If the Chilliwack Chiefs want to go on a deep playoff run, they’ll need more out of their top guns.
In a seven-game first round win over the Langley Rivermen, Chilliwack’s big three of Matt Holmes, Harrison Blaisdell and Kevin Wall combined for two goals and six points.
Holmes, who led the Chiefs in regular season scoring (54-28-40-68) didn’t hit the score-sheet at all.
Head coach Brian Maloney admitted it’s a problem.
“One hundred per cent they’ve got to be better and they know that,” the bench boss said. “They’re young kids, and nobody is going to put more pressure on themselves than them, but they are hockey players and if they want to move forward in hockey they have to learn how to play all the time and be consistent.
Maloney said before the playoffs that depth players would make the difference, and he was spot on.
Jacques Bouquot led Chilliwack in goals in round one with four and Maloney felt the Connecticut native was his most consistent forward.
“It’s nice to see good kids get rewarded,” Maloney said. “He’s not only a smart kid but he’s phenomenal on the bench. He’s positive and vocal and he’s backing it up on the ice.
“He says all the right things and he goes out there and does all the right things. He knows when to give pucks up and move pucks forward and he had a big series for us.”
Hats off to Cole Donhauser and Skyler Brind’Amour as well, co-leaders for the Chiefs in round one points with five apiece.
And while they didn’t produce a ton of offence, the fourth line of Clark Nelson, Chase Nameth and Jacob Slipec tilted the ice in Chilliwack’s favour every time they hopped over the boards.
They spent most of their shifts in the Langley end of the ice and generated momentum with physical hard-charging play.
“They just worked hard and when you do that results will come, and because they were chasing pucks down and finishing their checks I was able to play them more,” Maloney said. “When they sit back trying to make plays with the puck, that’s when they struggle. But they knew their role in the Langley series and they were a massive reason why we were able to win in the end.”