The Vernon Vipers will need the offence provided by the likes of Dawson Holt, Cameron MacDonald and Connor Marritt against Wenatchee in their B.C. Hockey League Interior Conference semifinal with the division-winning Penticton Vees starting Friday at the South Okanagan Events Centre.
Holt has been named the Subway Player of the Week (POW). The 21-year-old forward from Saskatoon had two goals and seven assists for nine points in the final three games – all wins – in their opening-round playoff series against the Wild.
Marritt also had nine points (2+7) in those three games while MacDonald contributed 3+5. Both earned honourable mention status in the hunt for the POW.
Each of those Vernon players combined for as many goals against the Wild in three games as the Vipers scored in seven regular-season meetings with the Vees – seven.
Penticton won the season series 5-2, including the final four matchups in which they held the Vipers to one goal in each of those contests. The Vees outscored Vernon 18-7 in the seven meetings. Each team won once in overtime.
The Vees have won the last two playoff series between the longtime rivals, beating Vernon in five games in 2016 and taking Game 7, 3-1 at home, in 2017.
Games 1 and 2 will go Friday and Saturday in Penticton before the series shifts to Kal Tire Place for Game 3 Monday, March 16 ( 7 p.m.) and Game 4 Wednesday, March 18 (7 p.m.). If needed, Game 5 would be Friday, March 20, in Penticton; Game 6 would be back in Vernon Saturday, March 21; and Game 7 would go Monday, March 23, in Penticton.
The winner of the series will face the winner of the series between the Salmon Arm Silverbacks and Trail Smoke Eaters, which starts Friday in Trail.
The other two divisional finals start Friday with the Surrey Eagles visiting the Coquitlam Express in Game 1 of the Mainland Division championship, and the Cowichan Valley Capitals visit the Nanaimo Clippers for the opener of the Island Division final.
The league came down hard on Caps’ forward Cole Broadhust, suspending him 12 games for a warm-up incident before Game 5 of Cowichan’s first-round series with the Powell River Kings. Broadhurst, who missed the first three games of the series due to a suspension, shot a puck at a Kings goalie stretching at centre-ice in the pre-game skate. Caps coach Mike Vandekamp was also suspended two games and fined an undisclosed amount by the league “under regulation 311.6 – any incident or issue that may bring the league into disrepute.”
—-with a file from the Cowichan Valley Citizen