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Coming Right Back: Vernon Tonight

September 8, 2013 Leave a comment

chilliwackvernon

Chilliwack Chiefs (0-1-0-0) VS Vernon Vipers (1-0-0-0)

(Prospera Centre  –  5:30 pregame/6 pm faceoff on 89.5 The Drive)

As you know by now, things didn’t go well last night for the Chiefs in a 6-1 loss to the Powell River Kings in their opening game. The positive here is the team won’t have to stew over it for a week before their next game. On the other hand, the test doesn’t get easier, as the RBC Cup host Vernon Vipers pay a visit.

Vernon had a much more successful opening game at the Showcase, scoring five times in the third period en route to a 7-3 victory over the Surrey Eagles. Vernon enters the season ranked 5th in the country thanks to the rebuild of talent and skill after a down year last season.

There’s one familiar face in former Surrey Eagle Demico Hannoun – part of the Adam Tambellini trade last winter. Hannoun is expected to be a big part of the O for Jason Williamson this year, along with former Vee Dexter Dancs, and Liam Coughlin, who scored twice last night to earn the game’s first star. Veteran goaltender Danny Todosychuk is back, but Austin Smith may get the start for the Vipes tonight.

Lyndon Stanwood may get the call in goal this evening for the Chiefs, as he and Josh Halpenny will battle to see who gets the bulk of the starts this year. It comes down to effort and compete level for the Chiefs tonight, as they simply didn’t have any of that on Saturday.

There will be a skate with the team after the game. Skate rentals will be available.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

Flat, Baby. Just Flat In Loss To Kings

September 8, 2013 Leave a comment

Where do I start here without sounding like every cranky newspaper writer ever?

I said earlier today that it was going to take some time with this group. It’s only one game.

1. It starts with the compete level. I can sit here and play armchair coach, and gripe about how the team didn’t really make Jonah Imoo work for his 22 saves. That wasn’t it. Powell River won every last battle tonight. Aside from a shift here and a shift there where the Chiefs were working hard along the boards, it was the more experienced Kings who had the edge in that portion of the game – by a mile, frankly. That’s what was most concerning.

2. Once again, this was a Chiefs roster featuring a whopping 11 players playing in their first BCHL game. At home. In a building crawling with college and NHL scouts. You can say confidently that there was some nerves on the part of the home side. It wasn’t the sole reason, but it probably didn’t help things.

3. I thought Josh Halpenny was alright in his first start. Almost 50 shots against, and there were a few breakdowns that led to goals. We saw it in the preseason, and we did again tonight. That’s something that can be fixed with time, though. It’s early.

That’s….That’s really all I can come up with. Compete level just wasn’t there tonight. It’s safe to say we’ll see a better effort Sunday night against Vernon – a team that exploded for 5 goals in the third period en route to a 7-3 victory over Surrey. Another tough test to be sure.

For JB’s game story on the team’s website in case you haven’t seen it, click here. Back at it tomorrow. It’s just one game.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

Raising Curtains: Home Opener V. Powell River

September 7, 2013 Leave a comment

Chilliwack Chiefs VS Powell River Kings

Season opener for both clubs

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

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So here we are.

The first handful of games are always fascinating in a BCHL season. I can actually offer context on this now that I’ve been around the league for two years – At times it’s going to feel like the preseason out there. In watching some of the Showcase action at the rink yesterday, you couldn’t escape that thought at times.

It’s still early.

It’s also a different feel for the Chiefs this year. Sure, there are constants – the return of leading scorer Austin Plevy, three year vets Mathieu Tibbet and Jaret Babych, Eric Roberts and Cooper Rush along the blueline, Josh Halpenny in goal – but depending on who the scratches are, the number of Chiefs playing their first BCHL games tonight are close to double figures. That’s hard to ignore, and must be taken into account with this team early on.

Here’s what I can offer you should you be in attendance this evening. (And you should.)

1. I’m curious to see what Austin Plevy and Blake Gober can do together. There were flashes of it in the preseason. It’s the start of something, man.

(Homer Alert! Homer Alert!……)

2. I think Austin Plevy can win the scoring title this season. As fine a pick as anybody. 30 goals last year! 73 points! Of course he can!
(These Chiefs-coloured glasses are stylish. You should get a pair.)

3. Mathieu Tibbet won the team’s fitness award last week. Seeing him break down the wing with one defender to beat could be the most entertaining part of any Chiefs game at any point this year. When he’s on one of those high-speed rushes, he might score. He might not. He might score and go flying through the boards. He might score and vault the glass behind the net. Here’s my favourite off-season clip from strength coach Paul Nicolls. I love two things about this video:

– The narration skills of Spencer Graboski. He’s hilarious, and I’ll miss him. It wasn’t actually six feet, but it felt like it.

– The realization that these kids are great athletes. Not just hockey players. Athletes.

4. When Andrew Silard’s on the ice, he’s probably going to hit somebody. Some real ‘fan favourite’ potential there. A true example of a kid who really played himself onto this team.

5. A gut feeling that this will be Jaret Babych’s year.

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As for Kent Lewis’ Powell River Kings, last season was a trying one. They didn’t win the Coastal Conference for the first time in forever, and a fourth place finish saw them pushed aside by Victoria in last year’s playoffs.

There are some returnees to note, including probable starting goaltender Jonah Imoo, and veteran forwards Matt Scarth (28 points in 30 games) and Luke Nogard (24 points in 55 games). Familiar faces Drew Dorantes, Luke Ripley, Jordan Burns, and Brian Rideout are all involved as well.

Note: These teams have played one another exactly twice in two years. The Kings have won both of those games, including the matchup last season at the Hap Parker Arena. The league decided not to have any divisional matchups at the Showcase this weekend, which lends credence to the fact that……

It’s still early. 

Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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