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Chiefs Welcome Victoria Grizzlies

Luke Esposito, Austin Plevy, Ben Israel and the Chiefs welcome Victoria Saturday. Photo: Garrett James

Chilliwack Chiefs (2-1-0-1) Vs. Victoria Grizzlies (3-1-0-1)

(Prospera Centre – 6:30 pregame show/7pm faceoff on 89.5 The Hawk)

It’s been a week, but it feels a little longer than that since the last time the Chiefs saw some game action.

The Victoria Grizzlies pay a visit to Prospera Centre, something they did not do last season. These two teams did meet early last year at Bear Mountain Arena on the Island. The Chiefs blew a 5-2 lead, losing 7-5 as part of a disheartening early season road trip.

But that was almost a full calendar year ago. A lot has changed. Victoria has a new regime, led by Vancouver Island Sports & Entertainment Ltd.

The new ownership made it clear they were serious about winning when they brought in veteran head coach Bill Bestwick, a BCHL staple. Bestwick won two BCHL Championships, and the 2004 Doyle Cup with the Nanaimo Clippers. He was let go in 2011 by the Clippers amidst a fairly large outcry. Bestwick has made an impact already with a largely overhauled roster, winning three of their first five games. The Grizz dropped their first game in regulation Friday night in Surrey by a score of 3-2.

Victoria has been led by the Fitzgerald triplets offensively – Gerry, Leo, and Myles have combined for seven goals and fourteen points in five games. The triplets were acquired from Prince George in the off-season. The three teamed up for eleven points against the Chiefs last season as members of the Spruce Kings.

Chilliwack is boasting an impressive trio of their own right now – Luke Esposito, Austin Plevy, and Josh Hansen enjoyed a productive weekend against the Surrey Eagles September 14th and 15th, combining for three goals and seven points in those two games.

The Chiefs will also look for another productive night from centre Spencer Graboski, who got things started against the Eagles last Saturday night, and finished with a goal and an assist.

THINGS I’M KEEPING IN MIND:

– I watched most of Victoria’s game in Surrey Friday. The Grizzlies dominated the first period before falling behind 2-0 due to some unfortunate breaks. This game for Victoria is the 2nd of a three game  weekend trip, which wraps up in Coquitlam Sunday afternoon. The Chiefs have had a week inbetween games, which sets up one of my favourite cliches – “We’ll learn a lot about this game in the first ten minutes”.

– As their numbers would suggest, Victoria leans heavily on the Fitzgerald triplets to generate offensive chances, and put pucks in the net. Chilliwack’s deep crew along the blueline boasts three players (David Thompson, Alex Perron-Fontaine, Shay Laurent) who recieved plenty of experience dealing with the Fitzgeralds in their games with the Spruce Kings last season.

Special Teams:

Chilliwack – Powerplay – 15.00 %/Penalty Kill – 92.00%

Victoria – Powerplay – 19.23% / Penalty Kill – 77.78%

Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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