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Chiefs, Warriors Go Nuts For A Tie

January 27, 2014 Leave a comment
Thanks to Darren Francis for the photo.

Thanks to Darren Francis for the photo.

That was something, wasn’t it?

Fourteen goals. Seven each. One player on either side with a hat-trick. An overtime penalty shot. Two goals to tie in the final minute with the goaltender out. An extremely entertaining game that still…kinda…felt like a loss for the Chiefs on Sunday. All you can do after that one is shake your head.

– You can look at it two ways: The Chiefs were dead in the water trailing 5-2 early in the second period. We’ve seen this team fall behind big in games earlier in the year. On many of those occasions, they stayed behind. Not tonight.

Five unanswered goals to take a 7-5 lead, spearheaded by Tanner Cochrane and Jake Hand, who were both great in this game with six points between them. Tanner had a hat-trick, the third one the most dramatic that put the Chiefs up 6-5. Hand added insurance on a chance in alone – great setup from Andrew Silard on that play- and it was 7-5 with 2:27 left.

Enter David Pope.

Pope, if you can belive it, has done this once before with the Dubs this season, scoring twice with the goalie out to tie the game in the final minute. He did so on Sunday, scoring two goals in 47 seconds to tie the game at 7 and force overtime. Pope scored his first goal on the first shift of the game, a play all but forgotten by the time OT rolled around. Great night for Pope with the four points, and Carl Hesler, Jason Cotton, Adam Plant, Ben Teghtmeyer – all beasts, those guys. Good team over there.

Pope was involved heavily in overtime, as was Chilliwack’s Josh Halpenny, who did not start. He came on in relief of Spencer Tremblay at 5-2 and was terrific. The Chiefs were outshot heavily again in this game, and although they couldn’t secure the two points, Halpenny’s penalty shot save (Oh, that’s right, there was a freaking overtime penalty shot in this game, too.) on David Pope preserved the tie. West K outshot Chilliwack 11-4 in the two OT’s. That’s Halpenny, right there. He made some other biggies late in the game, too.

– Had to run some stuff down to the bench for Soupy before the game. Saw Jordan Kawaguchi taping his stick on the bench. I said to him that he’d get a couple. He got one on a great setup from Jake Hand for the team’s first goal, and his first goal in 28 games. Made me look pretty smart there. He’s been buzzing lately. Getting an opportunity, and going to the right spots.

– Mathieu Tibbet had the best overtime chance for Chilliwack, going through the entire Warrior roster before Cody Porter got a piece of his shot. Had Tibbet scored there, my head would have exploded, and I would have been dead.

– Silard, Gober, Westeringh – energy and confidence, man. It’s an amazing thing. I think Westeringh’s in the midst of his best stretch as a Chief. And Gober continues to play with a real edge. Pretty goal too, to get the comeback started in the second period.

– Shout out to Cam Campbell for his work on the broadcast tonight. I was (and am) significantly under the weather. He kept my game up. Gotta rely on your linemates sometimes.

You can say they blew a two goal lead in the final minute. You can say they ripped off five straight to take the lead, setting themselves up for points against the hottest team in the league.

The compete level has been better. The buy-in has been better. Harvey Smyl said so himself before the game.

With that in mind…

On to Surrey.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

The 140: OT Heartbreak In Langley

January 25, 2014 Leave a comment
Photo: Darren Francis

Photo: Darren Francis

As I tweeted when the game ended, this game was fun, particularly the last five minutes. Here’s some thoughts that were too big for tweets following a 5-4 Rivermen victory in OT:

– Funny how the Chiefs penalty kill let them down early in this game, allowing three Rivermen goals, including markers on the first two opportunities – and then it was the penalty kill that came up big in killing one off with two minutes left in the third, securing a point. Also like that the boys got a tying goal from Zach Diamontoni in the third. Chilliwack’s record when trailing after two this season coming in was 1-27 or something awful. They were down after two on Friday. Point secured thanks to Diamontoni, the PK, and Spencer Tremblay late.

– A shame they couldn’t get a shot in overtime before James Robinson ended it 37 seconds in. It was back and forth a little there in the third. Entertaining stuff. Both teams battled in this one, no question.

