2022-2023 VIJHL Playoff Recap Week 2

By Blake Moon

The second week of the 2023 VIJHL playoffs came to an enthralling close as all four of the first
round matchups wrapped up in dramatic fashion! I’m certain most of you caught some of the
action live, but for those who missed portions of the exciting action, let’s go over what happened
in week two of the VIJHL postseason!

Oceanside Generals (N1) vs Port Alberni Bombers (N4)
The Bombers did what they could against the juggernaut from Parksville, however in the
end it was the Generals that earned the first ticket to the semi finals with their 4 games to none
sweep of the Bombers. When the dust settled the Generals had earned an impressive goal
differential of +14, scoring 20 goals for and only having 6 scored against them. The Generals
will be led into the second round by their leading scorers Carter Johnson and Brady Van Herk
who have both managed to rack up 8 points in four games thus far. The Bombers on the other
hand head into the off season after an impressive stand against the league’s most powerful
offense knowing that they put forward their best effort, with standout performances from Blake
Power, who lead the Bombers in scoring, as well as from rookie netminder Felix Plendl who
backstopped the Bombers in all four of their playoff outings this season.

Campbell River Storm (N2) vs Comox Valley Glacier Kings (N3)
If there was a must watch series in the first round of this year’s playoffs, it would
absolutely have to be this one. The Kings found themselves in a desperate situation after trailing
the Storm 3 games to none, however the Kings rallied together and strung three wins together
to get themselves back into the series and force a dramatic game 7. The Storm have historically
never lost a game 7 at home, and subsequently, only one team has ever come back from being
down 3 games to none and won the series in VIJHL history. With records to break, the Kings
looked to weather the Storm, but alas, it was not meant to be. The Kings and Storm fought to
the bitter end, with an overtime period being required to decide a winner, and it was Kye
Benoche who played hero in this one, potting the series winning goal for the Storm. The Glacier
Kings can certainly hold their heads up high as they mounted and almost executed one of the
biggest comebacks in VIJHL history. The comeback was led largely by their leading scorer Alex
Bend who amassed 9 points in 7 games and by rookie goaltender Steven Reganato who posted
a .924% save percentage in 4 games played. The Campbell River Storm will move on to face
the Oceanside Generals in what should be a hard fought matchup!

Victoria Cougars (S1) vs Kerry Park Islanders (S4)
The Cougars looked to pounce on the Islanders and send them packing early, but much
to the Islanders credit, they gave the leaders of the south division a serious run for their money.
While the series only lasted five games, the Islanders did force overtime twice in 5 games,
making this a much closer series than it may seem on the surface. The Cougars made it out of
the first round with a goal differential of +7, scoring 21 goals and having 14 scored against
them, running on a stellar performance from Ethan Roworth, who is leading not only the
Cougars in scoring, but also the entire VIJHL playoffs, with 11 points in 5 games. The Kerry
Park Islanders may have gotten sent home earlier then they had hoped, but they truly gave it
their all as they were only a single goal away from making this an entirely different series.
Goaltender Eric Young did everything he could to keep his team in this series and in the
playoffs, along with their leading scorer Carson Brown, who racked up 7 points in their 5 first
round games.

Saanich Predators (S2) vs Peninsula Panthers (S3)
This series began with the first three games ending with the same score of 3-2, with both
teams trading wins back and forth. But in the end it was the Predators that pulled away after
game three, as they went on to win games four, five and six taking the series and punching their
ticket to the semi finals. Helping the Predators claw back into their series and eventually break
through into the second round was leading scorer Thomas Jenkins who put up 8 points in 6
games, along with goalie Dylan Demelo, who put up a league leading save percentage of .943%
in the first round. The Panthers kept this series close as every game but the final two were
decided by only a single goal. This of course was due to the goaltending tandem of the Kelly
brothers, Mason and Brady, who combined put up a .910% save percentage across the six
games. The Predators will be moving on to face the Victoria Cougars in what will be a high
octane matchup to say the least!

The semi finals for this year’s VIJHL will kick off on Wednesday, March 15th as all four teams
continue their chase for the cup! Make sure to head on down to your local rink to catch all of the
riveting playoff action, and keep it locked on to VIJHL for all the latest news and updates on
your favourite team and players as we inch closer and closer to seeing which club will be
crowned the champions of the VIJHL!