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Chilliwack Chiefs sweep Langley Rivermen in first round of BCHL playoffs

Chiefs first team in BCHL to advance to second round after tight battle with Rivermen
Chilliwack Chiefs graduating player Matt Argentina battles for the puck against Morgan Brady in game two at the Chilliwack Coliseum on Saturday (April 6). (Ryleigh Mulvihill/Black Press Media)

The Chilliwack Chiefs swept the Langley Rivermen on Tuesday (April 9) in four games to advance to the second round of the British Columbia Hockey League (BCHL) playoffs.

Four games in five nights saw three dramatic finishes in overtime, but the Chiefs closed out the series on Tuesday night with a solid 5-2 win. Chilliwack are the first team in the BCHL to advance so they will get a long rest before starting the next series against a currently unknown opponent.

Chilliwack (the second seed) and Langley (the seventh seed) created an exciting series between two rival hockey cities.

The first game on Friday (April 5) saw the Chiefs gain a 2-0 lead in the second period. Disaster struck for the Chiefs in net when Ottawa Senators draft pick Vladimir Nikitin left the game with an injury after Langley scored twice in less than two minutes. He was replaced by Austin McNicholas who gave up a goal almost immediately. It was 3-2 Rivermen heading into the third period. Defenceman Hunter McInnes tied the game three minutes into the third period, but Langley star Luke Ashton gave his team the one goal lead again. Chilliwack’s Mateo Mrsic tied the game with four minutes left sending game one into overtime.

In the playoffs the BCHL transitions from three-versus-three play in a 10-minute period to five versus five in a standard 20-minute period. An evenly matched period with shots off the posts for both teams was ended when Brady Milburn scored his first of the playoffs. Chilliwack took game one 5-4.

The second game on Saturday (April 6) was an emotional affair. The Chiefs honoured long-time academic advisor and billet Ross “Rosco” Beebe. Players from the past as well as friends and family were in attendance. “Do it for Rosco” was the theme of the night, and the Chiefs did just that. A low-scoring game saw former Chief Dalton MacGillivray break the ice in the second to put Langley up by one. Nico Grabas responded in the third to tie the game. The first overtime resulted in nothing but a tight battle, and the second overtime continued that. The hero this time for the Chiefs was senior player Matt Argentina. Chilliwack took the second game 2-1. The playing of the last post to honour Rosco’s military career echoed throughout the building as fans were exiting.

Game three on Monday (April 8) shifted to George Preston Arena in Langley. Stone Rolston got it started early for the Chiefs by scoring only two minutes in. Zamboni troubles in between the first and second period resulted in the players sitting for upwards of an hour. Langley scored two goals in the second period after the delay to bring their fans back into the game. With Chiefs goalie McNicholas pulled late in the third period a last ditch effort by Chilliwack to tie was successful. With 2.3 seconds left Caleb Elfering tied it at two to send the game into overtime once again. At almost 14 minutes into the first overtime Willyam Gendron secured the 3-2 win to take a commanding 3-0 lead.

The final game of the series on Tuesday (April 9) did not need overtime. The Chiefs organized a fan bus to Langley that arrived at George Preston loud, passionate and ready for a win. The Chiefs gained a 2-0 lead in the first period and never looked back. Goals by five different players was too much for Langley to handle and Chilliwack cruised to a series victory.

The Chiefs will await the winners of the other three series in the Coastal Division to determine seeding. Second round tickets will go on sale Friday (April 12) at 10 a.m. at

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About the Author: Ryleigh Mulvihill

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