Setting up the BCJALL Playoffs

Thunder and Adanacs Jr

With the BCJALL regular season just seven games away from completion and the playoff teams set, there isn’t much left to decide but who plays who in the playoffs.

The four teams – Coquitlam, New West, Delta and Victoria – have been at the top of the BCJALL for a few years now, with Delta building a successful program that now competes year after year. The other four programs have failed to have continued success despite having strong individual talent, a strong indictment that the junior and intermediate circuits may need to be re-looked at in order to better develop talent.

The Adanacs have still lost only one game all year and are in position to go to the Minto once again. They’re the team to beat, with Victoria the only team victorious in an 8-6 overtime win on May 3. But as they say, when playoff time comes, the regular season doesn’t matter. All three teams have a viable chance of knocking Coquitlam off, but it’s a tough task doing it four times in seven games.

But the A’s do play their remaining two games against New West, who they host tonight at 8 PM, and Delta. Victoria has a home-and-home to end the season with mathematically eliminated Port Coquitlam and could use that extra game to leapfrog Delta and escape a tough Coquitlam first round matchup.

Although New West could drop to 12-7-1 after tonight’s game in Coquitlam, they finish off the season by playing the woeful Burnaby Lakes, who dealt Tyler Vogrig to Coquitlam at the trade deadline.

Beyond that deal, there was less movement than we usually can expect as teams load up on players in exchange for draft picks, holdouts, and future considerations. But that might be an indication of where clubs see their talent level at, for good or bad. For a team such as the Islanders, they have an abundance of scoring talent and have previously dealt some of their current players to New West and Coquitlam in order to get them invaluable experience. Cody Nass played for the Bellies; he’s currently second in Islander scoring with 67 points in 19 games.

The Salmonbellies did add an Ontario goalie in Kitchener-Waterloo Braves product Kevin Orleman. The 1996-born goalie has been the full time starter the past two years for KW and while his numbers don’t look great, he has a lot of experience stopping the ball against some of Ontario’s best and the Braves aren’t exactly known as perennial contenders. An interesting fact: Orleman has 17 assists in 39 overall games with the Braves, suggesting he could be an interesting add in terms of bolstering New West’s transition game.

The addition of Jeremy Bosher and Josh Byrne, this week’s BCJALL Player of the Week, have been huge for the ‘Bellies. Bosher has 32 points behind 19 goals and 13 assists in nine games while Byrne has scored 15 goals in three games since his return from college.

Vogrig to Coquitlam is a great add for the Adanacs as he knows how to fill the need and adds more speed to Coquitlam’s offence. He lead the BCILL (Intermediate A) in scoring in 2013 and saw action with High Point in this year’s NCAA season. He had 34 points in 10 appearances with the Lakers and gives the Adanacs yet another option in the O.

As for how I predict the playoff matchups, I think Victoria will be motivated by the possibility of jumping into second-place and hosting either Delta or New West instead of playing Coquitlam away in the first round. If New West can’t knock off Coquitlam, they have to hope Delta can’t either and finish off Burnaby.

Give me Coquitlam-Delta and Victoria-New West in the first round. If Victoria finds a way to knock of the Bellies, they might be the team to finally knock Coquitlam off the perch of the BCJALL.