Column: November numbers point in right direction for Chilliwack Chiefs

The BCHL team has shaped up defensively after a disastrous start, but the offence still needs work.

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

Home ice wins for the Chilliwack Chiefs against division rivals Surrey (3-2 in double overtime) and Coquitlam (2-1) last weekend have tightened things up even more in the BCHL’s Mainland division.

The Chiefs enter this weekend in fourth place but are only six points back of the division-leading Langley Rivermen, with a game in hand.

The Chiefs were 5-6-0-1 in November. That included three visits to Surrey and road games in Wenatchee and Penticton.

They scored 40 goals in those 12 games, but 14 came in a pair of home wins against cellar dwellers Coquitlam and Cowichan. Offensively they could have been better, and with the recent addition of PJ Marrocco, I think they will be.

Back in September when the Chiefs allowed 41 goals in winning just one of their first eight games, a lot of heat was directed at the goaltending. But it wasn’t just a goaltending thing, it was a team defense thing, and things have turned around.

The Chiefs allowed just 33 goals in November, backed by goaltenders Daniel Chenard and Mathieu Caron.

Chenard’s recent numbers are excellent. In his last 15 appearances, he has a goals-against average of 2.14 and a save percentage of .925. If he had those numbers over the course of the entire season, he’d rank fourth in both categories.

Over his last 13 appearances, Caron has a SP of .909 and a GAA of 2.39.

The Chiefs are in Coquitlam tonight (Friday), looking for their 25th straight win, including playoffs, against the Express. Since making a coaching change, replacing Barry Wolff with Jason Fortier, Coquitlam has played better with a tie against Langley, the aforementioned 2-1 loss here in Chilliwack and a 6-2 home ice win against Victoria.

Saturday is Chilliwack’s final home game before the Christmas break and the team’s annual Teddy Bear/Toque toss game as they host the Alberni Valley Bulldogs. Fans are encouraged to bring a new stuffed animal or toque and toss it on the ice after the Chiefs score their first goal.

All contributions will then be donated to Chilliwack Community Services.

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