BCHL playoff matchups set, with Penticton and West K opening postseason

The Merritt Centennials are the only team in the 17 team BCHL to not make the playoff dance.

With the regular season over, the BCHL playoffs are set to start with eight series going on league wide.

Interior division rivals, the top-seeded Penticton Vees and eighth place West Kelowna Warriors get things started with a Thursday night tilt at the South Okanagan Events Centre.

The other Interior division series have the second place Trail Smoke Eaters taking on the Prince George Spruce Kings, who cross over from the Mainland division as the seventh seed.

The third place Salmon Arm Silverbacks face the Victoria Grizzlies, who cross over from the Island division as the sixth seed, and the fourth place Wenatchee Wild clash with the fifth place Vernon Vipers.

The Chilliwack Chiefs, second in the Mainland division, get their postseason run started Friday night, with a 7 p.m. puck drop at the Chilliwack Coliseum, as they take on the third place Surrey Eagles.

“The opportunity to start the series on home ice, in front of our fans, is invaluable to us,” said Chilliwack associate head coach Brad Rihela. “From a coaching perspective obviously, there are other advantages with last change, ect. But the opportunity to begin the playoffs in front of our own fans is what we are most excited about.”

The first place Coquitlam Express battle the fourth place Langley Rivermen.

On the Island, the first place Nanaimo Clippers face off against the fourth place Alberni Valley Bulldogs while the second place Cowichan Valley Capitals fight the third place Powell River Kings.

All first round series will be best-of-seven and teams have the option to choose a 2-2-1-1-1 format or a 2-3-2 based on what works best for both sides.

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