Column: Chiefs post back to back blanks

In his weekly hockey column, Jacob Bestebroer talks about how rare Chilliwack Chiefs shutouts have been until this week.

It took a little longer than 20 seasons, but for the first time while located in Chilliwack, the Chiefs have posted back to back shutouts.

Saturday the Chiefs got a 27 save performance from Matteo Esposito to blank the visiting Victoria Grizzlies 4-0.

Aidan Pelino turned away 18 shots Wednesday as the Chiefs easily handled the Surrey Eagles 6-0 at Prospera Centre.

I can say with full confidence that no Chiefs goaltender has ever had an easier time posting a shutout than Pelino did Wednesday night.

The Eagles have won just once in seven tries this season and look to be in tough to make the playoffs again.

Of the 18 shots Surrey sent Pelino’s way, only one could be considered even remotely dangerous. And that’s being generous.

The same could not be said for Esposito’s performance on Saturday. While things were fairly quiet for him in the game’s final two periods, he faced 17 shots in the first 20 minutes, five or six of which were quality scoring chances.

A few more Chiefs related shutout notes.

Prior to Saturday’s game the last Chiefs shutout was posted by Josh Halpenny in a 3-0 road win against Langley on Oct. 16 2013.

The last Chiefs home shutout was also by Halpenny on March 2, 2013, a 2-0 win over the Cowichan Valley Capitals.

As I’m sure most Chiefs fans know, the Chiefs have welcomed back two former Chiefs to the lineup.

Defenseman Carter Cochrane and forward Mitch Skapski returned last weekend.

Both spent some time in the Western Hockey League since we last saw them in a Chiefs uniform, and both are big additions to this team.

Two seasons ago Cochrane had 16 goals and 47 points with the Chiefs as a 17 year old, so you can imagine what he can do now.

Skapski left the team part way through his first season when he was just starting to find his stride.

He plays with an edge and has the ability to score at this level. Give both of them a little time and I think we’ll start to see the impact they will have.

Two games this weekend, both against the division rival Langley Riverman. Like they did were last season, I expect these teams to be within a few points of each other in the standings for most of the season.

Chilliwack is two points up on the Rivermen right now but have played two more games.

Both teams will be among the four Mainland division teams that make the playoffs so these head to head games are very important and don’t be surprised to see these teams meet in the playoffs.

Chilliwack visits Langley Friday before the two teams meet at Prospera Centre in Chilliwack on Saturday.

For the fourth straight year the BCHL Showcase went off without a hitch at Prospera Centre last weekend.

A huge thank you to all the volunteers who helped out. This event doesn’t happen without you. You outworked everyone there.

Good job.

 

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net

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