Column: Chilliwack Chiefs survive busy schedule stretch

Columnist Jacob Bestebroer says the team played a lot of hockey in not many days and emerged in good shape.

  • Oct. 28, 2016 6:00 a.m.

I can’t imagine how tough it would be to have to play six hockey games in nine days. That’s what the Chilliwack Chiefs recently had to do and I think they have to be happy with the results. They started with convincing home ice wins over the Vernon Vipers and Alberni Valley Bulldogs. They then traveled to Vernon where they lost in double overtime.  Goaltender Mark Sinclair was excellent in this game and gave his team a chance to win.The next night in Prince George, a 4-1 loss was the Chiefs first loss to Prince George in close to two calendar years. Saturday’s game at Prospera Centre against the Wenatchee Wild was a battle for first place in the Mainland division. For the Wild, it was their third road game in three nights. For the Chiefs it was their fifth game in eight days. It would be understandable if the game was a bit sluggish.It was not.From the opening faceoff it was obvious that we were watching two of the best and fastest teams in the BCHL.   The only difference through the first half of the game was special teams. The Wild scored on their first three power plays to build up a 3-0 lead. When they added an even strength goal to make it 4-0 just over seven minutes into the second period, things looked extremely bleak. But what followed for the game’s final 33 minutes was arguably the best we’ve seen the Chiefs play this season. They came up a bit short but they did score the game’s final three goals. I’m not exaggerating when I say they had at least six grade A chances to tie and win the game in the third period. I think the strong finish to Saturdays’ game put them in the right frame of mind for Sunday afternoon’s game in Merritt. The final score, 4-3 in favor of the Chiefs doesn’t tell the story. Chilliwack was very much the better team in this game. Captain Jordan Kawaguchi scored three times in this game giving him 12 on the season. The three goals gives him 94 in his Chiefs career and moved him past Adam Powell into second place all time. He’s now just seven back of the Chiefs all-time leader Doug Ast. Just one game for the Chiefs this weekend and it goes tonight (Friday) at Prospera Centre. All fans will have a chance to take part in an intermission paper air plane toss contest. The winner will win airfare for two to go watch the Chiefs play in Powell River on Nov. 6. The trip also includes one night in a hotel. Prizes are courtesy of Jiffy Lube and Pacific Airways.