Thursday, February 27, 2020

Vernon Vipers/Wenatchee Wild Playoff Preview:

This is posted on the BCHL website:

Interior Division Playoff Preview

February 26, 2020 

Next up in our divisional playoff previews is the Interior Division. This year is unique as we have two crossover teams in the Prince George Spruce Kings and the Victoria Grizzlies, while the Penticton Vees and Trail Smoke Eaters will look to build on stellar regular seasons and go on a long postseason run.

#4 Wenatchee Wild vs. #5 Vernon Vipers

Head to head:

Vernon won the season series 4-2 with one of their wins coming in a shootout.

Of note:


The Wild boast one of the most balanced attacks in the BCHL this year with Nick Cafarelli, Brett Chorske,  Matt Dorsey, Brian Adams and Tyler Young all within three points of each other for the team lead. Wenatchee’s offence got a huge boost when they added Sam Morton who started the season playing his sophomore year at Union College. The 20-year-old last played for the Wild in 2017-18 during their championship season and produced 31 points in 26 games after his return, posting 1.19 points-per-game, the sixth best mark in the league.

First-year BCHLer Drew Bavaro led the way on the back end for the Wild this year, putting up 33 points in 51 games to lead all Wenatchee defencemen. Trevor Griebel and Tanner Main also had productive years, while midseason addition Noah Lugli proved to be a great fit on the team’s blueline.

In the crease, Daniel Chenard has been the undoubted starter since day one. The BCHL veteran finished with a record of 21-16-3 and two shutouts in his first season in Wenatchee after coming over form the Chilliwack Chiefs in the offseason.


Vipers forward Matt Kowalski was the standout performer for the team this year, finishing tied for seventh in league scoring with 61 points in 58 games. His 26 goals were also tied for seventh in the BCHL. Team captain Connor Marritt also had a productive season, tying for second on the team with 47 points, while midseason pickup Dawson Holt also finished with 47 and led the team in points-per-game with a mark of 1.15 per contest after coming over from the Regina Pats of the WHL.

A veteran of 184 regular-season games, Vipers defenceman Landon Fuller had by far his best season offensively, more than tripling his career goal total and nearly doubling his career points total. 2020 NHL Draft prospect Trey Taylor was also a standout for Vernon along with 20-year-old Jackson Caller.

The Vipers went through a few goalies during the 2019-20 season, but ended up sticking with 2000-born Reilly Herbst, which proved to be the best decision. Herbst finished the year with a record of 20-10-2 with a .901 save percentage, a 2.91 goals-against average and one shutout.

Final word:

This one is as close as it gets on paper. The teams finished one point apart in the standings, giving the Wild home-ice advantage. That could be the key to the series as Wenatchee has been a tough place for opponents to play since they came into the league. Another key factor will be how the team’s top-end talent produces. If Morton, Dorsey and company get hot for the Wild, then Vernon could be in trouble. Same can be said for Wenatchee  if Kowalski, Holt and their other offensive players get going.

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