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Down The River

Unable to erase a 2nd period deficit for the eleventh time in twelve games this season, the Chilliwack Chiefs gave up three in the third period en route to a 5-1 loss at the Langley Events Centre Friday night.

While the victory for Langley was important, the standings didn’t change much. The Rivermen are still five points up on Coquitlam for the final playoff spot in the division – The Express defeated Prince George Friday, doing the Chiefs a favour. Chilliwack still holds an eight point advantage on PG for home ice in the first round of the playoffs.

1. I liked Chilliwack’s first period in this game. They outshot Langley by a 2-1 margin. Unfortunatley, Langley’s James Barr was up to the task in the first, stopping all fourteen shots he faced. Phil Zielonka tried to outwait Barr from the right circle in the period, but Barr turned Zielonka away with the blocker. Austin Plevy flew into the zone down the left wing, and looked from our perch like he might have room to go upstairs, but instead put a pass through the crease that Mathieu Tibbet just missed.

Barr was actually fighting the puck a little in the first twenty minutes. I give him credit for settling in as the game wore on. Had the Chiefs scored once or twice in that period? This game might have been different.

Ryan Donohoe and the Chiefs struggled to beat Rivermen 'keeper James Barr on this night

Ryan Donohoe and the Chiefs struggled to beat Rivermen ‘keeper James Barr on this night

2. It was a sign of things to come in the second period when Langley opened the scoring. Phil Zielonka overskated the puck in his own zone, and Derek Sutliffe of Langley pounced on it. He fed Jakob Riechert – the player acquired for Austin Plevy that eventually paved the way for the Huisman trade in the summer – who beat Mitch Gillam five-hole along the ice. That one came against the flow, and it stung for the Chiefs.

3. David Thompson answered back three minutes and change later, when he charged off the right point to the front of the goal on a powerplay, and put home Spencer Graboski’s goalmouth touch pass. That power play goal was as pretty as it got for the Chiefs on this night.

4. Langley would score before the 2nd period let out, and the Chiefs went to the break after 40 down by a goal. I don’t know what it is with this team when trailing after two periods (now 1-11 this year) but they can’t seem to find that….um….Comebackability? Is that a word?…Probably not……that JUICE to come back in the final period. That’s a problem. Hell, I start to think to myself – They’re down after two. That’s not good. They’d better score quick here. – I’m sure that plays on the minds of the players a little bit as well.

5. It wasn’t Mitch Gillam’s best night, but I was more concerned with the lack of run support – Just one goal in five of the last ten games. It feels like the Chiefs will either explode for five, or lack finish on the way to one. Can’t play that type of roulette late in the year. Too much skill on this team for that.

6. Quick turnarounds are welcome in hockey, however. The Chiefs must bounce right back Saturday at home against an annoyed Prince George team, and try to salvage this weekend.

Five games to go before the postseason. And three still to come against the Rivermen. I’m sure the Chiefs will file this one away for the next two trips to the LEC.

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Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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