Chilliwack Chiefs vs Vernon Vipers in BCHL battle

A mid-week matchup pits the Chiefs against the top team in the Interior conference.

The Chilliwack Chiefs and Vernon Vipers provide a marquee mid-week BCHL matchup tonight, facing off at Prospera Centre.

Puck drop is 7 p.m. as the Chiefs try to take a bite out of the Interior conference leaders.

Vernon is 12-4-0-2, good for top spot in a hugely competitive division that has six of the seven teams separated by just six points.

Eighteen year old Brett Stapley leads the Vipers in scoring with 12 goals and 25 points in 18 games. Jimmy Lambert has nine goals and 24 points in 17 games for Vernon, which has the league’s third best offence. They are also among the league’s stingiest defensive clubs, trailing only Penticton in goals against (36 to 35).

Eighteen year old Ty Taylor and 20 year old Anthony Yamnitsky have split the goaltending duties and both have performed very well.

Yamnitsky, who faltered in Wenatchee last year, has five wins in eight outings with a 1.64 goals-against average and .942 save percentage.

Chilliwack is coming off back-to-back road wins over Island opponents last weekend, topping Victoria 3-0 and Cowichan Valley 4-1 to give them eight wins in their last 11 outings.

At 9-8-1-1, the Chiefs sit third in the Mainland division standings, one point back of the Prince George Spruce Kings and six behind the first place Langley Rivermen.

Chilliwack is eighth in the BCHL in goals for with 62 in 19 games (3.26 per game).

Will Calverley leads the team in scoring with nine goals and 21 points in 19 games.

Defenceman Bryan Allbee is a surprise second on the list with two goals and 14 points in 18 games.

Defensively, the team appears to be rounding into shape, though only four teams have been leakier than the Chiefs, who’ve surrendered 66 (3.47 per game).

Goaltender Daniel Chenard checked back into the lineup last weekend after missing several games with a concussion. He pitched a shutout versus Victoria, lowering his goals-against average to 3.44 and raising his save percentage to .886.

Mathieu Caron has seen action in 14 games with a 2.96 GAA and .893 SP.

Following Wednesday night’s game, Chilliwack will head to Surrey (9-8-1-1) for a Friday nighter vs the Eagles followed by a Saturday home date with the Coquitlam Express (3-13-1-1).

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