Chilliwack Chiefs try to find footing in early season play

It’s been a stop and start beginning to the BCHL season for the junior A club.

The Chilliwack Chiefs had a mixed bag of weekend results, splitting games against Mainland division rivals Prince George and Coquitlam.

The junior A club hosted the Spruce Kings in their home opener Friday, blowing out the defending BCHL champs by a 6-2 count at the Chilliwack Coliseum.

Ethan Bowen had three goals in the win.

Arlo Merritt had two and Peter Reynolds added a power play snipe as Chilliwack snapped a three game skid.

Making his first start in goal since suffering a knee injury last November, Mathieu Caron was razor sharp, stopping 27 of 29 pucks that were sent his way.

“He’s a quick goaltender and he’s healthy and he looked sharp,” said Chilliwack head coach Brian Maloney. “Now it’s just about managing his playing time a little bit.”

Caron was back in the cage Saturday for a road game versus the Coquitlam Express, testing himself in a back-to-back situation.

This time he was bested by Chilliwack native Clay Stevenson. Coquitlam’s keeper turned aside 31 shots in a 3-2 win.

Bowen and Cooper Moore beat him in the first period, and he kept the Chiefs at bay for the last 45:53, earning his third win in three appearances so far this season.

“It was a pretty good game where we competed hard,” Maloney said. “Both goalies faced some grade A opportunities, but we out-chanced them and had our chances to win.

“We just hit a wall where we couldn’t make anything happen offensively, and they hung around long enough to get a big goal.”

Tyler Schleppe had two first period tallies for the Express and Noah De La Durantaye scored the winning goal on a power play at 16:04 of period three.

Caron faced 31 shots and stopped 28.

His crew comes out of the weekend with a record of 2-4-0.

They have back to back home games on the weekend, hosting the Wenatchee Wild Friday and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs Saturday.

Both games are 7 p.m. starts at the Chilliwack Coliseum.

“I’m pretty happy with where we’re at. I don’t measure success by wins and losses at this level,” Maloney said. “I look at it on a developmental level and we’ve come a long way over the last few weeks from where we were.

“Obviously I’d like a few more wins, but I know that we’re not going to be the team we are now a couple months down the road and that’s what I care about.”

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