The KIJHL Notebook: Player playoff experience

The KIJHL Notebook: Player playoff experience

February 23, 2024 at 11:30 am  Hockey, Kamloops Storm, Sports

 

The Kootenay International Junior Hockey League’s Teck Cup playoffs begin today. The Kimberley Dynamiters will be looking to defend their title, while the Princeton Posse have their sights on winning their first league championship after repeating as President’s Cup regular season champions.

This week’s KIJHL Notebook highlights previous playoff experience and stats that some players bring into the playoffs for their respective teams.

The KIJHL’s all-time playoff points leader is Beaver Valley Nitehawks alum Ryan Edwards, who had 40 goals and 64 assists for 104 points in 67 career playoff games over four years. Close behind him is Dallas Calvin, another Nitehawks alum with 44 goals, 54 assists for 98 points in 62 career playoff games. 

 

Eddie Mountain Division

During the 2023 playoffs, Taylor Haggerty had nine points in 13 games and defenceman Andrew Kennedy had six points in 13 games. Goalie Levi Hall has one win in nine career KIJHL Teck Cup playoff games from his time in Golden.

There is expectation from Ghostriders head coach-GM Ty Valin for Haggerty to produce in the playoffs again. 

“He’s a player that’s elevated his game from the start of the season,” said Valin. “The expectation is that he keeps elevating and he’s got a lot of good players around that help and make his job that much easier. He’s a very talented hockey player, one of those guys that steps up when we need him the most. Going into the playoffs, that’s a role he embraces and enjoys being in.”

Valin added they have depth with “four lines that contribute nightly.”

The Ghostriders are close to getting Jack Lambert back and he will be a big addition, Valin noted. Lambert has been a key piece to the team and he has been out since November.

The Eddie Mountain Division regular season champion Fernie Ghostriders won their regular season series with the Thunder Cats going 3-1-2. 

 

Luke Chakrabarti had an excellent playoffs last season for the Creston Valley Thunder Cats  and finished third among all point producers with 23 points in 12 games. Nikolai Morrison had 13 points in 12 games, while defenceman Max Chakrabarti had six points in 12 games. The Thunder Cats went 3-3-0 against the Ghostriders in their season series this year. 

Chakrabarti is fresh off of being the KIJHL’s Top Scorer for the second straight season. The last time that was done was by Castlegar’s Scott Morriseau in 2009-10 with the Beaver Valley Nitehawks, and 2010-11 as a Fernie Ghostrider. Morriseau had 84 and 97 points respectively.

Chakrabarti is very happy about the accomplishment.

“Last year was one thing, I had a great season this year,” he said. “I felt that I had a great last half of the season. I read that I only had one game off the scoresheet in 2024. It’s just a really cool feeling going back-to-back. It doesn’t happen often in any league really.”

Chakrabarti is also very excited that he shares that feat with his brother Max, who is the KIJHL’s Top Defenceman in points.

“He’s amazing, such a good player,” said Luke. “He’s so smart and shifty and he grew up as a smaller player like I did,  then he hit a kind of a growth spurt that I never got to have, but he’s got that (6-1, 165 pounds). He has the skill and agility and shiftiness of a smaller guy with the size and the reach of a big demon. He’s kind of got the whole package, which growing up small kind of helped him to have that.”

There is clear admiration between the Chakrabarti brothers as Max said it’s been amazing to watch Luke.

“He’s really good and it comes natural to him,” said Max.

Until last season, Luke and Max never played on the same team together because of their age difference.  Max said their chemistry began developing last season when they were on the ice together. 

“We just try to do our best when we play together,” he said.

Coming into the season, Max set a goal of being a point-per-game producing defenceman and he blew by that – averaging 1.38 points per game. He said it’s “pretty cool” to be named the Top Defenceman for the Eddie Mountain Division.

“It’s a lot of hard work paying off and I couldn’t have done it without my team. A lot of the goals aren’t highlight reels, they were just backdoor tap-ins and that’s because the team is doing well too right now,” he said. “It’s pretty cool to get that award.”

 


The defending KIJHL Teck Cup champion Kimberley Dynamiters went 3-3-0 against the Columbia Valley Rockies in their regular season series. Tristan Weill had 13 points in 21 games in last season’s drive to the Teck Cup title. He has 27 career playoff points in 32 games, including his time with the Summerland Steam. Kade Leskosky had 11 points in 21 games and has 26 career points in 37 games. Parker Konneke had 10 points in nine playoff games with the Summerland Steam in 2021-22.

 

Last season Kobe Mason had three points in six games for the Columbia Valley Rockies, while Kade Cochlan had four points in nine games over two playoff seasons with the Golden Rockets. Goalie Nate Glenn won two of his three games with the Princeton Posse with a .919 save percentage. The Rockies went 3-2-1 against the Dynamiters in their regular season series.

 


 

Neil Murdoch Division

Last season the Beaver Valley Nitehawks lost to the Kimberley Dynamiters in the Kootenay Conference Final and Kaleb Percival had 18 points in 17 games during that run, while Ollie Clement had 17 points in 15 games. Goalie Connor Stojan, named the Neil Murdoch Division Top Goalie this year, won eight of his 16 games with a 2.68 GAA and a .928 SP.

Nitehawks head coach-GM Terry Jones expects Percival to produce offensively again.

“He’s a leader for us in so many ways and we look for him to quarterback our power-play, then also get lots of minutes up front as a forward,” said Jones. “As Kaleb goes, a lot of times our team goes. He brings that steady, strong influence and we are looking forward to that.”

Jones added that players will elevate each night and step up.

