BCHL Playoff Picture, Vipers’ Shiplo Commits to Quinnipiac, Vees’ Berry Commits to Clarkson, Caps’ Lepage Commits to York, Grizzlies Add Handful of Recruits for 2015-16:

The BCHL playoffs start on Tuesday, March 3 with each of the Division Semifinals.The league has stated that the Division Semifinals will be completed no later than March 11. The Division Finals start March 13 and wrap up no later than March 22. The three-team double round robin in Round Three starts March 25 and is done no later than April 5. The BCHL Championship Fred Page Cup Finals are scheduled between April 10 and April 19.

The top four teams from each division make the post-season, meaning four of the BCHL’s 16 teams don’t get in. As of Thursday, Surrey, Cowichan, and Trail are eliminated while Penticton, Vernon, Chilliwack, Langley, Prince George, Coquitlam, Powell River, Alberni Valley, Victoria and Nanaimo have all locked up playoff spots. It looks like the battle for the final two spots in the Interior Division will come down to the final weekend of regular season action.

Friday Games
Victoria at Nanaimo
Chilliwack at Coquitlam
Vernon at Penticton
Langley at Prince George
Merritt at Salmon Arm
Alberni Valley at Powell River

If the regular season ended Thursday, these would be the Division Semifinal match-ups:

(1) Penticton vs. (4) Salmon Arm
(2) Vernon vs. (3) Merritt

Penticton – 89 points, two games remaining
Vernon – 76 points, one game remaining
Merritt – 64 points, two games remaining
Salmon Arm – 64 points, two games remaining
West Kelowna – 64 points, one game remaining
(1) Nanaimo vs. (4) Alberni Valley
(2) Victoria vs. (3) Powell River

Nanaimo – 77 points, two games remaining
Victoria – 65 points, two games remaining
Powell River – 62 points, two games remaining
Alberni Valley – 58 points, two games remaining
(1) Chilliwack vs. (4) Coquitlam
(2) Langley vs. (3) Prince George

Chilliwack – 74 points, two games remaining
Langley – 62 points, two games remaining
Prince George – 59 points, two games remaining
Coquitlam – 55 points, two games remaining
The father of a Merritt Centennials player could be in some legal hot water after allegedly uttering threats against the referees as they left the South Okanagan Events Centre last Saturday following Merritt’s loss to the Penticton Vees. Joe Fries of the Penticton Herald has the story here.

With the BCHL regular season coming to an end soon, we’re bound to see the number of players committing to university and college hockey increase. On Thursday, the Vernon Vipers announced that 19-year-old defenseman Luke Shiplo verbally committed to attend Quinnipiac University this September. Shiplo had previously committed to Western Michigan University as a 16-year-old back in 2011, but de-committed from the school last week. He has 44 points (five goals, 39 assists) in 50 games with the Vipers this season. The Vernon Morning Star has more here.
17-year-old Penticton Vees netminder Brendan Barry took to Twitter on Thursday afternoon to announce his commitment to Clarkson University. Barry has three years of junior eligibility left and didn’t indicate when he’ll head to Clarkson, but my guess would be that he plays one more season in Penticton before leaving for school starting in September 2016. The Kelowna native has a 10-2-0 record with a 2.06 goals-against-average, a .912 save percentage and two shutouts this season.

Cowichan Capitals graduating defenseman Julien Lepage has committed to York University of the CIS for this September. The 20-year-old from Baie-Comeau, Quebec, had 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 58 games with Cowichan this season. He’s a veteran of 202 major junior games with Baie-Comeau and Chicoutimi of the QMJHL.

The Victoria Grizzlies have received commitments from no less than six players for the 2015-16 season. Among them are 18-year-old forward Matthew Baker from Upper Canada College, 17-year-old forward J.D. Falconer, 18-year-old defenseman Cal Walker, and 17-year-old goaltender Matthew Galajda from St. Andrew’s College, along with 17-year-old forward Joey Visconti and 18-year-old defenseman Jake Stevens from Lake Forest Academy. Mario Annicchiarico of the Victoria Times-Colonist has the story.

Goaltender Nic Renyard (Cowichan AP, Langley AP, Penticton, Victoria, 2010-14) was named Alberta Junior Hockey League MVP and Top Goaltender for 2014-15. Renyard, who was released by the Grizzlies in September and signed as a free agent with Okotoks shortly after. He finished the season with a 30-7-3 record, a 2.12 goals-against-average, a .925 save percentage and five shutouts. Sean Emmett of High River Online has Renyard’s story here.
Netminder Andrew Hammond (Westside AP, Surrey, Vernon, 2006-09) posted his second straight NHL shutout for Ottawa as the Senators blanked LA 1-0 Thursday night. The White Rock product is 4-0 on the season with a sparkling 1.15 goals-against-average and a .962 save percentage. Hammond is 7-13-2 with a 3.51 goals-against-average and an .898 save percentage with the Sens AHL affiliate in Binghamton this season.
Forward Brett Lyon (Penticton AP, Westside, 2007-09) was traded in the ECHL to the Brampton Beast by the Allen Americans on Thursday. Lyon, a native of Grand Forks, BC, has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) and a league-leading 256 penalty minutes in 47 games with the Americans this season.

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