PENTICTON - The Penticton Vees will face the Nanaimo Clippers in the BCHL Fred Page Cup Final, starting Friday, April 10th, at the South Okanagan Events Centre in Penticton. This is sixth Fred Page Cup Final between the two franchises and first meeting since 2008.
Seven years ago, in Fred Harbinson’s first-year behind the Vees bench, Penticton swept the Clippers in four-straight to capture the franchise’s first league championship in 22-years.
This year’s edition of the BCHL Championship pits the top two teams from the regular season overall standings. The Vees captured the BCHL regular season pennant, the Ron Boileau trophy, with a 44-9-3-2 record for 93-points. Nanaimo finished 14-points back of Penticton but captured the Island Division regular season pennant with a 37-16-0-5 record.
In the regular season series, the two teams met twice, with each team picking up wins at home. Nanaimo took a 3-2 overtime decision on November 8th, and the Vees responded with a 4-2 win at the Events Centre on February 13th. It was the same story in the BCHL Double Round-Robin as Penticton and Nanaimo faced-off twice and both teams held court at home. The Vees won the Round-Robin opener, posting a 4-1 win over the Clippers on March 25th. Nanaimo responded with a 2-0 win at Frank Crane Arena on April 2nd.
For Penticton as a franchise, this is their 20th BCHL Fred Page Cup Final appearance. They’ve won 10 out of those 20; their last in 2012. The Vees last played in the BCHL Championship in 2013, bowing out to the Surrey Eagles in six-games.
Nanaimo’s returning to the BCHL Championship after a seven-year absence and it will once again be against the Vees. Nanaimo last won in 2007 and that was their second championship in four years. The Clippers have won five BCHL championships and have made it to the BCHL Final seven times.
These two franchises first met in the Fred Page Cup in 1976, which was the first of three straight league championships against the two teams — Nanaimo won all three. The Penticton Knights got their revenge on the boatmen in 1980, beating the Clippers in seven-games.
The Vees have three players on their current roster who have either won or played in a Fred Page Cup Final. 19-year-old Demico Hannoun is playing in his third BCHL Championship and was a winner with the Surrey Eagles in 2013. Cody DePourcq won with the Vees in 2012 and he and Cam Amantea were on that 2013 squad that lost a hard-fought series to Surrey.
This year’s Final showcases the two-best goaltenders in the BCHL. Penticton’s Hunter Miska is the playoff-leader in wins (11), goals-against average (1.99) and shutouts (2). Nanaimo’s Guillaume Decelles leads the playoffs in games played (17) minutes-played (1036) and save-percentage (.936); Miska is second in save-percentage (.934).
The Final also has the top four scoring defensemen in the BCHL playoffs. Nanaimo’s Nicolas Gushue is out front of the pack, with five goals and 13 points but he’s followed by three Vees. Dante Fabbro (3-7-10) and Miles Gendron (0-10-10) are tied for second and Gabe Bast (1-8-9) rounds out the top four.
BCHL Fred Page Final Schedule
Game 1: Friday, April 10th (SOEC) 7 p.m.
Game 2: Saturday, April 11th (SOEC) 6 p.m.
Game 3: Monday, April 13th (Frank Crane Arena) 7 p.m.
Game 4: Tuesday, April 14th (Frank Crane Arena) 7 p.m.
Game 5: Thursday, April 16th (SOEC) 7 p.m.*
Game 6: Friday, April 17th (Frank Crane Arena) 7 p.m.*
Game 7: Sunday, April 19th (SOEC) 6 p.m.*
Tickets for the Fred Page Cup are on-sale and are $17 for adults and $15 for seniors. Students (18 & under) and children are free, courtesy of Peter Brother’s Construction. Season ticket holder’s seats will be held until 12pm on game day; after that they’ll be open to the general public. Buy your tickets at the Valley First box office (at the SOEC), or online at www.valleyfirsttix.com.