Road to the Frozen Four

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The 16-team NCAA Division l men’s hockey tournament kicks-off this morning and every game will be aired on the TSN platform here in Canada. 19 Vees alumni are on eight of the 16 teams that are vying for a Frozen Four birth in Boston come early next month.

TV Schedule / TV Infographic / Bracket 

Vees Alumni

Midwest Regional:

Minnesota-Mankato: Nick Buchanan, Bryce Gervais, Sean Flanigan and Brad McClure

Nebraska-Omaha: James Polk, Kyle Mountain

East Regional:

Denver: Joey Laleggia

Northeast Regional:

Minnesota-Duluth: Derik Johnson

Minnesota: Connor, Mike and Ryan Reilly

West Regional:

North Dakota: Mark MacMillan, Wade Murphy, Brendan O’Donnell and Troy Stecher

St. Cloud State: Joey Benik, Garrett Milan

Quinnipac: Mike Garteig, Travis St. Denis

College Hockey News’ website has previews for all four regionals.

East / Northeast  / Midwest / West 

College Hockey Inc. also has a great feature on “Top NCAA Tournament Storylines” 

Enjoy the hockey and good luck to the Vees alumni!

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Vees Alum Rumpel Signs with Sharks

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Big alumni news today, as former Vees goaltender Joel Rumpel signed a 1-year entry-level contract with the San Jose Sharks today. Rumpel just graduated from the University of Wisconsin after an impressive four-year collegiate career. Below is story from the BCHL on the signing.

From the BCHL:

Though their NCAA teams didn’t qualify for the NCAA tournament, some of the sting is taken out of it for Joel Rumpel and Grayson Downing because they’ve each signed on with NHL teams as NCAA free agents.

Rumpel, a former Penticton Vees standout, inked with the San Jose Sharks out of the University of Wisconsin and has reported to Worcester of the American Hockey League. Downing, formerly of the West Kelowna Warriors, was signed by the Minnesota Wild from the University of New Hampshire and will head to AHL Iowa.

Both players last played in the BCHL as Interior Conference rivals in the 2010-11 season. Each played four seasons of NCAA hockey and will now have a shot at playing in the best hockey league in the world.

Over two seasons with the Vees, Rumpel posted a career 46-15-3 record in the BCHL to go along with a .914 save percentage, 2.34 goals-against average and three shutouts. The 6-foot-3, 190-pounder backstopped Wisconsin to two apperances in the NCAA tournament and was a 2014 finalist for the Hobey Baker Award.

In West Kelowna, Downing – a native of Abbotsford, BC – registered 65 goals and 64 assists for 129 points in 132 career games over three seasons. The 6-foot, 200-pound forward led UNH this season with 21 goals and +13 rating. He wound up his NCAA career with 56 goals and 56 assists for 112 points in 144 games.

 

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Vees Sink Clippers, Start Round-Robin Off with A Win