“When you approach it that way, you have a bunch of guys that are able to contribute in different ways and you look at our scoring overall, it’s pretty balanced. I’m hopeful we will have great performances from guys like Bobby Hristov, Beau Manegre, and Roan Crowe. I expect lots of different guys to emerge.”

The Nitehawks went 4-1-0-1 in their regular season series with the Castlegar Rebels.

 

The Castlegar Rebels last played in the KIJHL Teck Cup playoffs in 2021-22, playing seven games. Logan Arsenault had an assist. Goalie Ethan Lawczynski played in all the games, going 3-3-1 with a 2.70 GAA and a .915 SP. Also remaining from that team is goalie Matteo Hueston and defenceman Aidan MacNeill. The Rebels went 2-4-0 against the Nitehawks in the season series this year. 

 


Last season in five playoff games, Grand Forks Border Bruins captain Ray Warrack had five assists. Chad Bates had a goal and four points, while Goalie Ethan Shebansky had one win in four games with a .931 SP. Grand Forks went 4-2-0 in their season series against the Nelson Leafs and they boosted their goaltending depth for the playoffs to add Gabe Osmond from Princeton to play with Shebansky and Matthew Dovichak, who’s been solid in his rookie season.

 

Crae Dawson had two goals and five points in five games, while defenceman Carsyn Crawford had five points in six games for the Nelson Leafs.. In 21-22, Dawson had two points in 11 playoff games with the Osoyoos Coyotes. Leafs head coach Briar McNaney has confidence in goalies Jackson McLeod and Karl Soneff, feeling they have two championship starting-caliber players. Soneff, who has played at the professional level, was recently named the KIJHL’s Top Goalie. McLeod’s last action was against the Spokane Braves on Feb. 10, earning an 18-save shutout.

The Leafs went 2-4-0 against the Border Bruins in their regular season series. 

 


Bill Ohlhausen Division

Last season the now two-time President’s Cup-winning Princeton Posse won the Okanagan-Shuswap Conference Final and were led offensively by Dayton Nelson with 29 points in 21 games. Anmol Garcha had 20 points in 22 games, while defencemen Lucas Sadownyk and Curtis Gould each had nine points. 

Head coach-GM Mark Readman would like to see Garcha continue producing. Garcha is the franchises all-time leader in points-per-game average at 1.33 and is fourth all-time with 134 points in 101 career regular season games.

“Anytime Anmol is on the ice, he’s a recognizable force,” said Readman. “Teams have to prepare and try to keep him off the board. He absolutely loves playing playoff hockey and he’s going to be up for another strong run this year.”

Readman would like to see his whole group produce.

“We’ve prided ourselves on depth scoring,” he said. “You look at guys like Ty Russell, who is due to take a step forward, Tyson Horiachka, Matthew Langdon, a high profile guy coming from OCN earlier, hoping he can chip in. We have some high end first-year players.”

Readman added he feels their goaltending with Joey Hawco and Blake Sittler is in a really good spot.  Both have provided quality play since joining the team. 

The Princeton Posse went 5-0-0-1 in their season series against the Kelowna Chiefs.

 

The Kelowna Chiefs last competed in the playoffs in 21-22 and defenceman Jaxson Rebman had an assist in five games. Matt Keylor led the team in points this season with 41 in 44 games, while Brendan Smith won 14 games and had a .910 SP. The Kelowna Chiefs went 1-5-0 against the Posse in their season series. 

 

 


Devin Jameson had 15 points in nine games, while defenceman Colton Fleming had seven points in 10 games for the North Okanagan Knights. Goalie Josh Hager won one of three games and had a .927 SP with a 2.83 GAA. The Knights went 4-2-0 against the Osoyoos Coyotes in their regular season series.

 

 

Garrett Kurtz had an assist in five playoff games last season for the Osoyoos Coyotes. Hunter Arntsen, who won 12 games, will get his first taste of junior hockey playoff action. The Coyotes went 2-3-1 in their regular season series with the Knights.

 

 


Doug Birks Division

Brady Augot had seven points in eight playoff games last season for the Revelstoke Grizzlies, as did Luke Aston, who played in 11 games. Captain Brady Schwab had five assists in 13 games. Jozef Kuchaslo, the KIJHL’s Top Goalie, won eight of 12 playoff games with 1.49 GAA and a .949 SP with three shutouts.

Head coach Jiri Novak would like to see Augot (14 career points in 25 playoff games) and Aston (20 points in 30 career playoff games) show their experience and help offensively.

“It will be some low scoring games and I’m not just focused on offence. It will be defence first,” said Novak.

The Grizzlies will use rookie Louis Adler in goal with Kuchaslo, as they would like to have both netminders playing well.

“You never know what can happen during the playoffs, we want to have a long run,” said Novak.

The Grizzlies were 6-0 against the Chase Heat in their season series.

 

Bryan Fraser had a goal in the lone playoff game he played in 2022 for the Chase Heat, while Owen Dean played in a game and Braeden Huth played in five. The Heat went 0-5-1 against the Revelstoke Grizzlies this season. 

 

 


Ryan Larsen had six points in seven playoff games last season, and has nine in 20 career games for the Kamloops Storm. Evan Clark had five points in seven games – six in 20 career games. Goalie Colton Phillips-Watts had three wins with a 3.31 GAA and has nine career playoff victories with a 2.34 GAA and a .923 SP. The Storm went 3-2-0-1 in their season series with the Sicamous Eagles.

 

Daniel Kroon led the Eagles with nine points in 11 playoff games last season, while Warren Roberts-Lee had eight in 11 games. Goalie Dylan Marshall had six playoff wins when he played for the Nelson Leafs in 2022 with a .904 SP and a 2.19 GAA. The Eagles were 3-3-0 against the Storm this season.

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