Season Series: Nov 8th 3-2 (OT) Nanaimo, Feb 13th 4-2 Penticton
Round-Robin Series: March 25th 4-1 Penticton, April 2nd 2-0 Nanaimo
Fred Page Cup History:
2008: 4-0 Penticton
1980: 4-3 Penticton
1978: 2-1 Nanaimo (forfeit)
1977: 4-2 Nanaimo
1976: 11-3 Nanaimo (10-point series)
Penticton– Beat West Kelowna Warriors (4-1). Beat Vernon Vipers (4-3). Finished first in BCHL Round-Robin (3-1).
Nanaimo– Beat Alberni Valley (4-3). Beat Powell River (4-3). Finished second in the BCHL Round-Robin (2-1).
After a lengthy break the Vees and Nanaimo Clippers finally lift the curtain on the Fred Page Cup Final, with game one at the SOEC tonight. The Vees and Clips’ have had eight days off, as they last played back in Nanaimo on April 2nd, when the Clippers picked up a 2-0 win to clinch the final spot in the league final.
The two teams are meeting for the sixth time in the BCHL Championship and for the first time in seven years. Back in 2008, Fred Harbinson’s first year behind the Vees’ bench, Penticton swept Nanaimo in the league final; the Vees first championship in 22-years. The two long-running BCHL franchises first met in in 1976 and that was the first of three straight BC Finals between the two. The Clippers won three in a row over Penticton, before the Knights got their revenge in 1980.
The 1977 and 1978 series both have an asterisk beside them and for completely different reasons. In 1977 the series was not a best-of-seven but rather a 10-point series; the Clippers won 11-3. The following year in the rematch, the league final returned to a traditional seven-game series but was halted after just three games. Penticton forfeited, citing “rough play” by Nanaimo; the league eventually awarded the Clippers the Fred Page Cup.
This year’s rendition pits the two top teams from the regular season against each other. The Vees finished with a 44-9-3-2 record and clinched the Ron Boileau Memorial Trophy as the regular season pennant winners. Nanaimo finished 14 points back but captured the Island Division regular season pennant with a 37-16-0-5 record.
Penticton and Nanaimo have played each other four times this season and it’s been a homer series, as the home team has won all four match ups. In the regular season the Clippers won 3-2 in overtime in November at Frank Crane Arena. Penticton responded with a 4-2 win at the SOEC in mid-February. In the BCHL Round-Robin, the Vees opened the third round with a 4-1 victory over the shipmen on March 25th. Nanaimo and Penticton closed out the Round-Robin on April 2nd, because the Clipper’s 2-0 win clinched them the final spot in the Fred Page Cup.
Penticton has been very good at home in the post-season, sporting a 7-2 record at the SOEC in nine games; both losses have come in overtime. Nanaimo hasn’t had a whole lot of success away from Frank Crane in the playoffs, as they have won just once in seven games. They are however a league best 9-1 at home.
The series also pits the best offense in the BCHL against the league’s best defense. The Clippers scored the most goals in the regular season, racking up 235 in 58 games; they also had a league-best six 20-goal scorers. Penticton was the best defensive team, allowing the fewest goals against in the regular season; 115 to be exact. Penticton and Nanaimo were also first and second in goal differential. The Vees were a league-best plus 101 and the Clips’ were second at plus 68.
The Final also features the top two goaltenders in Hunter Miska and Guillaume Decelles. The two masked men were 1-2 in nearly every statistical category. Miska won the Top Goaltender award after posting a 1.88 goals-against average. He also led the league in save-percentage (.931) and was tied for first in wins (34) and shutouts (5). Decelles had the most saves in the BCHL (1,567) and was second to only Miska in save-percentage (.926).
You’ll be seeing stars tonight too, as a combined six BCHL All-Stars are on the two teams. Penticton has four of them, as Hunter Miska, Gabe Bast, Dante Fabbro and Tyson Jost were named to the three BCHL All-Star teams Thursday; Nanaimo’s Guillaume Decelles and Yanni Kaldis also made the grade.
Miska was named a First Team All-Star, Decelles, Bast and Kaldis were named Second Team All-Stars, and Fabbro and Jost were named to the newly minted BCHL All-Rookie Team.