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Midweek Riv’: Chiefs Host Langley


Chilliwack Chiefs (4-9-1-2, 5th in Mainland Division) VS Langley Rivermen (11-5-1-1, 1st in Mainland Division)

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

I’ll freely admit: I’m really excited to get to the rink tonight. It’s the only game on the BCHL schedule, and it’s a good one, with the division’s top team at the moment battling an officially ‘Frisky’ Chiefs squad that’s started to string some positives together, including consecutive wins.

This lack of a break in the Chiefs schedule is hopefully a benefit to them, as they’ve won their last two games over divisonal opponents, and do have a win over Langley under their belt from two weeks ago. The local boys are playing some of their most consistent hockey, and appear to have something brewing with the top line of Austin Plevy, Zach Diamontoni, and Blake Gober. For the last two years, the Chiefs always had a top line that could create chances when they were needed. Those three mentioned above have proven in their small sample size together (the last three games, two of them wins)  that it can be done consistently.

Chilliwack took Langley out of their game early on October 16th, and the Riv’ never really got on track that night. Bobby Henderson’s club has the potential to GO OFF offensively, so it’s going to be important for the Chiefs to come out physical, and establish their forecheck – kinda like they did two weeks ago. You don’t want to fall behind early against the Rivermen, a team that thrives on in-game momentum. (Ask Coquitlam)

In that third period on October 16th, the Rivermen spent too much time reacting out of frustration and taking silly penalties while they were still very much in the game at 2-0. I wrote this piece post-game:

Langley was undisciplined in the 3rd period. If they didn’t spend so much time in the box, they would have given themselves a better chance to cut into the 2 goal lead. Austin Azurdia took a couple extra strides to plant Kurt Black behind the Langley net – with his forearms, and not his shoulder, popping Black’s helmet off, and knocking him off his feet.

NOW, Kurt Black is kiiiind of annoying to play against, and he did put a hit on Nathan Craft that led to a boarding penalty early in the third, but if a guy like Azurdia – who wears an A, mind you – is taking a blow to the head penalty like that? That’s a problem moving forward for Langley. Chilliwack had nine powerplays, and while they only scored on one of them – they were happy to have them.  Two of those powerplays came in the final four minutes, essentially ending the game for the Rivermen. Not characteristic of a team that had won six in a row.

I don’t mean to pick on Azurdia here, but I couldn’t help but notice this earlier in the week from the ‘disciplinary action’ page on BCHL.ca –

26-Oct-13 The Langley Rivermens Austin Azurdia is assessed a 2 game suspension for receiving a Major Penalty for Blow to the Head.

Oh. Well, then. One less skilled forward for the Chiefs to worry about this evening.

Look – Langley’s the best team in the division entering tonight’s play, and rightfully so. They’ve got a good group of forwards, and a veteran blueline (Viktor Dombrovsky was named to Team Canada West today)  with a couple up and comers to add a little variety. But if there’s ONE thing you can do – it’s goad the Rivermen into taking some really silly penalties.

I’ve seen them do it. More than once.

And to support the assertion: Langley leads the league in ‘Number Of Times Shorthanded’ at 96. Meanwhile, up the highway,  the Chiefs – playing HARVEY SMYL’S NOTED BRAND OF OLD SCHOOL THUGGERY*  (*”Noted brand” according to every other fanbase in the league forever) have played shorthanded just 74 times.

That’s 15th in the league. Out of 16 teams.

Oh. Well, then.

Anyway – This is an important game for the Chiefs tonight. They’re in the midst of trying to re-establish themselves on home ice. The win over Surrey, and the decent showing against Cowichan were nice steps from last weekend. There’s no better way to continue that than by knocking off the best the Mainland division has to offer on a Wednesday night.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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