Chiefs roll into Island road trip
The Chilliwack Chiefs have put together a nice run of results, going undefeated in their last six games with the only blemish being a 4-4 tie versus Coquitlam.
In last week’s column I called that tie one of the most exciting games ever played at Prospera Centre.
Four days later, the Chiefs erased a 3-0 deficit in the final six minutes of a game versus Langley and won 4-3. Overall, maybe not as exciting, but that stunning finish goes down as the wildest I’ve ever seen in our rink.
For whatever its worth, these recent positive results have put the Chiefs into 18th place on the latest Canadian junior A rankings. The merit of these rankings can be debated, but it’s nice to see the Chiefs on that list.
Things now get a whole lot tougher for Chilliwack.
They play their next seven games on the road beginning with three games in two and a half days this weekend.
Games Friday in Nanaimo and Saturday in Alberni Valley are followed by a Sunday afternoon game in Powell River, and all three are tough places to play.
Nanaimo hasn’t had the start to the season many expected. They’ve earned just 13 points in 11 games so far but have won two straight including a 4-2 win against the high flying Penticton Vees last weekend.
There is one thing you can count on from any game involving Nanaimo head coach Mike Vandekamp, and that is that his team will do their best to pay tribute to the early to mid 1970s style of tough hockey.
Saturday’s game could be a wild one. Alberni Valley is off to a good start with 16 points in 14 games, but the interesting stat is that they lead the league in goals scored (52) and have allowed the second most goals against (59).
Powell River is always a tough place to play. The Kings are not off to a good start this season. They’ve been to the last three league final series, losing all three, but so far this season have won just four of their first 14 games.
For the Chiefs to have a successful weekend, their top line of Austin Plevy, Josh Hansen and Luke Esposito will have to continue their recent torrid pace.
Plevy and Hansen lead the team with seven goals and Esposito, who has a 10 game point streak going, leads the team and sits fourth in league scoring with 17 points.
Maybe more important for success this weekend will be the play of the unsung hero type players.
To win on the road you need your energy/grinder type players to play well, and the play of guys like Tanner Cochrane and Brodyn Neilsen will be key to earning points.
The Chiefs then make stops in Vernon, Coquitlam, Penticton and Trail before returning home to the best fan support in the BCHL on Wednesday Nov. 7 versus the Langley Rivermen.
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