Friday, March 6, 2009

Second Round Predictions

I don't really have time to do the audio previews I did for the last round. My apologies, but there's lots of "real life" work to catch up on at the radio station now that my hockey life away from work is over for another year. However, I did go 3 for 3 in my first round predictions so I didn't want to risk missing out on a 100% record throughout the playoffs!


The first place Vernon Vipers come off their first round bye to take on the defending champion Penticton Vees. Last year the roles were reversed with fourth place Vernon taking Penticton to seven games before the Vees advanced and went on to win the Fred Page Cup. Now Vernon is the deep, veteran team while Penticton has a bunch of first year skill players finding their playoff feet. With the roles reversed this season will we see the opposite result? For more on this series check out both the vipersdiehardfan blog and Pinder's Vees Blog.

Now let's check out the season series:

Oct 5: Penticton 2 at Vernon 6
Nov 22: Vernon 4 at Penticton 3 (OT)
Nov 29: Vernon 3 at Penticton 1
Dec 5: Penticton 4 at Vernon 5
Jan 10: Vernon 1 at Penticton 5
Jan 24: Penticton 2 at Vernon 4
Feb 17: Penticton 1 at Vernon 2 (OT)
Feb 21: Vernon 3 at Penticton 5

PREDICTION: Vernon only lost twice against Penticton, but two of their six wins were in extra time. The other note is that Penticton has one of the best home records in the league and have won their past two games against Vernon at the South Okanagan Events Centre. If the Vees get a split the Vipers could be in trouble. That being said, Penticton is less experienced, not as deep, not as tough, missing their MVP (Manderson) and coming off a five game war with Prince George. I think the very skilled Vees put up a fight, but this series goes to Vernon in 6. I don't know if anyone can beat Vernon.

The second place Salmon Arm Silverbacks take on the third place Westside Warriors. Salmon Arm had a bye while the Warriors swept Trail. However, Westside had to go to Overtime twice against the Smokies and seem to be dealing with some injury troubles. Sniper Jordan Gagne missed two of the games while the Interior's best defenseman Justin Schultz went down in game 3 and didn't return. Will they be ready? The Warriors were hot down the stretch while Salmon Arm kind of sputtered.

Now let's check out the season series:

Sept 24: Westside 7 at Salmon Arm 2
Nov 11: Westside 3 at Salmon Arm 6
Jan 3: Salmon Arm 3 at Westside 2
Jan 4: Westside 3 at Salmon Arm 6
Jan 9: Salmon Arm 2 at Westside 5
Jan 24: Salmon Arm 2 at Westside 3
Feb 11: Westside 3 at Salmon Arm 4
Feb 21: Salmon Arm 2 at Westside 4

PREDICTION: This series is without question the toughest call. The season series is straight up tied at 4 games each. The Warriors were on a roll at the end of the year while Salmon Arm was inconsistent, but it looks like Westside is a little more banged up. Salmon Arm has more high end skill while Westside has more depth. The Warriors have three killer offensive lines right now while Salmon Arm gets most of their scoring from the first and second lines. The first especially is just deadly. Both teams have very good playoff experienced goaltending. Both teams have very good playoff experienced coaches. Both have tough and smart veteran defensive cores. Flip a coin? My gut tells me Westside is a better playoff team and this pick could be a mistake (never question your gut!), but if Gagne and Schultz aren't 100% I'm going with home ice advantage. Salmon Arm in 7.


The first place Powell River Kings take on the third place Surreay Eagles in what should be an interesting mainland series. The Kings are an offensive force, but Surrey is riding great momentum after the first round. The Eagles also have the most unique ice surface in the league so that provides a hightened home ice advantage for games 3, 4 and 6. These two teams are obviously very familiar with one another after playing 247 times this season.

Now let's check out the season series:

Sept 12: Powell River 3 at Surrey 5
Oct 10: Surrey 2 at Powell River 5
Oct 11: Surrey 3 at Powell River 4
Oct 18: Powell River 3 at Surrey 2
Nov 1: Powell River 5 at Surrey 8
Nov 7: Powell River 3 at Surrey 2
Nov 28: Surrey 2 at Powell River 5
Nov 29: Surrey 4 at Powell River 3 (OT)
Dec 29: Powell River 3 at Surrey 4 (OT)
Jan 25: Powell River 4 at Surrey 1
Feb 20: Surrey 1 at Powell River 6
Feb 21: Surrey 3 at Powell River 7

PREDICTON: Surrey only beat Powell River four times in twelve games this season. Two of those wins took overtime. That means the Kings picked up 18 of a possible 24 points for them in the series. That's fairly one sided. Surrey does have a win on the road in the series, but their last two games against the Kings were both blowouts and don't bode well for getting a split this weekend. If they can't I have a hard time seeing them advancing. Tartaglione is a money goaltender and a potential game stealer, but the Kings pounded the tar out of him the last two times they faced off. The Eagles are very good on their olympic sized home ice, but the Kings did win three out of six games there this season. Surrey doesn't seem to have close to the scoring depth that Powell River does either. I was big on the Eagles in the first round, but everything points to Powell River in 5 here.


The first place Victoria Grizzlies take on their hated rivals, the second place Cowichan Valley Capitals. The Grizz have a spot ready for them at the RBC in Victoria this spring and there's nothing the team from Duncan would like better than to get a ticket to that party as well. Those teams on the island all seem to have a healthy hate for one another and this should be a really good, high energy series. The last time a BCHL team hosted the RBC (Prince George) they went out early in the playoffs and had a long break before the tournament. Victoria desperately wants to avoid a similar situation.

Now let's check out the season series:

Sept 23: Cowichan 2 at Victoria 4
Oct 3: Cowichan 3 at Victoria 8
Nov 4: Cowichan 3 at Victoria 6
Nov 7: Victoria 2 at Cowichan 3 (OT)
Nov 8: Cowichan 2 at Victoria 5
Dec 27: Cowichan 4 at Victoria 3
Jan 10: Victoria 2 at Cowichan 3
Jan 16: Victoria 2 at Cowichan 3
Jan 23: Victoria 2 at Cowichan 4
Jan 30: Victoria 4 at Cowichan 1
Feb 14: Cowichan 4 at Victoria 5 (OT)
Feb 21: Victoria 5 at Cowichan 4

PREDICTON: Victoria dominated the season series in the early going, but at one point Cowichan won four straight games against the Grizzlies. Since that time Victoria has three consecutive wins against the Caps. Victoria holds the edge here, but it was a very tight series. I think that is about where we are heading into the playoffs. Victoria has a slight skill edge heading into this series. They also have home ice advantage. Were is Cowichan's edge? The Caps have momentum after knocking off Nanaimo in three games. They also have the goaltending edge with the Coastal MVP Chris Rawlings in goal. I think the Caps have an edge in toughness too. The additions of Pajimola and Perdicaro were big moves in terms of getting playoff ready guys with an edge into their line-up. However, Cowcihan only won once in Victoria this season. I think they'll have to win there at least twice to take the playoff series. This is another very tough series to call. I think perhaps given Victoria's guaranteed RBC spot the Caps may just want this one a little bit more. I also want to call at least one upset here. Capitals in 7.

As usual take all my predictions with a grain of salt. Especially those for the teams from the coast. I only saw them each once this season. I am 100% so far these playoffs though. Lets see if that trend keeps up. Only a few minutes away from puck drop now. Wish the Smokies were still in it. Oh well, next year!

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