– Austin Azurdia had a great game on the Langley side with four points, a few dangerous plays around the goal, and a fight with Tanner Cochrane in which he held his own very well. One of two Rivermen forwards with four points – he and James Robinson, an Oiler draft pick this past spring.

– Powerplay continues to struggle for the Chiefs. 1 for their last 22. We can talk about puck movement around the outside forever – ya gotta put the puck in. Diamontoni’s goal came shortly after a power play expired, for the record.

– Speaking of Zach D – nice to see him shoot the puck a little more on Friday.

– Nice shot from Jake Hand on the Chiefs’ third goal, as well as a nice rush from Andrew Silard down the right wing on the first one.

– Langley did this tonight without their leading goal scorer in Matt Ustaski, and Evan Anderson. Plenty of depth for this team. Mitch McLain had a big part in the win, along with Jakob Riechert, Azurdia, and Robinson. This team will be a tough out come playoff time, particularly with Zach Urban leading the way on the blueline.

Fun game. Entertaining. Back and forth. But it still kind of felt like a loss. Which is a shame. Back at it Sunday night against a very good West Kelowna Warriors team.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

Chiefs/Riv’ Again

January 24, 2014 Leave a comment


Chilliwack Chiefs (10-31-1-3, 5th in Mainland Division) VS Langley Rivermen (28-12-1-5, 1st in Mainland Division) (Friday, January 24th, Langley Events Centre –  6:45 pregame/7:15 pm faceoff on 89.5 The Drive)

I’ll make this quick, because these two teams have faced each other (what seems like) 27 times in the last three weeks:

– Langley’s good. They’ve won six of seven, and one of the reasons they’re good is the depth they boast. Only one of their forwards is over the 20 goal mark – Matt Ustaski, although Mitch McLain has 19 – and with Will Cook, Jakob Reichert, Austin Azurdia, James Robinson all in double figures goal-wise, the Chiefs will have to be at their best defensively. They were quite good in their own end last Friday in Coquitlam, playing the Express to a standstill before giving up the winning goal with three minutes left because this team has 10 wins in 45 games. It starts in Chilliwack’s zone tonight. It can’t stay there, either. Gotta limit that Langley zone time.

Bob Freid photo

Bob Frid photo

As this photo of Tanner Cochrane and Mitch McLain would indicate, these teams don’t like each other all that much. When you face one another all the time (it seems) you’ll develop a healthy dislike. Even if the Rivermen are biding their time until the postseason while the Chiefs try everything to keep ‘mathematically eliminated’ away from their 2013 obituary, it should be a physical, chippy, spirited affair. Should it lead to penalties, and it probably will, Chilliwack’s power play needs to get going as well – 1 for their last 16, including an 0 for 6 the last time these two teams met on January 11th.

The Chiefs have only taken one game in the season series between the two, but it was at the LEC back in October. The numbers are against them here, but it won’t lack some feel. That’s what I’m looking forward to.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

The 140: Express Sweep Home & Home

January 19, 2014 Leave a comment
Thanks to Darren Francis for the photo.

Thanks to Darren Francis for the photo.

I don’t really have much after this one, to be honest.

I’ll start by saying #ILikedTheEffort. (I’m hashtagging it, because it’s been written here many times before.)

There’s one nagging thought in my brain, even after I specifically took time before writing something to cool down. I’ll put it like this, and it’s the one thing you, the fan, can take away:

– When a team struggles as this one has, there’s little things that can show themselves at key times. No matter how many times it’s harped on by the coaches, players, me…whoever.


Chilliwack cut Coquitlam’s lead down to one goal twice in the third period. The second time it happened – off a nice pass from Tanner Cochrane to Mathieu Tibbet for the Chiefs’ lone powerplay goal to make it 4-3 (a call I butchered by the way. Said initially that Kiefer McNaughton made that pass. Sorry, Tanner. Good look there.) – the Chiefs were gift-wrapped a powerplay with 2:17 left. Down by a goal. A powerplay for essentially the rest of the game. A great chance to tie it up, salvage a point, and give the fans one last little flurry around the Coquitlam goal. A team trying to do everything it can to earn points – suddenly had been handed a golden opportunity to earn at least one, and maybe halt a five game losing streak.

