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A Dub To Carry

August 30, 2013 Leave a comment

Editor’s note: I tried to auto schedule this post. It clearly didn’t work properly. Sorry guys. Direct your vitriol to me. Because I’m my own editor.

A few things from a win on Thursday night:

1. Josh Halpenny wasn’t as busy as Victor Adamo and Scott Lapp, his Surrey counterparts, but he made a handful of big saves on 2 on 1’s and a breakaway. Good lateral movement on all fronts. The local kid spent plenty of time watching Mitch Gillam last year. His performance in the preseason would suggest that he’ll be the guy come opening night.

2. Jordan Kawaguchi’s spinning backdoor pass to Mitch Plevy for the game’s first goal. Kawaguchi, Plevy, and Brandon Volpe have been filling the ‘Energy Line’ role the last couple times out. They provided some. Goals are gravy, and this was a pretty one on a powerplay.

3. Andrew Silard. He hits people. And it’s fun to watch. Good work down low along the boards at times as well.

4. It was work down low that led to Austin Plevy’s tying goal after the Eagles had scored a quick pair. There will be nights this season where the Chiefs will need a big play/timely goal from the elder Plevy (have to get used to saying that with Mitch on the team now) – He’ll provide that more often then not. You can tell.

5. The Chiefs were the best they’ve looked defensively in the preseason. Even if there were a pile of Eagles players/regulars in suits Thursday night. Still have to execute, and they did for the most part.

6. Good patience shown at the left side of the crease by Jaret Babych on the GWG. That, along with a first star selection, is not a bad way to celebrate a 19th birthday. His wheels look better this year, too. He and Tibbet are those proverbial ‘Bust Out In Year Three’ guys. Let’s hope they do.

7. I don’t have to talk about training camp, or the preseason anymore. Very excited for the BCHL Showcase, which is just one week away, and I’m also anxious to see the 2013/2014 Chiefs get going for real against the Powell River Kings on September 7th.

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Categories: Chiefs Hockey

One More After This: Chiefs Fall To Express

August 28, 2013 Leave a comment

Real quick.

Chilliwack lost 5-3 Tuesday night in Hope, and they still look for their first preseason win. I’ll leave it up to you to decide how significant pre-season wins are.  Here’s what I took away from Tuesday:

1. You have to realize that I never get to stand right behind the glass for a BCHL game. It was cool to do so. I didn’t realize just how much goes into some of those battles for the puck along the boards and in the corners. Makes sense as to why those battles are always deemed to be so important. I enjoyed that aspect of it. I’ll remember that the next time i’m crowing about how the Chiefs ‘just aren’t winning the battles.”

It’s tough to win battles, man.

 

Zach Diamantoni (9) in the circle Tuesday night in Hope.

Zach Diamantoni (9) in the circle Tuesday night in Hope.

2. Austin Plevy got his first exhibition run of the season, and he was welcomed back quickly – by getting hit pretty good at centre ice by Coquitlam’s Nicolas Beaudin. He was fine, though, and finished the game with a goal and an assist, seemingly not missing a beat. Could have had more, too – Blake Gober fanned on an open net after Plevy set him up with a nice pass in the second, and he was robbed on a partial breakaway by Pierce Dushenko in that same period.

3. It should be noted that shortly after missing that open net, Gober drove hard to the crease again on a 2 on 1 with Plevy, and nearly chipped one in on a diving effort to make the play. Gober also scored on the power play in this game. You can see the talent with this kid, no question. I don’t see any reason why he couldn’t put up some big numbers in his rookie campaign.

4. Fellow Chiefs rookie Jordan Kawaguchi (with family from Hope in attendance) had a breakaway in the second period as well. He didn’t score, but tried to pull off ‘The Datsyuk‘. I don’t have anything else to add, except ‘The Datsyuk’ always looks awesome whether it’s successful or not.

5. It was the second period that did the Chiefs in on Tuesday. A little sloppiness at times in their own end that led to turnovers – which usually leads to goals. That’s what the preseason is for – getting that stuff out of the system early.

6. I feel for Lyndon Stanwood. He was fine in the third period on this night, but 12 goals allowed in 2 preseason starts is tough to spin. That’s what the preseason is for – getting that stuff out of the system early.

7. The preseason is also for building things. I tweeted this tonight, and I’ll say it again – I really like the potential for the Chiefs powerplay this season. The puck movement at times was quite sharp. Chilliwack scored three times with the man-advantage, twice thanks to terrific puck movement down low by Plevy, Gober, Jake Hand, and Zach Diamontoni. Carter Cochrane and Michael Willms give the Chiefs two very impressive options as quarterbacks on the blueline. Cochrane in particular was poised with the puck Tuesday night.

Up next is one final preseason test against the Surrey Eagles (again) at Prospera Centre on Thursday. Soupy and I will have the call on FastHockey. That’s going to be our preseason.

I look forward to it. Until then.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

Catching Up A Little: Surrey Returns

August 24, 2013 Leave a comment

We’ll begin with this evening – the first home exhibition game of the season between the Chiefs and Surrey Eagles. It’s the back end of a home and home series between the two teams.

Chilliwack’s 7-4 loss Friday night at the South Surrey Arena can be taken with a small grain of salt – Many of the returning veterans sat out, including Austin Plevy, Mathieu Tibbet, Eric Roberts, Jaret Babych, and Ben Butcher. While there is only (maybe) one or two open spots on the roster at the moment, some of the younger players got a longer look last night.

