Column: Mainland mayhem possible in BCHL stretch run

Jacob Bestebroer breaks down the schedules of the Mainland division’s four playoff contenders.

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

Just six points separate the top four teams in the BCHL’s Mainland Division. While the Coquitlam Express can still make the playoffs they won’t crack the top four.

Here’s a look at each of the top four team’s remaining schedule.

Langley’s remaining schedule is the most difficult of the four teams.

Thirteen of their remaining 23 games are home games and they willl play Mainland division opponents 15 times, including four each against the Surrey Eagles and Prince George Spruce Kings. Eight of those games are on home ice.

They have just two games left against Coquitlam, a team that has won just six times so far this season. Those games may not be as easy as it sounds as half of Coquitlam’s wins have come against Langley.

They only play three games in three days once.

They finish the season with a Friday game in Coquitlam before hosting Merritt and Prince George. Their road opponents have earned an average 1.12 points per game while their home opposition have earned slightly less (1.09).

Overall the average number is 1.10.

The Chilliwack Chiefs 24 remaining games are split evenly between home and away. Fifteen of their 24 games will be played against Mainland foes. They have three games left against both Langley including tonight (Friday) in Langley, and Coquitlam.

They’ll face Surrey four times and Prince George five times including three times in Chilliwack. Twice they will play three games in three days but both of those sets of games are split between home and away.

They host Coquitlam Jan. 23 and the next night they host Penticton, their toughest remaining home game, before traveling to Coquitlam on the afternoon of the 14th.

Feb. 16 they host Merritt before playing in Alberni Valley the next night and Powell River Sunday afternoon.

The Chiefs remaining home schedule is slightly tougher than their road games. On home ice their remaining opponents have earned on average 1.12 points per game. Their road opponents are slightly lower at 1.03. Overall their opponents have earned 1.07 points per game.

Despite having a few games left against the top teams in the league and playing 14 of their remaining 25 games on the road, overall Prince George has an easier schedule than both Langley and Chilliwack.

Their remaining opponents have earned just .98 points per game.

That average is dragged down by five games against Coquitlam and two against Cowichan Valley, both of whom have earned just .47 points per game.

They do play the top two teams in the league, Penticton and Vernon both home and away.

They have an interesting February schedule. They start the month with five straight home games before finishing the season with five straight on the road.

The Eagles will also face opponents who have earned an average of .98 points per game. They’ll play 11 of 24 games at home and 13 games against division opponents.

They’ll play three games in three days once, right at the end of the season with stops in Nanaimo Cowichan and Victoria.

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net

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