Chiefs get Spruce Kings in second round

Columnist Jacob Bestebroer examines the matchup in advance of Friday's game one at Prospera Centre.

The Chilliwack Chiefs will face the Prince George Spruce Kings in round two of the BCHL playoffs. The best of seven series begins in Chilliwack Friday and Saturday night (both 7 p.m. starts).

After the Chiefs ended their first round series against the Coquitlam Express Monday night, I got asked multiple times which team I wanted to see the Chiefs play in round two. From a hockey standpoint I didn’t really care about Prince George versus Langley.

You can make up a list of pros and cons for facing either of those two teams, but for the sake of fans who make the effort to attend Chiefs road games it would have been nice to see Langley.

I say that after seeing more than 100 Chiefs supporters make the trip to Coquitlam last Saturday. Those fans made a difference at that game and also gave a clinic on how to cheer on your team at a hockey game.

So what to expect from Prince George?

I expect to see a more balanced attack than what we saw from Coquitlam. They don’t have the top end talent that Coquitlam had, but they do have six or seven guys on their top three lines that can chip in offensively.

They are a defense first team that plays a lot of tight close games.

They went exclusively with goaltender Jesse Jenks in round one versus Langley. I expect to see a lot of him in this round as well.

Something to keep an eye on is the health of the Spruce Kings defence.

They were forced to use two affiliated players on defense in game six Tuesday night.

It’s playoffs so there won’t be any details on who is in or who is out till close to game time Friday night.

I doubt we’ll see anything different in round two from the Chiefs.

Their success in round one was a result of, in no particular order, solid goaltending, team depth and speed. Opposing teams cannot key in on one Chiefs player or line.

As I said earlier the Spruce Kings will come into this series with a defensive mind-set and will try to frustrate the Chiefs.

Coquitlam tried this as well and there were short periods of time where the Chiefs could not get going offensively. But they stayed patient and stuck to their plan. They’ll need to do this against Prince George as well.

Predicting is difficult. Things don’t always go as planned.

I think the goaltending in this series is very evenly matched.

Both teams have two very good goalies and while one team will surely get better goaltending than the other, it’s impossible to predict.

I think the Chiefs group of defenceman has the edge on the Spruce Kings defense but it’s close.

Injuries may swing the balance in this area but we won’t know for sure who is healthy enough to play till Friday.

At forward is where the Chiefs should have the edge. They have three lines that can score regularly and I think this is what gives the Chiefs the advantage.

Prediction: Chiefs in six.

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