GAME STORY 

BOXSCORE 

  • Impressed by the response from the Vees after trailing by a goal in the first period. They found another gear in the second (I’ve said that a few times this season), got the lead and never looked back. The Nanaimo goal was somewhat against the flow of play in the first and the Vees were just in the Clippers end and had a scoring chance before the visitors came back down the other way and scored. The Vees didn’t let a first period deficit sidetrack them and they kept pressing and were rewarded with four unanswered goals.
  • At this juncture of the post-season, the tiniest of things can separate teams, the littlest of mistakes and we saw that in the first. The one blemish the Vees had unfortunately ended up in the back of their net. Nanaimo was making a change when they rushed up ice and Cole Maier found a soft spot in the slot. The opportunity arose when the Vees defender stumbled trying to pursue Anthony Rinaldi, who eventually spotted Maier. Hard to criticize the Vees because they were trying to back-check, maybe back-checking too hard; hard to harp on their commitment to defense. Good to see the Vees put that one error behind them and come back and win.
  • That second period was the turning point, as the Vees had a lot pressure in the Nanaimo end. Seemed to me they made a noticeable effort to put pressure on their D and that forced turnovers. Riley Alferd’s goal was off some good fore-check work down-low and he eventually wheeled-out from behind the net and then tucked in his own rebound. The Vees play below the circles in the offensive end created plenty of chances for them.
  • Take it one step back and the early turning point was Dante Fabbro scoring early in the second and just as a power-play was expiring. Remember, the Vees couldn’t capitalize on a four-minute power-play in the first but basically got the job done on the Fabbro goal. As the penalized Nanaimo player stepped on the ice, Fabbro darts down the middle and let’s go a deceiving snap-shot that beats Guillaume Decelles over the blocker-side. Building now alive, Vees are feeling it and a “switch” seemed to be flipped after that goal.
  • Going back to Alferd, a big-time effort on the 2-1 goal to spin out from behind the net, then find the puck in skates in front and quickly, as being cross-checked down, to go backhand, fore-hand and tuck the puck around the Eiffel Tower that is Decelles leg. That’s three goals in five games for “Alfie” and a measure of revenge after his line was on for the goal-against in the first period. He was also good in the circle and had this determined shift in the third where he was playing keep away against several Clippers. He was engaged Wednesday. Big goal late too because the Vees are 5-2 in the playoffs when leading after two; after last night they’re 6-2. They were just 3-5 in the regular season when down going into the third. Clutch.
  • Miles Gendron, casually going about a three-point night and now has nine in 13 playoff games. Yes, all second assists last night but that’s because he starting the play with a great outlet pass; underrated skill at this level. He also had a couple of scoring chances, the best coming in the first when he danced into the slot but his snapper was just fought-off by the Clippers goaltender. “Gendy” is now a team-best +13 after last night and his confidence is at a all-time high; very deserving of the first star.
  •  Hunter Miska, going about his business stopping 27 of 28 shots. It of course was anything but casual, as he was hit four times last night, three which were actually called penalties. Now after last night’s game, the opposition has taken five goaltender interference penalties in the last eight games. Nanaimo’s Jacob Jackson paid the ultimate price, as he took the second goalie interference penalty and is now automatically suspended one game under the Junior ‘A’ Supplement. Big blow, as that’s Nanaimo’s first-line left-winger. Miska has had to put up with a lot in the playoffs but he doesn’t let it get him rattled. It’s as if it makes him that much better; more focused. I guess teams should be careful when they poke the bear.
  • Speaking of Miska, a great observation by broadcast partner Trevor Miller during warm-up. We were watching the Vees go through their pre-game routine and it always ends with a game of “rebound.” Basically the team gathers around the net, standing around the crease, and they try to jam the puck past Miska. One problem, he doesn’t let them score. Like, ever. Most teams do this drill and it ends after a few seconds and the team breaks up for one last skate around. Not the Vees. Miska just keeps the puck out, with any part of his body. I bring this up because I’ve never seen a goalie battle that hard and Trevor said that maybe it was a sign that the Vees puck-stopper was “dialed in.” He was right.
  • Great to see the power-play get a goal and on that particular power-play in the third. Not only did Dakota Conroy’s snipe put the game on ice but it was on a power-play after Jackson’s goalie interference penalty. It would be easy for the Vees to go after the Clippers and seek retribution with their fists, but they showed a lot of composure and maturity by doing all the damage on the scoreboard. That goal doesn’t go unnoticed by Miska, who sees his team get payback the best way possible: on the scoreboard.
  • Have to acknowledge the crowd once more, as over 24-hundred showed up for a Wednesday round-robin game. Impressive. It was another great atmosphere and the fans sounded louder than 24-hundred; they were fired up. Also I love the new wrinkle when the Vees score. The SOEC kills the house lights and fires up blue spot lights and it looks so good. Players are celebrating, music is going and it creates an awesome atmosphere; nice touch.
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BCHL Double Round-Robin: GM 1 vs. Nanaimo

March 25_Blog

 Round-Robin game-tracker 

Venue: SOEC

Face-Off: 7pm

Season Series: Nov 8th 3-2 (OT) Nanaimo, Feb 13th 4-2 Penticton

Vees Round-Robin Schedule

March 25th vs. Nanaimo (SOEC) 7pm

March 29th at Chilliwack 7pm

March 31st vs. Chilliwack (SOEC) 7pm

April 2nd at Nanaimo 7pm

Penticton

 

 

 