They didn’t get a shot on that powerplay before Coquitlam’s Cannon Pieper got one first.

Saucer pass (usually frowned upon in that situation) back to the blueline, and a tough play for Kiefer McNaughton at the right point to keep it onside, especially with Joey Santucci of Coquitlam right in his kitchen. Puck gets out. Pieper takes off, Santucci hits him with the pass. Partial breakaway as Carter Cochrane races back. Pieper goes five hole on Josh Halpenny. Ballgame. It took 19 seconds. A golden opportunity to tie turns into a 5-3 deficit before they can get a shot at 5 on 4.

I used the term ‘soulcrushing’ on the air as it happened. I did not feel it was hyperbole, because that’s what it felt like. They were ALIVE late in this one, man. They had battled to get to that point. They had earned the right for a chance to tie the game in dramatic fashion late…and then…Poof. Execution. Execution. Execution. Execution. Little things.

– The Piepers are pretty good.

That’s all.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

140 Review: Good Road Effort Falls Short

January 18, 2014 Leave a comment
Mathieu Tibbet and Coquitlam's Cody Boyd battle it out during the Express' 4-2 victory. Photo: Darren Francis

Mathieu Tibbet and Coquitlam’s Cody Boyd battle it out during the Express’ 4-2 victory. Photo: Darren Francis

Coquitlam pulled it out Friday night on a late goal by Nic Rasovic. 4-2 was the final over the Chiefs. As always, here are some thoughts that were just too big for tweets:

– Nic Rasovic scored the game winner with under three minutes remaining when the Chiefs couldn’t clear the zone. Rasovic somehow got behind everyone and put a good move on Halpenny for the finish. Worse was when I looked at the stat sheet and saw that it was Rasovic’s third goal of the season. All that high end skill in Coquitlam, and the Chiefs are done in by the Coquitlam fourth line, who did bring quite a bit to the table overall in this game, but still. That stings.

– Chilliwack wanted to focus on playing in their own end, and for the most part I thought they did a very good job. Coquitlam was without one of their snipers as Ryan Rosenthal was a last minute scratch, and the Pieper boys had their moments, but I thought the Chiefs were sturdy in their own zone, and Halpenny made saves when he had to. It was the type of bend-a-little-but-don’t-break performance you like to see on the road. Makes you wonder where this team would be if they had a few more of those away from home this season.

– Trademark Mathieu Tibbet goal in the second period. See puck. Chip past defenseman at own blueline. Outrace defenseman to the net. Go wide on the deke across crease. Tuck it in. This is what he does. Tibbet now leads the team with 17 goals on the year.

– Carter Cochrane got his first in nine games as well on a similar play down the opposite wing. Andrew Silard had a couple good chances tonight, and I really liked what the line of Kawaguchi, Mason Boh, and Kurt Black accomplished. Lots of sandpaper on the forecheck, and they maintained pressure down low for a couple stretches. Thought Blake Gober had another determined effort as well. Things to like.

– The Chiefs were really physical Friday. Daniel Delbianco on Cannon Pieper. Jake Hand on Brendan Lamont. Tanner Cochrane on Cam Marks. Three pretty big hits right there. Lamont would go down later on a knee on knee hit from Cody Bardock. Bardock would unfortunatley recieve a five/game misconduct. Tough call to make, as there were other bodies in the area as well. Possibly a little incidental contact, but the Chiefs had to go with 5 D the rest of the way after that.

– Bo and Cannon Pieper. Took some bumps, but always looked dangerous.

– Both teams will be thinking about special teams going into Saturday’s game. Chilliwack went 0 for 6 and couldn’t cash on a four minute powerplay in the 2nd, while the Express didn’t convert on any of their chances either.

I like the Chiefs Saturday night if they can play that way again. With a little more finish maybe, too:)

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

Home & Home Again: Chiefs In Coquitlam

January 17, 2014 Leave a comment


Chilliwack Chiefs (10-29-1-3, 5th in Mainland Division) VS Coquitlam Express (19-18-1-3, 3rd in Mainland Division) (Friday, January 17th, Poirier Sports & Leisure Complex –  6:30 pregame/7pm faceoff on 89.5 The Drive)

Tonight marks the first of four meetings between the two divison rivals in the season’s final six weeks. Chilliwack and Coquitlam have split the season series thus far (2-2) with both teams earning a split in the other’s building. Chilliwack defeated the Express 4-3 in Coquitlam back on October 27th.

