Wednesday’s 4-1 home ice victory over the Wenatchee Wild was the best game the Chilliwack Chiefs have played this season and equal credit needs to go to both the players and the coaching staff.
The Wild are a very quick structured team that sticks to defensive systems.
They hope to capitalize on the mistakes that their systems force the opposition into making. Part of their plan is to take away the walls on opposition break outs.
The problem for them Wednesday was that that was exactly what the Chiefs were expecting and they were prepared perfectly for it.
The Chiefs executed breakouts through the middle of the ice and the Wild were never able to find the counter move to stop it.
Credit to the coaching staff for having the players ready and able to execute the game plan.
With starting goaltender Aidan Pelino out for up to two weeks with a leg injury, Matteo Esposito will get the bulk of starts in goal and he certainly was up for the challenge on Wednesday.
He only faced 27 shots but several of them were from in close, including three during a lengthy Wild two man advantage midway through the third period.
The line of Jordan Kawaguchi, Vimal Sukumaran and Darien Craighead was at their best. Sukumaran scored twice to give him a league high 13 on the season.
All three of these guys are equally good at setting up plays as they are at scoring goals.
There are some good offensive lines in the BCHL this year. So far this season, the Penticton Vees top line of Tyson Jost, Scott Conway and Easton Brodzinski has combined to score 34 goals and 70 points.
The Nanaimo Clippers top trio of Sheldon Rempal, Matthew Hoover and Devin Brosseau have 30 goals and 70 points.
The Chiefs new top, should they stay together are comparable to those two lines.
When the Wenatchee Wild defeated the Chiefs 4-0 in an exhibition game earlier this season at Prospera Centre, they refused to send out their players that were selected among the games three stars.
That wasn’t a problem Wednesday as all three stars were Chiefs.
Wednesday’s result along with Langley’s 6-2 win in Coquitlam really tightened things up in the Mainland Division. The top four teams are now separated by just three points. Langley and Wenatchee lead with 18 points followed by the Chiefs in third with 17 which is just two more that the fourth place Coquitlam Express.
Two games for the Chiefs this weekend.
Friday night they travel to Surrey.
They get a rare Saturday night off before hosting the Alberni Valley Bulldogs on Sunday. Game time Sunday is 5 p.m. and fans are invited to join the Chiefs players on the ice for a post game skate.
Please note that you must be wearing skates to get on the ice and helmets are mandatory for everyone 12 and under.