Playoff Scoring

Demico Hannoun 3-10-13
Gabe Bast 1-5-6
Jack Ramsey 2-2-4
Connor Chartier 7-4-11
Cody DePourcq 1-5-6
Cam Amantea 3-0-3
Dakota Conroy 4-6-10
Jarod Hilderman 0-6-6
Patrick Sexton 1-2-3
Tyson Jost 6-3-9
Lewis Zerter-Gossage 1-5-6
Mitch Newsome 1-1-2
Matt Serratore 4-3-7
Miles Gendron 0-6-6
Mike Lee 0-2-2
Dante Fabbro 2-5-7
Steen Cooper 2-3-5
Pat Newell 2-5-7
Riley Alferd 3-1-4

Regular Season Scoring vs. Nanaimo

Demico Hannoun 2-1-3
Lewis Zerter-Gossage 1-0-1
Tyson Jost 0-3-3
Gabe Bast 0-1-1
Patrick Newell 0-2-2
Dakota Conroy 0-1-1
Riley Alferd 1-0-1
Cody DePourcq 0-1-1
Connor Chartier 1-0-1
Mike Lee 0-1-1
Jack Ramsey 1-0-1
new logo 

 

 

 

Playoff Scoring

Jacob Jackson 8-4-12
Jacob Hanlon 1-5-6
Corey Renwick 0-3-3
Nicholas Gushue 5-5-10
Spencer Hewson 4-1-5
Kale Bennett 1-1-2
Brendan Taylor 3-7-10
Devin Brosseau 1-4-5
Ryan Coghlan 0-2-2
Brett Roulston 4-5-9
Austin Dick 1-2-3
Edwin Hookenson 0-2-2
Cole Maier 2-5-7
Ryan Forbes 1-2-3
Nicholas Carrier 4-2-6
Sheldon Rempal 1-2-3
Anthony Rinaldi 2-4-6
Yanni Kaldis 1-2-3

Regular Season Scoring vs. Penticton

Yanni Kaldis 1-2-3
Brendan Taylor 0-1-1
Jacob Jackson 1-1-2
Cole Maier 0-1-1
Brett Roulston 0-2-2
Nicolas Carrier 1-1-2
Nicolas Gushue 1-0-1
Sheldon Rempal 1-0-1
FT_TheRundown-shdwV2

 

The Vees kick-off the BCHL Double Round-Robin tonight at the SOEC, as they host the Island Division Champion Nanaimo Clippers.

The Vees are coming off an emotional, hard-fought seven game series against the Vernon Vipers. Co-Captain Patrick Sexton was the hero in game seven, scoring the game-winner with under three-minutes left in the third.

Now the Vees have to refocus as they face the team that finished right behind them in the BCHL regular season standings. Nanaimo finished second in the overall standings compiling a 37-16-0-5 record.

The Clips’ have experience not one but two game sevens already in the BCHL post-season. Nanaimo almost squandered a 3-0 series lead against Alberni Valley before picking up a 3-1 win in the series deciding game. Then it was a seven-game Island Division Final against the Powell River Kings. Nanaimo crowned the Kings 3-2 last Sunday to punch their ticket to the BCHL Double Round-Robin.

Jacob Jackson leads the Clippers in playoff scoring with eight goals and 12 points in 14 games. Defenseman Nic Gushue is right behind him with five goals and five helpers. Gushue is also tied for a team-best plus/minus rating of +4. 20-year-old goaltender Guillaume Decelles has played every minute of every playoff game for Nanaimo, and is 8-6 with an impressive .937 save-percentage.

The Vees have won their last two games, both when facing elimination and are looking for more success on home ice. The Vees are 5-0-2 at the SOEC in the post-season and those two losses came in overtime. The Vees are 4-0-1 in their last five home games in the playoffs.

Demico Hannoun leads the Vees in playoff scoring with three goals and 13 points, two points clear of Connor Chartier (7-4-11) who sits second. Dakota Conroy rounds out the top three for the Vees, as he has four goals and 10 points in 12 games.  Hunter Miska is 8-4 in the playoffs with tidy .935 save-percentage to go along with a pair of shutouts.

