Column: Mainland division teams jockey for playoff positioning

In his BCHL column, Jacob Bestebroer sees Chilliwack, Langley and Surrey battling down to the wire.

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

A near perfect weekend by the Chilliwack Chiefs has created quite the log jam in the BCHL’s Mainland

division.

After a pair of 3-2 wins over Surrey, and a 7-4 win against the West Kelowna Warriors, the Chiefs now have 56 points with six games left.

Monday’s win in Surrey came in overtime, giving the Eagles a single point, leaving them with 56 points as well.

The Eagles, who have lost seven straight,have five games left.

Prior to the their game in Merritt Wednesday, which was after my deadline for this article, the Langley Rivermen also had 56 points with six games left. The Prince George Spruce Kings haven’t quite clinched first place in the division but with 66 points they will finish first, leaving the other three teams to battle for spots two through four.

Looking at each of the three team’s remaining games, it’s impossible to guess how it will end up.

The Chiefs play Merritt at home tonight (Friday) before traveling to Alberni Valley Saturday and Powell River Sunday afternoon. They’ll finish the season with a trip to Nanaimo next Wednesday and backto-back home games against Prince George on Feb. 23 and 24.

To the best of my knowledge that will be the first time the Chiefs have ever played the same team on back to back nights at home during the regular season.

Langley will host Penticton and Coquitlam this weekend before finishing with three games in three nights next weekend in Coquitlam and then home to Merritt and Prince George.

The Eagles will host Prince George and Penticton this weekend before travelingto the Island for three games in three nights in Nanaimo, Cowichan and Victoria next weekend.

Looking at all that info, if I had to guess, I would say Surrey finishes fourth while the Chiefs and Rivermen will finish second and third and face each other in round one.

Should the Chiefs end up tied with either Langley or Surrey, there is a good chance the tie breaker would go to the Chiefs.

The first tie breaker is total wins. For Langley and Chilliwack to end up tied and the Chiefs not to get the tie breaker, it would take Langley earning six points on three wins in their final six games an the Chiefs to earn one point by either tying or losing each of their six remaining games in overtime. That seems unlikely.

It’s not as easy to predict which team would get the tie breaker should the Chiefs end up tied in points with Surrey. With six games left the Eagles have one fewer win than the Chiefs so that’s an advantage to the Chiefs.

Should they end up tied in points and total wins, the Chiefs would get the tie breaker because they have more wins in head to head games this season.

What happens if all three teams end up tied in points? Well there seems to be some debate on that so I’ll have to get back to you in next week’s column, once I get a concrete answer.

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net

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