Column: Chilliwack Chiefs face Interior division titans on weekend road trip

The Chiefs will have their hands full tustling with the Wenatchee Wild and Penticton Vees

Jacob Bestebroer writes a weekly column during the hockey season discussing the Chilliwack Chiefs, the BCHL and goings-on around the junior A world.

As Chandler Bing (I hope you don’t have to google him) would say, “Could this weekend BE any tougher for the Chiefs?”

The Chiefs take to the road this weekend for games against the Wenatchee Wild Friday and Penticton Vees Saturday.

Chilliwack defeated Wenatchee 4-3 on home ice earlier this season but the Wild are extremely tough at home. Last season on home ice they went undefeated in regulation during the regular season. Their only two losses were in overtime, both of which came at the hands of the Chiefs. They then lost a pair of home games to Chilliwack in the second round playoff series that the Chiefs won in four straight. This year, prior to Wednesday’s game against Vernon they were 8-2-0-0 on home ice.

Special teams could play a big factor in this game. Wenatchee has the league’s best home ice power play with a success rate of 25.4%. They’ve also got a very impressive special teams plus minus of +26 on home ice. They’ve had 63 power plays and have been shorthanded just 37 times.

Chilliwack is 6-6-1-1 on the road this season with a power play that ranks 14th (13.6 per cent) while their penalty kill away from home sits 5th (13.6 per cent). They’ve been shorthanded 78 times while getting just 59 chances with a man advantage for a plus minus rate of minus-19.

Saturday’s game is the second meeting of the season between the Chiefs and Vees. Penticton won the first meeting by a score of 6-3 at the BCHL Showcase in Chilliwack in September.

The Vees are once again the Vees. They recently went through a stretch where they picked up just one win and one tie in seven games but prior to Wednesday’s game in Trail they won four straight during which they outscored their opponents 32-6. Their home record this year is 8-2-1-1. In the five seasons prior to this one, no BCHL team has a better record on home ice (120-24-7-5).

The next home game for the Chiefs is Wednesday against the Surrey Eagles. It’s the fourth meeting of the season between the teams but the first in Chilliwack. Surrey’s won two of the first three games with Chilliwack’s lone win coming in overtime.

The last game, a 3-1 Chiefs loss was an interesting one. The refs struggled that night calling three penalties against the Chiefs after some serious embellishment by Eagles players. One was especially bad.

After the Chiefs had scored to make it 2-1 Eagles, Chiefs forward Jared Turcotte was given a five minute penalty for a blow to the head on Eagles forward Jordan Robert.

I was watching the game at home and even watching on the one camera no apologies feed, it was obvious the call was wrong. Robert stayed down and fooled everyone including the Surrey broadcasters who were quick to call it a cheap shot. Fortunately after the game, the play was reviewed, it was deemed a legal hit to the shoulder and Turcotte did not receive the usual four game suspension that comes with that penalty.

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net

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