Three straight against Spruce Kings
If it’s true that familiarity breeds contempt, the Chilliwack Chiefs and Prince George Spruce Kings will loathe each other by this time next week.
In an odd scheduling quirk, the teams face each other three times over the next six days.
The Chiefs are in Prince George this weekend for games Friday and Saturday night. They’re back at Prospera Centre Wednesday night.
The Chiefs should welcome the more-Sprucies schedule, given their record against PG this season.
The teams have met three times, with Chilliwack winning all three.
The Chiefs have scored 11 goals in those three games while yielding just two.
The last time Chilliwack visited PG, in late November, goalie Mitch Gillam turned in back-to-back shutouts in 6-0 and 2-0 wins.
The most recent meeting was last Friday, and it was a lot tougher for the locals.
The Spruce Kings gave the Chiefs all they could handle the day after the BCHL trade deadline.
Prince George led 2-1 heading into the final minute.
But with Gillam pulled for the extra attacker, newcomer Philip Zielonka put a shot on net, and Spencer Graboski tipped it over Spruce Kings stopper Kirk Thompson to force OT.
In overtime, Zielonka took a cross-ice pass from Alex Perron-Fontaine, and beat Thompson to give Chilliwack the win.
The Chiefs enter the weekend sitting second in the Mainland division at 24-12-1-1.
They trail the Surrey Eagles (24-10-1-3) by two points.
They lead the third place Spruce Kings (19-12-1-6) by five.
Individually, Luke Esposito sits two points off the BCHL scoring lead.
His 52 points in 38 games trails Langley’s Mario Puskarich, who has 54 in 37.
Esposito’s linemate, Austin Plevy, sits eighth in league scoring with 45 points.
New Chief Zielonka is 19th in points, but fifth league-wide in goals.
His 22 strikes is five less than league leaders Puskarich and Adam Tambellini.
It is possible the Chiefs might get a valuable reinforcement in the lineup this weekend, with Josh Hansen close to returning from injury.
Head coach Harvey Smyl thought it likely before Wednesday’s practice, but he was still unsure.
Get a full weekend wrap in Tuesday’s Chilliwack Progress sports section.