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The Island – Day One – Nanaimo Clippers

Chilliwack Chiefs (7-2-1-1) Vs. Nanaimo Clippers (6-4-0-1)

(Frank Crane Arena – 6:30 pre game show/7pm faceoff on 89.5 The Hawk)

Chilliwack took advantage of home cooking throughout the first eleven games of the BCHL season, coming away with seven wins and a tie in the first eleven contests, eight of which were at Prospera Centre with the benefit of the BCHL Showcase.

Now it’s to the road for a team that’s just a single point back of top spot in the Mainland Division, as the Chiefs will hit the island, starting Friday in Nanaimo against the Clippers.

These two teams met on the second night of the BCHL showcase, with the Chiefs winning the game 2-1. The team has improved a ton since then, highlighted by the production offensively. Powerplay goals by two defencemen, Alex Perron-Fontaine, and Cooper Rush carried the night back on September 8th. Now the Clippers will have to contend with the line of Esposito, Plevy, and Hansen, one of the best trios in the BCHL, combining for 17 goals and 43 points since teaming up in Surrey on September 14th.

Luke Esposito has a ten game point streak intact, while Plevy and Hansen both have four game point streaks of their own.

The Clippers are starting to put things together after and up and down start with two victories over Alberni Valley, and most recently, Penticton at the Frank Crane Arena. Chilliwack should expect to see Clips’ goaltender Jayson Argue in between the pipes, who has played well, and did so the last time these two teams met.

Nanaimo doesn’t exactly have forwards who’s numbers jump out at you on the scoresheet, but the likes of Reid Sturos (4 goals, nine points) and Trevor Fitzgerald (4 goals, eight points) will have to create for the Clips against probable Chiefs starter Mitch Gillam.

THINGS I’LL BE KEEPING IN MIND:

– Friday marks the first real day of travel for the Chiefs this season. We’ll see if ‘ferry legs’ are a factor. I don’t expect it to be, but you never know with these things. Nanaimo will be playing with the confidence of a team that took care of a talented Penticton group, and knowing they played the Chiefs well at the showcase. A strong start for Chilliwack will go a long way, as cliche as that is.

– In their limited road action so far, the Chiefs have scored the first goal twice in three games away from Prospera Centre, including a four spot in nine minutes against Coquitlam on October 5th.

– In fact, last week’s comeback win over Langley marked the third time this season that the Chiefs erupted for four unanswered goals. There’s no way to know when those outbursts are coming, but the Chiefs certainly know they’re capable of doing something like that.

– With three games in three nights, the team’s depth on the blueline will come into play. I also expect local boy Josh Halpenny to see his second start of the season in goal at some point on this trip.

The Clippers individual numbers offensively don’t suggest the Chiefs will be in for a high scoring game, but sometimes that makes things tougher. You never know who it could be that will beat you. Chilliwack had to go to work back on September 8th to earn their first win of the season against the Clippers, and they’ll have to do the same thing tonight to get this Island trip off on the right foot.

Special Teams:

Chilliwack – Powerplay – 20.00 %/Penalty Kill – 87.30%

Nanaimo – Powerplay – 14.04% / Penalty Kill – 78.79%

Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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