Friday, March 29, 2019

Wenatchee Wild-Vernon Vipers Series Preview:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

BCHL Final Four is set

March 26, 2019

Wenatchee Wild vs. Vernon Vipers

Top storylines:

These teams played in the second round of last year’s playoffs where the Vipers won the first two games, but Wenatchee stormed back to win four straight, including the final two games in overtime to advance.

Wenatchee is the defending league champions and are looking to be the first team to repeat since Vernon won three in a row from 2009 to 2011.

Vernon is the lowest-remaining seed in the playoffs and have the lowest goal differential of all four remaining teams (+4).

Victoria’s Ben Sanderson and Wenatchee’s Chad Sasaki are set to be college teammates next year at Colorado College.

Marquee matchup:

The biggest matchup in this series is between two veteran leaders on their respective teams – Wenatchee Wild captain Lucas Sowder and the BCHL’s active regular-season games leader Jagger Williamson. Sowder has been all-world for the Wild in the playoffs. He leads the postseason with 20 points in 13 games and has at least a point in 12 of his team’s 13 playoff games, including 11 straight. Williamson, who’s played all of his 233 regular-season games in Vernon, is leading his team with 14 points in 12 games. Both players bring a wealth of experience to this series, Sowder having won a championship last season and Williamson with his 38 points in 47 playoff games over the past five years.

By the numbers:

Vernon has 13 players committed to NCAA Division I programs, while Wenatchee has 12.

The Vernon franchise has 12 Fred Page Cup titles to their name, starting with their first in 1970 when they were the Vernon Essos and most recently winning their third-straight trophy in 2011. Wenatchee won it’s first and only title last year in their third season in the BCHL.

The Wild have nine players returning from last year’s championship team.

Vipers forward Lane Zablocki is the lone NHL draft pick in this series as he was taken in the third round by the Detroit Red Wings in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft.

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