N.A. Juniors Game Night 3/17: Jung, Courtnall Advance

A Game 7 blowout in Victoria ... a tie-breaker nail-biter in Prince Albert ... Tokarski finishes as the WHL leader in 4 categories.

BCHL Playoffs – Island Division Finals – Game 7

Cowichan Valley Capitals 0 @ Victoria Grizzlies 6
Victoria wins Best of 7 series 4-3
W Justin Courtnall, VIC: 1-0-1, 0 PIM
Playoff totals: 7 GP, 1-3-4, 10 PIM
Season totals: 60 GP, 22-41-63, 98 PIM

Top seeded Victoria finally disposes of the Capitals, and it wasn’t even close. The Grizzlies broke open a 1-0 game in the second period with 4 goals, including 2 from Lightning prospect camp invitee Evan Pighin. Courtnall finished Victoria’s scoring in the third with his first of the playoffs.

Victoria now moves on to face the Mainland Division champion Powell River Kings for a spot in the Fred Page Cup Finals. That best-of-seven series will begin on Friday at Bear Mountain in Victoria. The Kings beat Surrey 4-1. Salmon Arm and Vernon are squaring off in the Interior Conference Finals.

WHL Play-In Game

Edmonton Oil Kings 2 @ Prince Albert Raider 1 (OT)
G Torrie Jung, EDM: Win, 35 saves on 36 shots
Season totals: 48 GP, 20-20-3-5, 2.58 GAA, .911 sv%, 3 shutouts

Now that’s drama. The Oil Kings and Raiders squared off in Prince Albert Tuesday night with the winner getting the coveted 8 seed in the East. Both teams were tied going into the match-up after failing to win their respective games Saturday and Sunday.

Edmonton opened the scoring with a first period goal on the power play, but the Raiders got it back mid-way through the second. The goaltenders – Torrie Jung and Garrett Zemlak – took over from that point and it wasn’t until the 8:54 mark of the first overtime that Edmonton’s Rhett Rachinski scored to give the Oil Kings their first-ever playoff birth.

Edmonton outshot the Raiders 42-36 in the game, including 10-2 in overtime. They will face heavily favored Calgary in Round 1 beginning Thursday at the Saddledome.

Kudos to the WHL for having the tie-breaker game rule rather than it being decided by formulas on paper.

Spokane Chiefs 2 @ Tri-City Americans 1
G Dustin Tokarski, SPO: Did not play.
Season totals: 54 GP, 34-18-0-2, 1.97 GAA, .937 sv%, 7 shutouts
C Mitch Fadden, TC: 0-0-0, -1, 0 PIM
Season totals: 63 GP, 37-39-76, +24, 49 PIM
With TC: 54 GP, 35-36-71, +22, 41 PIM

As expected, Tokarski did not play in the game as both TC and Spokane know their playoff opponents already. Goaltender Chet Pickard dressed as a backup for TC. This is progress considering he hasn’t played since February 28 due to an injury.

Tokarski finishes the year as the league leader in GAA, save percentage, shutouts (tie), and shootout percentage. He set a new career high for wins (5th in the league).

Fadden missed several games at the beginning of the season due to being in the AHL Norfolk Admirals camp, then got off to a slow start with Lethbridge, but came on after his trade to Tri-City to finish with 76 points. A full season in TC likely would have resulted in statistical career highs.

No.4 Spokane will begin their series with No.5 Seattle on Friday, as will No.2 TC with No.7 Everett.