Column: Chiefs in charge of their destiny

Chilliwack Chiefs are in control to win their second straight regular season mainland division championship.

“1985 called. They want their hockey game back.” – Lame joke (possibly by me) overheard at Prospera Centre Wednesday after the Chiefs 7-6 overtime win over the Wenatchee Wild.

As was expected for the previous month, Wednesday’s game versus the Wild was extremely important in the race for first place in the BCHL’s mainland division.

A seven-point cushion the Chiefs had at one point had been whittled down to two thanks in large part to the eight straight wins the Wild brought with them to Prospera Centre.

What was not expected was the way this game played out. In the pre-game show of Wednesday’s broadcast, being the hockey expert I am, I talked about how these were two of the best defensive teams in the BCHL and how they ranked first and second in penalty killing. Obviously this was going to be a low scoring game with very few if any goals scored on the power play.

Wrong.

Each team had two power play goals and it matched a 9-4 win over Coquitlam in December for most combined goals in a Chiefs game this season.  To further explain the joke at the top of this column, this season there have been an average of 6.89 goals scored in each BCHL game. In games involving the Chiefs this season the average 6.79. In Wild games this season the average is just 6.06. During the 1984-85 season the average was 12.01.

It was one of those games that the fans loves but the coaches hated.

It also put the Chiefs in control to win their second straight regular season mainland division championship. With a three-point lead now over Wenatchee, the Chiefs control their own destiny. Eight points in their final six games, no matter what the Wild do, will give the Chiefs first place. They’ve already guaranteed themselves no worse than second which means they will have home ice advantage in the opening round of the playoffs against either Coquitlam or Langley.

Still a lot of work to be done, but I like the Chiefs’ chances.

The Chiefs will play three games in three nights this weekend. Friday they travel to Coquitlam who they face in three of their final six games. Chilliwack is a perfect 4-0 against Coquitlam this season and have outscored them 29-11.

They will host the Vernon Vipers Saturday night. Vernon has struggled this season and with a record of 22-28-02 heading into the final weekend they hold just a two-point lead over the Merritt Centennials in the battle for the interior division’s fourth and final playoff spot.

Sunday the Cowichan Valley Capitals visit Prosper Centre. Game time is 5 p.m. The Chiefs will be wearing a special jersey for just this game. The jerseys will be auctioned off during the game with proceeds going to the Fraser Valley Health Foundation in support of Chilliwack General Hospital. You can get a sneak peek at the jerseys on the Chiefs website.

As with all back to back home games, fans can purchase two tickets for Saturday’s game and receive a free ticket for Sunday’s game.