Alberni Valley Bulldogs players celebrate at the final buzzer after defeating the Nanaimo Clippers 2-1 in Wednesday's Game 5 at Nanaimo's Frank Crane Arena.

BCHL Playoffs: Bulldogs set to face off against Victoria in second round

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs open their second round of the B.C. Hockey League Coastal Conference playoffs tonight (March 22) in Victoria.

The Alberni Valley Bulldogs are on to their next B.C. Hockey League playoff series, after pulling off a stunning upset against the Nanaimo Clippers. Down 2-0 in the best-of-five series, the Bulldogs came back to win three straight and eliminate their central Vancouver Island rivals. The Bulldogs beat Nanaimo 2-1 last Wednesday on the road to win the series.

Bulldogs’ team captain Ryan Lough said his team had the advantage of speed over the Clippers. “We knew coming in that if we used our speed that they wouldn’t be able to keep up with us. That’s what we tried to do the whole series, was keep our feet moving and keep using our speed.”

The Victoria Grizzlies pulled off an overtime win against Powell River Kings to earn their spot in the Coastal Conference semi-finals.

The teams have agreed to play an alternating schedule due to a conflict with Victoria’s arena. Game 1 is tonight in Victoria. Game 2 will go Saturday (March 23) in Port Alberni. Game 3 returns to Victoria, Game 4 (if necessary) will be in Port Alberni and Game 5 (if necessary) will be in Victoria. Tickets are still available at the Bulldogs’ box office for Saturday night’s game at Weyerhaeuser Arena. Game time is 7 p.m.

Lough is optimistic about the team’s chances of moving forward in the off-season. “We feel we’ve got the right mix of guys in [the locker room] and a lot of heart and a lot of character,” he said.

“We feel that we can compete with anyone in this league and we’re going to hopefully go a long way.”

Listen to the games live at www.933thepeak.com or follow them on the BCHL website, in the Scoreboard link. The Alberni Valley News will update scores on our Facebook site too, at www.facebook.com/Alberni-Valley-News.

With files from Greg Sakaki, sports editor, Nanaimo News Bulletin