Bring on the Cyclone Taylor Cup.
That’s the new focus for both the Comox Valley Glacier Kings and the Victoria Cougars now that the 2012-13 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League playoffs are in the books.
The Cougars defeated the Yetis 5-2 Saturday, March 30 in Courtenay to complete a four-game sweep of the best-of-seven championships to win their second straight playoff crown.
The regular season champs won the first three games 6-3, 9-2 and 5-0. The VIJHL reps will now join the host Glacier Kings and PJHL reps Richmond Sockeyes at the Cyclone Taylor Cup – the B.C. Jr. B championship – April 11-14 in Courtenay. In the KIJHL finals, the Castlegar Rebels had a 3-1 series lead over the North Okanagan Knights heading into Game 5 Monday night.
On March 30, Victoria outshot Comox Valley 24-15, went 1-for-9 on the power play and 5-for-9 on the penalty kill. Series MVPs were Michael Scobie for the Icemen and Sam Rice for the Capital City Cats.
Michael Pond (third star) got the Yetis off on the right foot with his power-play goal at 17:56 of the first period. But the Cougars got that one right back when Kelyn Opel beat Bryce DiRocco at the 18:14 mark. Forty-three seconds later Dane Feeney (second star) put the visitors ahead to stay.
Victoria netted the only goal of the second stanza courtesy of Rice then made it 4-1 on a Jordan Davie tally at 8:54 of the third. Jack Kennelly’s power-play marker at 15:45 gave the Yetis a glimmer of hope, but a high-sticking penalty to Tyson Rennie allowed Brody Coulter to seal the deal with a power-play goal at 18:47. Game first star Sasha Hahn assisted on both g-Kings’ goals.
Comox Valley native Michael Herringer posted a 21-save shutout in game three on March 28 in Victoria to put the Cougars a win away from their fifth VIJHL title in franchise history. Victoria led 2-0 after one period and 3-0 after two.
The 2013 Cyclone Taylor Cup opens a week this Thursday, with all games at the Comox Valley Sports Centre and round-robin action as follows:
Thursday, April 11 3:30 p.m. Richmond vs. Victoria, 7:30 p.m. KIJHL vs. Comox Valley;
Friday, April 12 3:30 p.m. Victoria vs. KIJHL, 7:30 p.m. Comox Valley vs. Richmond;
Saturday, April 13 3:30 p.m. KIJHL vs. Richmond,, 7:30 p.m. Victoria vs. Comox Valley.
The finals go Sunday, April 14 with the bronze medal game at 10:30 a.m. followed by the gold medal game at 2:30 p.m.
The winner will represent B.C. at the 2013 Keystone Cup April 18-21 in St. Malo, Man. The B.C. representative team has won three of the last four years; Richmond Sockeyes in 2009, Revelstoke Grizzlies in 2010 and the Abbotsford Pilots in 2012.
The Keystone Cup is a six-team tournament to crown the Western Canadian Junior B champion. League champions from B.C, Alberta, Saskatchewan, Manitoba, Northwest Ontario and the host team compete.
BC Hockey announced March 27 that the Abbotsford Pilots will host the 2014 Keystone Cup. The Keystone Cup was last hosted in B.C. in 2010 by the Kamloops Storm of the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League (KIJHL).