The Nanaimo Clippers, first-round winners, have earned the right to play for a banner.
The Clips and the Powell River Kings will face off in a best-of-seven series to determine an Island Division champion.
Nanaimo advanced on the strength of a Game 7 win versus the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Wednesday night at Frank Crane, while the Kings took 6 games to defeat the Victoria Grizzlies.
The Clips get home-ice advantage against the Kings and the series starts Friday (March 13).
“It’s going to be a tough series,” predicted Brendan Taylor, Clippers captain. “They’re a good team, we give them a lot of credit, but we’re going to give it our all and hopefully come out on top.”
Nanaimo won five out of eight games in the season series, including three out of four at Frank Crane Arena.
In the playoffs, the Clippers have been led by Jake Jackson, whose seven goals lead all BCHL scorers. The Kings have two players in the top 10 in scoring as Jacob Pritchard and Jarid Lukosevicius each tallied eight points in the first round.
“I know they love to crash the net too and they have a good power play, they have good players and they’re a good-coached team,” said Guillaume Decelles, Clippers goalie. “It’s just about stopping the pucks and staying calm. Things are going to go our way through the series.”
Any divisional opponent is pretty familiar by this stage of hockey season, and Clippers coach Mike Vandekamp said it won’t take long for the Island final to become fiery and intense.
“We know how they play – they’re a hard-working, hard-to-play against hockey club and we have to not only match that, but better it,” he said.
GAME ON … The Clips and Kings face off in Game 1 on Friday at 7 p.m. at Frank Crane Arena and Game 2 is Saturday, also a 7 p.m. start at Frank Crane. The Kings host Game 3 on Monday and Game 4 on Tuesday at Hap Parker Arena. Game 5, if necessary, will be back at Frank Crane on March 19.