You know the challenge for the Chiefs by now – just win games. The team is still not out of it for the final playoff spot in the division, sitting 12 points back of the Eagles (who, like the Chiefs, have done some selling at the deadline, and have lost four games in a row) but they must begin to help their own cause.

Coquitlam has a firm six point hold on the third playoff spot, and are coming off a 7-3 victory over Surrey on home ice Wednesday night. Coquitlam has been oddly pedestrian at home this season, sitting two games under .500.

This game may be a tale of two offenses: Chilliwack’s has dried up the last couple weeks, as they’ve been shut out in two of their last three. Their only output from last week was two in a loss to Langley. Generating second and third chances has been the sticking point for the Chiefs in the offensive end, and they can draw on past success against this Express team – a six spot the last time out in a lopsided victory.

There should be some open ice in this game, as Barry Wolf’s club is not afraid to push the pace. The Express boast plenty of skill upfront, including three 20 plus goal scorers – Ryan Rosenthal, Cannon Pieper, and Corey Mackin. Two more are on the verge of that plateau in Joey Santucci and Bo Pieper, and you can’t forget about Adam Rockwood, one of the premier playmakers in the league with 46 assists.

The Chiefs will have to be stiff defensively. They’ll need to committ to that, and not let the Express turn the game into a track meet, as tempting as it might be to trade chances and odd-man rushes all night. These post-deadline Chiefs look a little different now, so it will serve them better to get a little greasy on the road en route to their first win in the calendar year.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

Cochrane 2 Cochrane: The Better Athlete

January 15, 2014 Leave a comment
Carter (foreground) and Tanner in the box. Photo Credit: Darren Francis

Carter (foreground) and Tanner Cochrane in the box. Thanks to Darren Francis for the photo.

Went Full Cochrane on Sports Talk Live (Mondays at 6 on 89.5 The Drive!) the other night. It was a decent half hour, to say the least.

The best exchange of the night came when I asked who the better athlete was. Carter had been on the show before, and during one of those earlier appearances suggested that it was indeed he who was superior.

This time, his older brother (and Captain) Tanner was there to defend himself, and wasted no time proclaiming TANNER IS BEST COCHRANE.

Have a listen:

(That B.C. Buick Championship Tanner’s referring to? Here’s his two round scorecard from 2005. The boys aren’t kidding. Plenty of bogeys there. 32 in 36 holes by my count. I’d retire from golf forever and leave the game on top if I did that, by the way.)

Also, if that field goal challenge happens before the end of the season, I’ll make sure it’s documented.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

140 Or More: Looked Better, Same Result

January 12, 2014 Leave a comment

I think I’ve got more to say about Saturday’s game in comparison to that 43 minute nap both teams had Friday in Langley. So there’s that.

You know the drill by now. Thoughts on a 5-2 Rivermen win in Chilliwack That Was Too Big For Tweets:

– Josh Halpenny made some big saves Saturday. A whole pile of ’em. He was good. Will Cook on a point blank chance in the first. Two breakaway stops. That stop on Cook was followed up seconds later by the Kevin Killistoff goal that tied the game at one, which was a bummer. Heads up play by Cook to find his teammate in front when Caleb Thompson committed to him up high near the circle. I realize the Rivermen still scored five, but I liked Halpenny’s game tonight. He was fine.

– I think that last thought is a testament to Langley as a group. All five of their goals came at even strength on Saturday night. I don’t care who the opponent is: You score five at even strength on the road in a back to back situation – You’re good. Plenty of skill for the Riv, but size to go with it – Ustaski, McLain, Riechert, Urban, Killistoff, Marcus Vela – that’s a deep group.

