It’s a re-match of the 2014 Island Division Semi-Final as the Kings and Clippers will meet in a best of 7 series to determine who will advance to the Round Robin portion of the BCHL Playoffs. The Kings advanced through a 6-game series win over the Victoria Grizzlies, while the Clippers survived an 0-3 game fightback from the Bulldogs to win game 7 on Wednesday night.
Nanaimo dominated the start and the end of the series, winning both the first 3 and the last 2 games between the clubs both in Powell River and at home. The Kings won a string of 3-straight, including the only shutout from Powell River this season.
September 26 | 8-4 Clippers | in Nanaimo
October 15 | 4-3 Clippers (2-OT) | in Nanaimo
October 19 | 4-1 Clippers | in Powell River
October 31 | 3-1 Kings | in Powell River
November 1 | 3-0 Kings | in Powell River
January 28 | 4-3 Kings (2-OT) | in Nanaimo
February 9 | 5-2 Clippers | in Powell River
February 20 | 6-1 Clippers | in Nanaimo
The Clippers, with a bulk of the scoring in the series, were able to spread out their offence in the 8 games played against the Kings. However one player led the way and that’s Sheldon Rempel. 9-2-11 against the Kings this season, with those two assists coming in the final game of the season series. Others on the roster made up a deep supporting cast including Devin Brosseau (1-10-11), Jake Jackson (3-4-7), Brendan Taylor (1-5-6), Brett Roulston (3-3-6) and Cole Maier (2-4-6).
For the Kings, Jacob Pritchard was the go-to man against the Clippers this year with 4 of his 39 goals coming against Nanaimo. He went 4-5-9 to lead Powell River. Other notables include Kurt Keats (3-3-6), Jarid Lukosevicius (1-3-4), Stephen Hiff (2-2-4) and Carmine Buono (0-3-3).
For both the Clippers and the Kings, there is again a clear number 1 and unlike Powell River’s previous series, both Brett Magnus and his opponent this series in Guillaume Decelles, went the distance in all 8 games. Decelles and Magnus wound up 2nd and 3rd respectively in minutes played this season (behind Salmon Arm’s Angus Redmond) and were 1st and 2nd respectively in both saves and shots against.
Powell River Kings
Brett Magnus: 3-5-0, 3.52 GAA, .901sv% (24-21-1, 3.23 GAA, .907sv%)
Guillaume Decelles: 5-3-0, 2.31 GAA, .934sv% (34-13-0, 2.57 GAA, .926sv%)
As noted above, both goaltenders played a lot this season. For Magnus, 3rd in minutes, 2nd in shots against and saves. While his numbers aren’t statistically better than Decelles, he faced a lot of pucks and some blowout results for the Kings early in the season really hurt his cause.
Guillaume Decelles has been the guy in Nanaimo start to finish this year, and has had a few backups behind him. Whether Jakob Severson or the currently listed Jonathan Arsenault, Decelles has been able to keep them out of the crease due to his stellar play. Like Magnus, Decelles missed just two starts down the stretch, both in February.
We’ve already profiled the Kings overhauled blue line, as one that lacked experience but has grown in leaps and bounds through this season. Through round 1 of the playoffs, the Kings blue line scored some big goals. Jeremy LeClerc, Ross Hnidy and of course Colton Sandberg all scored, and at key times as well with Hnidy’s goal coming in game 1 to make the game 2-0 with Victoria pressing. That’s the good news, the D-core is scoring…the bad news is that there’s not many of them left. Ross Hnidy missed a game against Victoria and Tony DeVito and Nick Nonis are both on the shelf. There are replacements coming in, as Andy Stevens played the middle 3 games of the series, Derian Hamilton and Ryan Pouliot also suited up and the Kings get Rylan Ball from Westshore as the Wolves were eliminated from the VIJHL playoffs by the Victoria Cougars.
Nanaimo suffered a bit of a scare down the stretch with Yanni Kaldis going down to injury late in the season. He was reportedly questionable for the start of the series and wound up only playing 3 games. The health of Kaldis is crucial for the Clippers long term, as certainly against the Kings he’s been the guy to go up opposing teams’ top lines. He can score as well, as Kaldis led all defencemen in scoring for Nanaimo with 9 goals and 38 assists. Other notables include veterans Nicholas Gushue and Edwin Hookenson. The “wildcard” is Ryan Coghlan who was added to the club midway through. He’s a Ross Hnidy-like build, listed at 6’0, 215. He’s experienced at the BCHL and Major Junior level but is in his 1st BCHL playoffs after missing with Cowichan in 2012/2013.
The Kings “big three” clicked when needed against Victoria, but were certainly not afforded the same time and space that they got in the regular season. However a breakout from Jacob Pritchard and Jarid Lukosevicius in game 6 with 3 “goal scorers goals” between them is good news for Kings fans. And while Kurt Keats may not be ticking over the scoreboard as much as he’d like, he’s still actively causing teams headaches in the offensive and defensive zones.
The breakout of the series against Victoria was undoubtedly Nick Halagian who scored 4 goals and 1 assist in the 6 games. He provided an excellent spark throughout the series and must fight again to find that line we discussed so much in round 1….that line between playing with passion and fire, and sitting in the penalty box.
Nanaimo are very deep up front. In the regular season series against Powell River, 10 forward scored at least a goal, with Rempel leading the way. Through the overall regular season, Nanaimo had 11 players (including 2 defencemen) to score 30 or more points, countering the Kings 5. Threats from the Clippers come from guys like Jake Jackson, the Michigan Tech commit and San Jose draft pick, Brendan Taylor, the Clipper captain and BCHL veteran, as well as Brett Roulston (former PG Cougar), Cole Maier (led Nanaimo rookie scoring) and Anthony Rinaldi (dynamic 1st year forward).
The Kings were the more effective team on the powerplay during the 8-game season series, scoring 2 more goals than their opponent in 4 more opportunities. The Kings went 6/35, or 17.14% on the man advantage. It’s a smaller sample size, but it’s down on the Kings regular season figure of 23.48% (3rd). Nanaimo’s PK went 82.86% against the Kings. In round 1 against Victoria, the Kings went 7/26 or 26.92 on the powerplay, while running a penalty kill of 82.86%.
Despite all the offence from Nanaimo, and a good powerplay through the regular season, against Powell River it failed to click. The Kings held Nanaimo’s powerplay to just 4 goals on 31 opportunities or a 12.90% efficiency. That number is well down from Nanaimo’s regular season number of 22.76%. Through 7 games against the Bulldogs, Nanaimo rank 3rd on the powerplay, going 8/37 or 21.62%. Powell River’s penalty kill went 87.10% against Nanaimo.
Full radio coverage will be announced later on Friday, however each game will be broadcast live on the Kings Broadcast Network, with game 2 (at this stage) also live on CJMP 90.1FM. The pre-game show for all 7 games will also be available through 95.7 CoastFM.