Column: Mainland mix tight at the top

As Jacob Bestebroer notes in this week's BCHL column, the Mainland division has four good teams battling for first place.

The Chiefs completed a not so easy three games in less than 48 hours weekend with four out of a possible six points. Fortunately for the Chiefs the four points earned came against Mainland division opponents.

Road wins over Surrey (6-1 on Friday) and Langley (4-2 on Sunday) sandwiched a disappointing 5-1 home ice loss to the Penticton Vees Saturday.

The two teams had played an epic overtime game won by the Vees 2-1 just a few weeks prior to Saturday’s game, but this one was decided early. It was 2-0 Vees just 90 seconds into the game and it was 4-0 by the end of a first period that saw the Vees out-shoot the Chiefs 25-9.

The Chiefs were much better in the game’s final two periods but coming back from a four goal deficit against Penticton is nearly impossible.

Sunday afternoon in Langley the Chiefs scored all four of their goals in the third period to erase a 2-0 deficit and pick up their first win in three tries against the Rivermen.

Individually, a few players stood out to me.

First year forward Kohen Olischefski was very good and scored a goal in each of the three games. Olischefski’s offensive abilities are no surprise. Last season at Yale Academy in Abbotsford he had 71 points including 29 goals in 28 games.

Forwards Kale Kane and Jake Smith also played well. Kane picked up three assists and his gritty style of play was a pain in the opposition’s side in each game.

Defenceman Connor  McCarthy had a good weekend as well, playing a lot of minutes against some of the opposition’s top forwards.

Going into this weekend’s action just one point separates the top four teams in the Mainland division. Langley leads the way with 14 point followed by Coquitlam, Chilliwack and Wenatchee who are all just one point back.

The Chiefs tweaked their roster again this week, moving 19 year old forward Thomas Dunleavy to the Brockville Braves of the Central Junior A League in Ontario while adding 18 year old defenceman Nolan Zweep from the junior B Osoyoos Coyotes.

The moves leave the Chiefs with a more balanced roster of seven defencemen and 13 forwards. The move also allows Zweep, who had seven assists in eight games with the Coyotes this season to play closer to his home town of Abbotsford.

Two tough road games for the Chiefs this weekend who make their first of two trips this season to Vancouver Island.

Saturday the Chiefs are in Port Alberni to face the Alberni Valley Bulldogs.

The Bulldogs (4-6-0-0) aren’t off to a great start this season but are always tough on home ice.

Sunday afternoon the Chiefs visit the Nanaimo Clippers. The Clippers (7-5-0-0) have three of the top six scorers in the league.  Sheldon Rempal, Matthew Hoover, and Devin Brosseau have combined to score 26 of the Clippers 48 goals this season.

The Chiefs return to home ice on Wednesday October 21st when they host the Wenatchee Wild.

 

jb@chilliwackchiefs.net