Column: Time running out for teams pursuing Chiefs

The Wenatchee Wild and Langley Rivermen need to make a strong push right now, says hockey columnist Jacob Bestebroer.

With 12 games left in their regular season, the Chilliwack Chiefs control their own destiny in the race for first place in the BCHL’s Mainland division. If they earn 18 points the rest of the way, they will take top spot.

They hold a five point lead over the second place Wenatchee Wild and have played one fewer game. The Langley Rivermen sit two points back of the Wild with 10 games left to play.

Chilliwack has one game left against both the Wild (Feb. 17 at home) and the Rivermen, who they face Monday in Langley in a 1 p.m. game.

The Chiefs remaining games are split evenly between home and away and five of their six remaining road games will be played over the next eight days beginning tonight in Coquitlam.

Over their final 12 games the Chiefs will face teams who have earned an average of 51.7 per cent of available points. That may not sound tough but it’s the highest of the three teams still in the race for first place.

Eight of Langley’s remaining 10 games will be played on the road.

They’ve earned two thirds of available points on home ice this year but just half of their points on the road.

Their opponents over their remaining 10 games have earned an average of 50.6 per cent of their available points.

They will play Wenatchee three more times with two of those games this weekend in Wenatchee.

Wins in those three games against the Wild along with a win Monday against the Chiefs are crucial and while mathematically they may not be must wins, if they don’t win those four games it will be extremely difficult for them to finish in first place.

The Wild have the easiest remaining schedule, playing only four of their remaining 11 games on the road.

Their remaining opponents have earned an average of just 46.2 per cent of available points. They have two home games left against Prince George, who have won just 11 games this season and they make one trip to Surrey who have just six wins.

This race will change every time one of these three teams plays so even though Chilliwack has the advantage right now it’s an impossible race to predict.

I don’t see a more important game left on the schedule than the Chiefs Feb. 17 home game against Wenatchee.

It wouldn’t surprise me to see whoever wins that game finish in first place.

The Chiefs will be wearing a special jersey on Feb. 21 against Cowichan Valley.

The jerseys will be auctioned off during the game with proceeds going to Fraser Valley Health Care in support of Chilliwack General Hospital.

We’ll get a picture of the jerseys up on the Chiefs website and social media platforms this weekend.

A reminder that if you are unable to attend Chiefs home games you can listen to the games online.

The link is on the Chiefs home page. If you want to keep tabs on the Chiefs road games, follow them on twitter or like their Facebook page as the video of all Chiefs goals will be posted shortly after they happen.

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