With Salmon Arm 5-4 win in overtime against the Merritt Centennials last night, the SilverBacks clinched the final available playoff spot in the BCHL.
All Salmon Arm needed heading into the game was a single point to eliminate the Trail Smoke Eaters and by rallying late to send the game to overtime, the ‘Backs knew they had punched their ticket to the post-season.
All actual match-ups for the first round of the Fred Page Cup playoffs are set, although it’s still to be determined who has home ice advantage in a series between the Merritt Centennials and West Kelowna Warriors.
The two teams are tied at 69 points, but Merritt has just one game remaining (tonight in Vernon), while the Warriors have two games left (tonight in Cowichan Valley and tomorrow in Nanaimo). If the Cents and Warriors wind up tied in points, Merritt will get second place by virtue of more wins on the season.
However, if West Kelowna beats Cowichan Valley and the Centennials fall to Vernon, the Warriors clinch second place. If Merritt beats Vernon and West Kelowna wins against Cowichan, the Cents can only hope that the Warriors lose to Nanaimo tomorrow if they want to clinch second.
In simple terms, West Kelowna controls its own fate. If the Warriors win in Cowichan Valley and Nanaimo, it doesn’t matter what Merritt does vs. Vernon.
All other series in the BCHL are decided.
(1) Penticton Vees vs. (4) Salmon Arm SilverBacks
(1) Victoria Grizzlies vs. (4) Powell River Kings
(2) Nanaimo Clippers vs. (3) Alberni Valley Bulldogs
(1) Surrey Eagles vs. (4) Langley Rivermen
(2) Chilliwack Chiefs vs. (3) Prince George Spruce Kings