The Wenatchee Wild have been a beastly home opponent since they arrived in the BCHL, going 101-22-7-3 at the Town Toyota Centre for a win percentage of .755.
One team to have good luck in Washington State is the Chilliwack Chiefs. In 13 all-time visits to Wenatchee the Chiefs have come away with seven wins and six losses, including Saturday’s 2-1 shootout victory.
There may be absolutely nothing to it, but it’s a fun stat to ponder.
“Well for whatever reason some teams struggle against certain teams,” said Chilliwack bench boss Brian Maloney. “Look at us against Coquitlam this year. Langley plays them well, where we struggle against them for whatever reason, yet we’ve had our way with Langley this year.
“I think it’s a combination of teams matching up well against another and part of it is mental. If I were to guess it’s because both Wenatchee and Chilliwack have been fairly offensive over the years. I think Wenatchee has done a nice job putting up numbers against teams that defend well, but when Wenatchee and Chilliwack get together it’s usually two high power teams going at it.”
Saturday’s game saw Chilliwack out-shot 28-23 by the Wild (26-17-2-3).
Chiefs goalie Daniel Chenard out-dueled his counterpart, Cal Sandquist, saving his best work for the shootout.
Five Wenatchee players had a try and Matt Gosiewski was the only one to beat him.
Ex-Wild forward Jacques Bouquot earned a measure of revenge against his former team, collecting one of Chilliwack’s two shootout goals, with Carter Wilkie scoring the winner. Ethan Bowen scored the Chiefs regulation time goal on a penalty shot.
“We had to jump on a bus late after our game on Friday (vs Merritt). We didn’t get to bed until 5 a.m. Saturday morning and the guys got up and put together a solid effort that night,” Maloney said. “When you don’t have your legs your brain has to work that much more. You have to make sure you’re managing the puck in crucial areas. We were doing that for the most part which is why we were able to limit their opportunities.
“And Daniel (Chenard) is really starting to find his game which will make us that much stronger going forward.”
Chilliwack beat two very tough Interior conference foes on the weekend, topping the Merritt Centennials (28-13-4-2) in overtime on Friday.
Matt Holmes had the game winning goal in that one, a 3-2 triumph at Prospera Centre.
Harrison Blaisdell and Brett Willits scored regulation time goals and Chenard turned aside 31 Centennials shots.
Chilliwack needed to win to stay ahead of two teams nipping at their heels.
The Chiefs (34-12-1-0) continue to hold down first place overall in the BCHL standings with a two point lead over the Penticton Vees (32-13-1-2).
They remain five points head of the Prince George Spruce Kings (29-12-1-5) in the Mainland division standings after PG beat the Coquitlam Express twice over the weekend.
Chilliwack has a mid-week matchup coming up as the Langley Rivermen skate into town for a Wednesday nighter (7 p.m.) at Prospera Centre.