Lewis Zerter-Gossage sustained an upper-body injury in game seven against Vernon and will be unavailable for the immediate future. Mitch Newsome will slide back into the line-up in replace of Zerter-Gossage.

The Vees and Clippers split their two-game season series, with both teams picking up wins on home ice. Nanaimo was 3-2 in overtime on November 8th, and the Vees doubled up the Shipmen 4-2 on February 13th.

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Breaking Down the BCHL Double Round Robin

Round-Robin game-tracker

So, what is the BCHL Double Round Robin? That’s a question I and others in the Vees organization have been fielding since Sunday night. Well, the BCHL instituted the unique playoff format last year after they returned to divisional playoffs last year. The problem with a divisional playoff bracket, was there were three teams left after the Division Championship round. Solution? A three-team, double round robin, where the two teams with the best records after the double round robin is completed, move on to the Fred Page Cup Final.

Confused? Don’t worry, the BCHL did come out with a “Round-Robin Game-Tracker” and the PDF version is just one click away (click the link at the top of the page). The Game-Tracker has all six games and their dates listed and provides the tie-breaker criteria. Teams get two points for a win but NO points for an overtime loss; there is no ties. Overtime format is continuous, 20-minute five-on-five overtime periods until a winner is decided.

After two best-of-seven rounds in the BCHL playoffs, three teams remain in the race: Penticton, Nanaimo and Chilliwack. Nanaimo were crowned Island Division Champs after beating Powell River in a seven-game series. Chilliwack came out of the Mainland Division after beating Prince George in four straight; they haven’t played since March 18th.

There’s six total games (two if necessary) and every team can play up to four games. Depending on the outcomes of games, one team can be eliminated from the double round robin before every team plays four games. As soon as one team is eliminated, the round robin ends and the other two teams advance to the Fred Page Cup Final.

BCHL Double Round Robin Schedule:

Wednesday, March 25th: Nanaimo at Penticton 7pm

Friday, March 27th: Chilliwack at Nanaimo 7pm

Sunday, March 29th: Penticton at Chilliwack 7pm

Tuesday, March 31st: Chilliwack at Penticton 7pm

*Thursday, April 2nd: Penticton at Nanaimo 7pm

*Saturday, April 4th: Nanaimo at Chilliwack 7pm

*If necessary 

Dan Marshall_Round Robin Fact

As the BCHL Double Round Robin schedule is laid out, Nanaimo is the ONLY team that can advance without playing at least three games. For that scenario to happen, either Chilliwack or Penticton would have to go 0-3 in their first three games; I think.  That’s why you see those last two games, Thursday April 2nd and Saturday, April 4th listed as “if necessary.” One team could be already mathematically eliminated from the BCHL Double Round Robin before next weekend.

That exact scenario played out last year, in the inaugural BCHL Double Round Robin. The Victoria Grizzlies were eliminated three-games into their round-robin, after they dropped t games to Vernon and two to Coquitlam. Vernon was 2-0 and Coquitlam went 2-1 after winning a back-to-back games against Victoria. So, Vernon and Coquitlam were assured of the top two spots in the Double Round Robin and thus advanced to the BCHL Fred Page Cup Final.

For Penticton it’s just focusing on winning their games; take care of your own business. That starts with their home game tomorrow against Nanaimo at 7pm. I think the basic philosophy is winning on home ice. That assures you of at least two wins and that keeps you in the mix for the BCHL Final. Yeah, you’ll like need one road win to give you that edge in the standings, because you don’t want to get involved in dicey tie-breaker scenarios.

Think of the BCHL Double Round-Robin as a quasi NCAA Hockey Regional Tournament. No, it’s not single-game knockout but gives you that college hockey home-and-home feel to it. This is my first go around with it, so we are all in this together. Clear as mud, right?

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Recapping a Memorable Game

I spoke with Co-Captain Patrick Sexton this afternoon about his game-winning goal and Sunday night’s atmosphere.