Some things to keep an eye on tonight: (All tickets for tonight just five bucks, by the way)

1. Both Carter Cochrane and Michael Willms are slated to play for Chilliwack tonight. Both of these defensemen carry the puck with a lot of confidence. They’ll jump up into the rush at any time, with speed to boot. It’s never boring, although they’ll learn with time to pick their spots.

2. The D-core as a group will require some time, with so many new faces. Cooper Rush is off at London Knights training camp for the moment, so only Eric Roberts and Kiefer McNaughton are holdovers from last year.

Roberts will make his preseason debut tonight. I caught up with him earlier this week during camp. You can read that piece by clicking here.

3. Another intriguing debut this evening will be Ben Butcher. Acquired this summer from the Langley Rivermen, the younger brother of former Chief Matt Butcher looked impressive in camp with his compete level. After an up and down rookie season in Langley, he’ll be given a great chance to really put things together in Chilliwack.

For what it’s worth, I’ve stood behind the glass as he’s fired a puck at it. Kid can shoot. It’s heavy.

4. Keep an eye on Jake Hand, another forward with size (6’4) and skating ability. Hand found the back of the net twice last night. Lots of potential there.

Lineups for this evening can be seen here.

 

 

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

2013/2014: Time To Roll

August 18, 2013 Leave a comment

icechiefs

It doesn’t feel like hockey outside (yet) but it’s time to get things rolling for the 2013/2014 version of the Chilliwack Chiefs.

Training camp opens on Monday, August 19th at Prospera Centre, and will run through until the end of that week.

Pre-season games follow right away, as a home and home with the defending Fred Page Cup champs, the Surrey Eagles, begins August 23rd in Surrey. The full pre-season schedule can be seen here.

Returning vets and new faces alike will be divided into four teams at camp over the course of the 19th – 23rd. Click here for the full schedule. Fans are welcome to attend throughout the week.

As far as the roster is concerned, There are 6 blueliners, 11 forwards, and 2 goaltenders locked in, but there will always be battles for the last couple spots.

The most prevalent number that sticks out?

Nine.

There are nine BCHL rookies with this year’s group. Here they are:

Jordan Kawaguchi, F, Abbotsford

16 year-old Jordan did appear in a pair of games with the West Kelowna Warriors last season.

The 5’8, 145 pounder spent last year in the Okanagan with Pursuit Of Excellence hockey academy.  He’s got some punch offensively, racking up six goals and 13 points in just 4 playoff games at the U18 level.

The Spokane Chiefs hold his WHL rights, picking him 80th overall in 2012. Bloodlines are prevalent as well – Jordan’s cousin is Winnipeg Jets forward Devin Setoguchi.

Tyson Giuriato at CSSHL.ca wrote this piece on Kawaguchi after committing to the Chiefs in the off season.

Blake Gober, F, Colleyville, Texas

18 year-old Blake spent the past three seasons with the Dallas Stars major midget program. His numbers last season in the Midwest Elite Hockey League as a Star at the U18 level were solid – 14 goals and 38 points in 40 regular season games. Gober also appeared in 2 games with the Amarillo Bulls of the North American Hockey League last season.

Carter Cochrane, D, Kamloops

The younger brother (16) of Chiefs forward Tanner Cochrane should play an important role on the blueline this season if his production with the KIJHL’s Golden Rockets last year is any indication.

Carter came into his own at the Junior B level in 2012/13, tallying 21 points in 34 regular season games, and 14 points in 10 playoff games with the Rockets. Cochrane also appeared in one game as an AP with the Chiefs last year. I’ve heard nothing but good things in regards to his potential around the rink.

Mitchell Plevy, F, Langley

The younger brother (17) of returning Chiefs leading scorer Austin Plevy, Mitchell joins the club after one season with the Ridge Meadows Flames of the PIJHL. Plevy finished with 12 points in 33 regular season games with the Flames last year.

Kyle Westeringh, F, Chilliwack

With the departure of Josh Hansen, 17 year old Westeringh becomes the new local boy to suit up for the club. (along with returning goaltender Josh Halpenny)

Westeringh will get more of an opportunity this season after playing in camp, and appearing in three games as a Chief last year. He spent last season with the Fraser Valley Thunder Birds of the BC Major Midget League, finishing with 11 goals and 20 points in 25 games.

Zach Diamantoni, F, Kalamazoo, Michigan

The 18 year old forward, already committed to Northern Michigan University for next year (although possibly would stick around next season as well)  spent last season with the Janesville Jets of the North American Hockey League. Diamantoni finished with eight goals and 32 points in 53 games.

T.J. Roche, D, Northport, New York

19 year old Roche will be asked to provide some physicality on the blueline, and use his size (6’2, 205 lbs) to his advantage. Comparable to the since-departed Ben Masella. Roche has suited up for Kent Academy in the eastern U.S., playing against high caliber prep-school talent – The same region that produced former Chiefs Mitch Gillam, Luke Esposito, and Trevor Hills.

Michael Willms, D, Coquitlam

The 17 year-old rearguard spent the past two seasons at the major midget level with the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs – Willms saw his numbers jump significantly from year one to year two in the BCMML, putting up 24 points last season after ten in his rookie campaign. Willms appeared in 40 games during the regular season in both of those years.

Cole Sartorio, F, Calgary

18 year old Sartorio will bring some size up front at 6’1 and 205. He spent last season with the Midget AAA Calgary Flames, posting 5 points in 18 games.

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