By Christian J. Stewart (ISN)
The 2011-2012 Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League (VIJHL) regular season wrapped up on Saturday evening and with the completion of the games, the final playoff picture emerged.
First and foremost of course, the Victoria Cougars, who defeated Oceanside Saturday night 4-2 for their sixteenth win in a row, finished the season with an impressive 36-5-1 record and will enjoy a first round bye, while the six remaining teams will battle it out in a best-of-seven first round series.
The Saanich Braves, who won three straight to end the season, including a big 4-1 win Saturday night against Comox to clinch the second seed, will face-off against the number seven seed Campbell River. The Storm, who defeated Kerry Park 6-5 Friday night in their final game, finished with a 16-25-1 record and will look to upset the Braves in the first round.
On a side note for Victoria and Saanich, Steve Axford of the Cougars and Ty Jones of the Braves headed into final game action tied for the league lead in scoring. Both players had three-point evenings on Saturday and as such, remained tied for the league title at 75 points each and as such, will share the Doug Morton trophy.
The North Division winner Comox Valley Glacier Kings, with a final record of 21-18-3, hold down the third seed and will meet the Kerry Park Islanders (16-21-5) in their first round match-up.
The final first round playoff series will see the number four seed Oceanside Generals (20-20-2) host the fifth seed Peninsula Panthers (17-21-4). The Panthers split their final two games of the season, defeating Comox 7-5 Friday, then losing 7-1 to Kerry Park Friday.
The VIJHL playoffs begin Tuesday February 21st with Comox hosting Kerry Park.