Column: Penalty box parade

If watching special teams is something you enjoy at hockey games then this year’s Chilliwack Chiefs team is one you want to watch.

In the 48 games they’ve played this season, there have been a total of 500 power play opportunities. The next highest is 452 in the 47 games played by the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

Not only do the Chiefs lead the BCHL in times shorthanded, they also lead in power play opportunities. Their lead in number of power play chances is minimal as four other teams are within five of the Chiefs total of 227.

On the flip side their lead in number of times shorthanded is startling. The Chiefs have been shorthanded 273 times. The next highest are the Bulldogs at 228.

The Penticton Vees have been shorthanded the fewest number of times at 152, followed by the Merritt Centennials at 154.

When you take each team’s total number of power plays and subtract times shorthanded, you come up with a number we’ll call special teams plus-minus, and the Chiefs rank 16th out of 16 teams at minus 46.

The Vees rank first at plus 50 followed by the Surrey Eagles at plus 42.

So what does this all mean? Tough to say. Not always is there a direct correlation between special teams plus-minus rankings and winning percentage.

Despite ranking last at minus 46, the Chiefs have the sixth best winning percentage in the league.

That minus 46 is also tempered somewhat by the fact that they have the league’s best penalty killing at over 85 per cent.

Ranking high in special teams plus-minus also does not automatically lead to a good record.

This was proven last season by the Trail Smoke Eaters who led the league at plus 47 but finished last in wins with 11.

Having said all that, we can look at two recent examples where special teams chances were definitely a factor. In the Chiefs two losses last weekend, they had a combined total of five chances on the power play while they were shorthanded 17 times. If you watched the games and are thinking, ‘Sure but the refereeing stank,’ I’ll give you that. But the fact is it’s tough to win games when giving the opposition that many more opportunities with the man advantage.

The Chiefs are back on home ice for a pair of games this weekend.

Friday night the West Kelowna Warriors are in town followed by the Mainland Division leading Surrey Eagles Saturday.

Purchase two tickets for Friday’s game and you get a free ticket for Saturday. Note that this offer is not available when purchasing tickets online

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