With the first round of games in the books, the BC Jr A loop’s semifinals are already underway and the battles for the final two and the only two spots that will represent BC at the 2013 Minto Cup is heating up. Both Victoria and Langley swept through their best of three series with Delta and Port Coquitlam with ease but will face much stiffer competition in the second round. Victoria will take on the first-place Coquitlam Adanacs while Langley already trails New Westminster 1-0 in the best-of-five series with Game 2 tonight (Thursday). The Adanacs and Shamrocks won’t get underway until this weekend, where they’ll play Saturday and Sunday but then will have to wait till the following Saturday for Game 3.
Long layoffs like that could play a roll in how this series plays out. All it will take is to win three games and two of the remaining four teams will be Minto-bound with a chance to hoist one of Canada’s oldest amateur trophies and make sure it stays out west.
1: New West (2) 16-5
Last week: First round bye
This Week: W12-6 Langley, @ Langley, vs. Langley
HC Dan Perreault commented on the Off the Crossebar radio show this week that his team was more ready than he’s every seen them for this series with the Thunder. They realize what’s at stake — a chance to play for the Minto Cup on their home floor and become the first ‘Bellies team to win the national title in 19 years. Much like the Adanacs, the Bellies are loaded on offence but their defence could be their most lethal asset. Already up 1-0 in their best of five series, they are now just two games away from booking their Minto ticket.
2: Coquitlam (1) 17-4
Last week: first round bye
This Week: vs. Victoria, @ Victoria
How much longer?! It seems like it’s been forever since we last saw the Adanacs on the floor. With an opening-round bye and now no games till this weekend and then another six days between Games 2 and 3, the Adanacs better be one healthy and well-rested team come Saturday. A wealth of offensive talent over shadows a very athletic and aggressive defence that will pressure the Shamrocks shooters all over the floor. The Adanacs lost two of three during the regular season to Victoria but this team is very experienced in post-season play which should be an key intangible.
3: Langley (5) 14-7
Last week: W14-10 Poco, W13-2 Poco
This Week: L12-6 New West, vs. New West, @ New West.
A small scare in Game 1 vs. the Saints was quickly squashed after Game 2 but now the Thunder are going to have to raise their level of play. According to HC Jake Elliott if they want to be successful they have to stop putting the Bellies on the power-play and find a way to get to Frank Scigliano in the New West net. A massive Game 2 tonight could really set the tone for this series.
4: Victoria (3) 14-7
Last week: W10-6 Delta, W12-8 Delta
This Week: @ Coquitlam, vs. Coquitlam
After sweeping away the Delta Islanders Sunday, the Shamrocks will have had a good 6 days to rest and prepare for their semifinal series vs the Adanacs. For the Rocks to be successful they’re going to have to get major contributions from guys other than Jesse King and Brodie Eastwood. Goalie Cody Hagedorn will see plenty of rubber this series and will need to stand on his head and steal a game or two if he can.
5: Delta (4) 11-10
Last week: L10-6 Victoria, L12-8 Victoria
This Week: Eliminated from the play-offs
A crazy turnabout for the Delta Islanders in the past year. 2012 was one that will forever be remembered as they had their best season in franchise history only to lose the league finals 4-1 to Coquitlam. This year, they had two of the top three scorers in the league only to trade them to the Bellies at the deadline en route to a fifth-place finish. There were some interesting comments made from some of the Islander players after Cody Nass and Eli McLoughlin were traded and that had to be a swift kick in the junk for a team making a serious push.
6: Port Coquitlam (6) 7-13-1
Last week: L14-10 Langley, L13-2 Langley
This Week: Eliminated from the playoffs
The Saints were swept by the Thunder in two straight games but this team had a few positives late in the season and can hopefully build on it for 2014.
7: Nanaimo (8) 3-17-1
8: Burnaby (7) 1-20
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