 

(As you can see, Mr. Sexton drew quite the crowd for our interview today) 

    •  Well, that was something wasn’t it? A game seven that will be talked about for quite some time. Sunday night definitely had a “game seven” feel to it, as you could sense the urgency, desperation from both teams. It was a game that was decided on guts, sheer will rather than skill. Yes, the Vees won on a lucky bounce but I remind you so did Vernon in game five in Penticton. I remember saying out loud something of the effect “The Vees had NO puck luck in this series,” after Luke Voltin’s  game-winner in game five went off a Vee and in. Well, the favour was repaid in full, as the Vees finally got a bounce to go their way in this series. It so happens to be the final bounce and in the deciding game. Funny how that works out.
    •  Raise your hand if you picked Patrick Sexton to win the series for the Vees. OK, maybe these two did: Paddy
    • What a night for the Vees Co-Captain. Sexton scored his first ever BCHL playoff goal last night and his first goal since December 19th against West Kelowna; 34 games between goals. To make it an even more memorable night, his dad Randy, who works for the Pittsburgh Penguins, was in attendance watching last night’s game. Last night was also Sexton’s 301st of his junior career. I’m sure 53 won’t soon forget March 22nd, 2015.
    • Sexton’s goal reminded me of one he scored against Vernon last year. I looked it up and sure enough they were eerily similar. On February 14th, 2014, Sexton scored 14-seconds into the game from the same position at the same blue-line and almost at the exact same spot. On that night, his point-shot went off the glove of Riley Guenther and floated over…yes, the goalie’s glove; that goalie was Austin Smith. Last night, Sexton drags the puck from the left-wing and his point-shot hits Riley Brandt and flutters in over Todosyhcuk on the…glove-side. You can watch the video from last year here. Seriously? How crazy is that? Him scoring almost identical goals and from nearly the same spot and against the same team but over a year apart.
    • I mentioned guts off the top and it was a gutsy effort from the Vees. They lost Lewis Zerter-Gossage to an upper-body injury on his very first shift and had to play with 11 forwards the rest of the way; a game like that felt like playing with two forwards down. The Vees had to double-shift guys and that meant increased minutes in a game where every inch of ice gained had to be earned; tough sledding. Game sevens tend to take on a unique feel, a game within a game and we saw that Sunday. Guys were throwing themselves at one another, tackling each other and wrestling each other for contested pucks. The Vees showed a lot of heart to battle right to the bitter end and squeeze out that win. I’m sure the jubilation of the series win was masking the bumps and bruises some of the Vees were feeling this morning.
    • Hunter Miska  looked like an MVP last night and in the last two games. When the chips were down, he came up with two clutch efforts. Miska, with his team facing elimination twice, went 2-0 in the final two games with a .05 goals-against average and a .984 save-percentage. Oh, and had a shutout in game seven. He fought through a lot of, umm…”traffic” in this series but he didn’t let it get to him. Yeah, he had an off game in game three but he rose to the occasion in game six and again in game seven. He was a target, that’s clear to see and that comes with being one of the best players in the league. He handled it extremely well and didn’t let that sideshow in game two sidetrack his post-season. After “slumping” somewhat through games two-five, Miska was there when it mattered the most. MVP. Last night he made some great saves, especially late through traffic when the Vipers had the extra-attacker out. He looked so confident in such a hectic environment and he’s a calming influence for his team. He made two clutch saves during a Vipers power-play sequence in the third that proved to me he was “back.” He stopped the blast from the point and as if it was a Tuesday afternoon practice drill, he did the splits as he moved to his left and snatched a Anthony Latina rebound attempt. No big deal.
    • I mentioned more than once the Vees struggles in the third period in this series. Well after being outscored 7-0 in the third through games 1-5, the Vees outscored the Vipers 3-0 in the third period in games six and seven. The Vees got a crucial goal in game six from Pat Newell to ice a 5-1 win and setup game 7.1 Then in game seven the Vees scored both of their goals in the third and inside the final three-minutes. That’s how you turn the tables.
    • Liam Coughlin led the Vipers in playoff scoring with 10 points and had three goals and five points in this series; he was a handful. However, when it mattered the Vees found a way to keep him at bay. In game six and seven, Coughlin was held pointless after picking up three goals and five points in games three, four and five; all Vernon wins. Yes, Coughlin had a couple of quality chances over the last two games but the Vees and their goalie managed to thwart Coughlin. A big reason why the Vees came back to win this series was shutting down the top-line of Vernon, as the Coughlin, TJ Dumonceaux and Thomas Aldworth trio had just two points between each other in the last two games; Aldworth assisting on Dumonceaux’s goal in game six.  A good chunk of credit has to go to the line of Riley Alferd, Jack Ramsey and Matt Serratore. Those three saw a lot of the Vipers top-line in the series and responded well. The three even managed to put up some numbers, as a line they combined for four goals and eight points in seven games. Fitting that two-thirds of that line was on the ice when the Vees sealed the game and series with an empty-net goal. Fitting it was Serratore scoring it too, as he likely had the Vees best chance in the game. He rifled a shot off the cross-bar after a great rush down the right-win in the second period.
    • Connor Chartier: Playoff MVP? Five goals and seven points in the series versus Vernon and his line had eight goals and 15 points. Chartier, 21, is embracing his last junior hockey playoff run. He and his line-mates have formed a really good 1-A option for the Vees.
    • The Vees depth has been much publicized but it was another key to winning this series. Every line scored at least a goal in the series and the Vees had only one player not register at least a single point in the series, and that player only played in two of the seven games. The parity was uncanny, as the Vees first line had 16 points, their second line 15 and the third and fourth line chipped in with 8; talk about spreading it around. Now, the team is quick to shoot down any labeling of their lines, as Fred Harbinson doesn’t hesitate to play any of his four lines at any time of the game. When you can get production out of all four lines and have trust in all four, you have a good chance to go a long way. I really do think the Vees consistently using their whole bench went a long way in pulling out a game seven win. It was three games in three nights with double-overtime mixed in there in game five, to closeout the series. The Vees saved enough gas for game seven and they used every once of their reserves last night.
    • It was great to see this team win a series on home ice after dropping last year’s Interior Championship at the SOEC. Go back a year before and the Vees lost the Fred Page Cup at home too. Cam Amantea and Cody DePourcq played on both of those Vees teams and I’m sure it ate at them. Great to see the Vees buck that trend and get to win on home ice and in front of an awesome crowd. They’re now 6-2 at home in the post-season but both of those losses came in overtime. Good to see this team use that home-ice advantage they fought for in the regular season.
    • A huge thank you to the over 32-hundred fans who had the SOEC rocking. It was an electric atmosphere and one that I will not forget. I had goose bumps when Serratore scored that empty-net goal. The noise was deafening and I thought the fans were going to blow the roof off the joint. It was hard not to get somewhat emotional with the late-game dramatics, the crowd and what last night meant to the players and their supporters. Hopefully we can see that awesome support carry over into the round robin AND hopefully the Final.
    • Speaking of the BCHL Double Round Robin, the league office released the schedule for it and a helpful, fan-friendly “tracker.” Check that out here.  
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Interior Final: GM 7 Post-Game Links

