Jacob Bestebroer writes a weekly column in the Chilliwack Progress discussing the Chilliwack Chiefs, the BCHL and goings on around the junior A world.
Sometimes a strong individual performance in a loss can go unnoticed or unappreciated.
For the most part , Chilliwack’s 5-1 loss to Prince George last Sunday at Prospera Centre was closer than the final score indicates. The Kings scored three goals, including a late empty netter, in the third period.
But the effort of Chiefs forward Anthony Vincent, specifically his efforts on the penalty kill should not go without some attention.
After the Chiefs fell behind 2-0 in the game’s first seven minutes, Vincent got the Chiefs on the board with a shorthanded breakaway goal.
At the start of another Prince George power play in the second period, he was playing the left forward position.
One of the Kings defenseman let go a hard shot from the blueline that Vincent threw himself in front of. You could tell it hurt him and he lost his stick in the process. Three more times in the next 30 seconds he put himself in front of shots. Each shot was harder than the last. When the Chiefs finally got the puck out of their zone and he managed to get his aching body to the Chiefs bench, every player on the bench congratulated him for his effort.
Any success this team is going to have come playoff time is going to be as a result of efforts like that.
Speaking of the penalty kill, assistant coach Brian Maloney has done a great job running it this season. Going into this weekend it ranks second in the league with a success rate of 85.5 per cent. My guess is that this is the best Chiefs penalty kill we’ve ever seen. I can’t say for certain because league records for special teams only seem to go back to the 2013-14 season (really BCHL?!?!?). The best it’s been over that stretch is 84.6 per cent during the 2015-16 season.
In a possible first round playoff preview, Chilliwack travels to Prince George for games tonight (Friday) and tomorrow. After four games against Prince George this season, two games in each city, the Chiefs have yet to beat the Kings. They do have one tie but have been outscored 21-8. This weekend won’t be easy as the Kings have the league’s third best home record at 17-5-1-1.