Three key games for Chiefs

Chilliwack Chiefs, BCHL, Vernon Vipers, Westside Warriors, Merritt Centennials

Every week during the BCHL season, local hockey guru Jacob Bestebroer provides thoughts on the Chilliwack Chiefs and happenings around the league. This week, he breaks down the Interior conference standings and talks about three crucial weekend games.

 

A rare Thursday home game against the Vernon Vipers kicks off what should be a telltale trio of game for the Chiefs this weekend.

The Chiefs are in Merritt Friday night before returning to home ice Saturday to host the Westside Warriors.

Two things seem impossible right now in the race for the four available post season spots in the Interior Conference. Penticton will not miss the playoffs and Trail will not make the playoffs.

That leaves six teams, including the Chiefs and the three teams they’ll square off against over the next three days, to fight it out for three remaining spots.

Starting the weekend the Chiefs are smack dab in the middle of those six teams in fourth place in the conference with 21 points after 17 games.

That puts them five points back of the second place Vipers but just four points ahead of the seventh place Salmon Arm Silverbacks. The Chiefs have played one fewer game than the Vipers and a minimum of two less than every other team in the conference.

We shouldn’t forget that last year’s version of this franchise won just thirteen games while playing in Quesnel.

The Chiefs have won 10 games so far this season.

The job that Harvey Smyl and the rest of the hockey staff have done to turn things around is remarkable.

There’s been lots of talk after Saturday’s game about Chiefs forward Trevor Hills and his three overtime goals so far this season. The Chiefs have won three of the four overtime games they’ve played and have Hills to thank for all three winners.

I’ve been asked if any Chilliwack Chiefs player has scored three overtime goals in a season before. The truth is, I don’t know but I hope to soon.

Information like that is not readily available. I’m slowly working my way through hundreds of old Progress articles making notes on stuff like this.

I can tell you that the team has only scored more than three overtime goals in a season five times, with the high being six during the 2000-01 season.

They scored five once and four on three occasions.

The most interesting Chiefs overtime stat I’ve found so far comes from the 1994-95 season when the Chiefs won just one overtime game (and lost four) during the 60 game regular season but won four OT games in 28 playoff games. Peter Zurba had two of the four playoff overtime goals that season and both were series winners on the road against Surrey and Cranbrook.

Finally, how rare is Thursday’s game against Vernon? It is the Chiefs 490th regular season home game in Chilliwack and the first to be played on a Thursday night.