Column: Second round showdown tough to call

As Jacob Bestebroer notes, playoff teams are rarely as evenly matched as the Chillliwack Chiefs and Wenatchee Wild seem to be.

I can’t remember the Chilliwack Chiefs being involved in a playoff series as difficult to predict as their upcoming series against Wenatchee.

The Chiefs have home ice advantage in the best of seven Mainland division final that starts with games tonight (Friday) and Saturday at Prospera Centre.

When you look at the overall regular season stats, you can give the slight edge to the Chiefs.

They finished first in the division with 83 points and the Wild were second with 76.

Chilliwack scored 249 goals compared to the Wild’s 206.

Wenatchee was a little better in goals against, giving up 147 while the Chiefs gave up 155.

The Chiefs power play was a bit better, clicking at 21.1 per cent while the Wild were successful on 18.6 per cent of their man advantages.

No team was better than Wenatchee on the penalty kill (86.7 per cent) but the Chiefs were not far behind (84.6 per cent).

Head to head it was very even as well.

The teams faced each other seven times during the regular season. Wenatchee won four games, including three of four in Wenatchee. Chilliwack won three games including two of three at Prospera Centre.

Each team scored 24 goals in those seven games. In only one of the seven games could you say that a team was very much the better team but that came way back in October in a 4-1 Chiefs win at Prospera Centre.

Head to head, the Wild held a slight advantage in special teams, connecting on six of 24 power plays compared to the Chiefs four for 23.

During the regular season both teams got very good results from their number one goaltender. Chilliwack’s Aidan Pelino finished with a goals against average of 2.54 and a save percentage of .909. Just slightly behind Pelino was the Wild’s Chase Perry with 2.62 and .892.

But here’s the weird thing.

Head to head neither goalie put up numbers close to that. Pelino played six games against the Wild and finished with a 3.90 goals against average and an .869 save percentage.

Perry played five games against Chilliwack and finished with 3.94 and .862.

Chiefs forward Darien Craighead led the way offensively against the Wild, scoring five goals and 10 points in the seven games. On the other side, the Wild got a goal and nine assists from their top offensive player, Brendan Harris.

As mentioned earlier, the Chiefs have home ice advantage and the series will follow the 2-2-1-1-1 format.

On the season the Chiefs were 23-4-2-0.

The Wild were 18-7-2-2.

For that reason I’m giving the edge to the Chiefs and saying they’ll take the series in six games.

It will be confirmed over the weekend but expect there to be a Chiefs broadcast from games three and four in Wenatchee. You’ll be able to listen to the games online, the link is on the right side of the Chiefs home page.

You can also listen to it while watching the games on fasthockey.com (pay per view).

Find more playoff info online at chilliwackchiefs.net or bchl.ca