in penalty killing (5/31, 83.9%), and the Vipers rank 3rd (6/42, 85.7%). The Wild have scored two shorthanded goals in the playoffs, and the Vipers have scored one. Neither team has allowed a shorthanded goal against. In the six head-to-head matchups this season, Wenatchee and Vernon each went 3/20 on the power play.

HOME ICE ADVANTAGE: The Wild have enjoyed great playoff success in Town Toyota Center, with a record of 18-2 over the last two postseasons to date. Vernon is 4-3 at home this postseason, with two of the wins and one of the losses coming in overtime at Kal Tire Place. Wenatchee will host games 1 and 2, then 5 and 7 if necessary.

 

 

The third round series is also a best-of-seven, and will follow a 2-2-1-1-1 format, with Wenatchee holding home ice advantage as the higher seed. The schedule is as follows:

Game 1 – Sat March 30 – 7:05 pm at Wenatchee

Game 2 – Sun March 31 – 7:05 pm at Wenatchee

Game 3 – Tue April 2 – 7:00 pm at Vernon

Game 4 – Wed April 3 – 7:00 pm at Vernon

*Game 5 – Fri April 5 – 7:05 pm at Wenatchee

*Game 6 – Sun April 7 – 7:00 pm at Vernon

*Game 7 – Tue April 9 – 7:05 pm at Wenatchee

* – if necessary

The other side of the bracket is the Coastal Conference Final with the Mainland Division champion Prince George Spruce Kings hosting the Island Division champion Victoria Grizzlies in a best-of-seven series that opens Friday.

All seats for Wild playoff games are $10. Group discounts are available through the Wild office at 509-888-7825.

Wenatchee playoff games are available for video streaming on HockeyTV, and will be broadcast live both locally and via internet stream on “NewsRadio 560 KPQ”, with the Pregame Shows starting 15 minutes prior to faceoff.