Great pictures from team photographer Cherie Morgan 

GAME STORY 

BOXSCORE 

What a game and what a series. I’ll have a full rundown on a memorable game seven and series on Monday.

In regards to the BCHL Round Robin, it starts in Penticton on Wednesday, when the Vees host the Nanaimo Clippers.

Here’s a note from the BCHL:

Penticton defeated Vernon 2-0 to claim the Interior title while Nanaimo held off Powell River 3-2 to claim the Island crown. Last week, Chilliwack claimed the Mainland Division.

Based on their regular-season points totals, this means Penticton is the #1 seed for our Round 3 Double Round Robin with Nanaimo the #2 seed and Chilliwack #3.

The schedule for the Round 3 Double Round Robin is as follows:

Wednesday March 25: Nanaimo Clippers @ Penticton Vees, 7pm

Friday, March 27: Chilliwack Chiefs @ Nanaimo Clippers, 7pm

Sunday, March 29: Penticton Vees @ Chilliwack Chiefs, TBA

Tuesday, March 31: Chilliwack Chiefs @ Penticton Vees, 7pm

*Thursday, April 2: Penticton Vees @ Nanaimo Clippers, 7pm

*Saturday, April 4: Nanaimo Clippers @ Chilliwack Chiefs, 7pm

*Monday, April 6: Tiebreaker game

*If necessary

The Round 3 Double Round Robin will eliminate one team with the remaining two advancing to the Fred Page Cup BCHL Finals best-of-seven starting April 10.

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