Home > Chiefs Hockey > Chiefs Begin Weekend Home & Home V. Merritt

Chiefs Begin Weekend Home & Home V. Merritt

Chilliwack Chiefs (4-10-1-2, 5th in Mainland Division) VS Merritt Centennials (10-9-1-0, 5th in Interior Division)

(Friday, November 1st, Prospera Centre –  6:30 pregame/7pm faceoff on 89.5 The Drive)

A stretch of four games in five nights continues for Chilliwack at home as they take on the Merritt Centennials for the first time this season. Tonight’s game marks the front end of a home and home series that will resume tomorrow at  the Nicola Valley Memorial Arena. The Chiefs remain at the bottom of the Mainland division, but are only four points out of a playoff spot, while Merritt is holding down fifth place as well in the Interior division. The Chiefs are coming off a loss to Langley on home ice Wednesday. Merritt is also looking to get back on track after a loss.

Luke Pierce has done a great job with this Merritt team the last few seasons. While they’re not going to light the scoreboard on fire, they’re always tough to play against, stingy defensively, and very good on special teams. The two games this weekend could very well be decided on special teams, as Merritt comes in with the league’s second best power play, connecting at an impressive 22%. Their penalty kill is also in the top half of the league, so it goes without saying that the Chiefs must stay disciplined this evening.

Four of the Chiefs last five games have been decided by one goal. This would indicate (at least to me) that the team has been more competitive in the last three weeks, which is a great sign. However, they spent too much time in their own zone against Langley on Wednesday, particularly in the second period, and that wore them down as the game went along. They’ll also need to watch those turnovers in their own end – One cost them directly in the third against the Rivermen.

While the Chiefs should only worry about their game, Merritt might be a little concerned about theirs. Forward Jeff Wight, and defenseman Dane Birks are with Team Canada West for the upcoming World Junior A challenge. Wight is one of their leading scorers, with Birks being one of their blueline workhorses. Scott Patterson’s 18 points are still in the lineup, as well as Gavin Gould’s 16 – Gavin is former Chief Malcolm’s younger brother.

Kurt Black enters tonight’s game tied for the team lead in goals with 6, and he could be a factor against a grind-it-out Centennials team along with Andrew Silard, Jake Hand, and Brandon Volpe. But as we’ve covered before, this is a Chiefs team that needs everyone going to be successful. Against Merritt, it’s always a battle, and these two teams probably won’t like each other all that much by the end of the weekend.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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