– Jaret Babych’s goal that was called back in the first period: It should have been a goal, as the replay clearly showed. As far as I understand however, there can’t be a video review in this league, simply because not every rink has a replay board in it. That’s fine, but the sequence itself was bizarre: Babych chips in his rebound after the initial shot hit the post, the puck bounces off the middle support bar in the back of the net and comes out, head official Nick Bilko clearly missed it, based on his incredibly funny touchdown signal that followed. The call on the ice was eventually a goal, and you would think without the benefit of video review that it couldn’t be overturned….

You would think…

Somehow after a conversation with the goal judge, and the crowd reacting to the replays which clearly showed the puck went in…it was called back. Someone changed that call for some reason. Cruel at the time, given that would have been the Chiefs first goal in 155 minutes of hockey.

– And then Kiefer McNaughton’s point shot snuck through Lyndon Stanwood four seconds later to give the Chiefs their 1-0 lead. Sports, man.

– Rivermen head coach Bobby Henderson used the term ‘elevator music’ to describe the first forty mintues in Langley Friday night. There was more feel to this one, which was a relief from an entertainment standpoint. Couple fights: Jacob Riechert going after Eric Roberts after Roberts gave Mitch McLain a good shot inbetween the circles – Riechert picked up an instigator, and Roberts was banged up – he didn’t play again after the scrap, leaving the Chiefs with five defensemen. Kyle Westeringh and Chris Forney went at it as well. Chirping, too. These two teams meet twice more before the year is out.

– Liked Blake Gober’s game. Thought he stood out. Went hard to the net a few times. They’ll need more of that going forward.

– Chilliwack’s effort was solid tonight. It really was, but as we all know – no time for moral victories. I think the Chiefs can get those results next week with two against Coquitlam. Just a gut feeling.


Categories: Chiefs Hockey

140 Or More: Blanked At The LEC

January 11, 2014 Leave a comment


Thoughts that were too big for tweets on a mostly forgettable night for the Chiefs:

– Squandered opportunity for the Chiefs on Friday in the 5-0 loss. Langley’s a very good club, but I don’t think they looked their best in the first 40 minutes. This was a Chiefs team with a different outlook – something they could rally around – and it was frustrating to see the lack of execution at times. Little things – waist high saucer passes, unable to get good looks on a couple odd-man rushes, seeing the power play struggle to get set on the way to an 0 for 7, communication breakdowns defensively on a couple of the Langley goals – Chilliwack doesn’t have time to adjust here with 16 games left. They’ve got to play their best hockey. We didn’t see that Friday. Simple.

– Give the Rivermen credit here – They weren’t world beaters in the first two periods, but closed out the game very well in the third. Their Captain, Mitch McLain finished with three points, including the 3-0 goal, a killer early in the third. Shots on goal were only 14-11 through two. Langley rose up and closed out in the final period. That’s what good clubs do on home ice.

– The Chiefs needed someone to make a play on Friday to get them going. Only 22 shots and most came from the outside. Austin Plevy’s not here anymore. There’s guys in that room more than capable of being a game breaker from time to time. I’m curious to see who it can be, but a spark has to come from somewhere, because in the stretch drive of the season….No time to be shut out on consecutive nights. We’ll see what Saturday night holds at Prospera Centre.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey

Back To The Ice: Chiefs In Langley

January 10, 2014 Leave a comment



Chilliwack Chiefs (10-27-1-3, 5th in Mainland Division) VS Langley Rivermen (25-12-1-4, 1st in Mainland Division) (Friday, January 10th, Langley Events Centre –  6:45 pregame/7:15pm faceoff on 89.5 The Drive)

Busy week, huh?

The Chiefs get back at things on the ice tonight against the Rivermen – There’s four more meetings between the two between now and the end of the year on March 1st, and two of them go down this weekend.

Chilliwack had a four game point streak come to an end at home Sunday to Prince George, and their lineup will look a bit different this weekend, obviously. We’ll get a look at Mason Boh, acquired in the Austin Plevy deal, and another look at Daniel Delbianco, who was signed from Port Moody Jr. B after a good showing in that Prince George game last week. That move was made after the trade of Shay Laurent to the Nanaimo Clippers. Caleb Thompson, acquired in the Cooper Rush trade, plays his second game as a Chief as well.

Langley used the win at Prospera Centre last Friday as a springboard to a three game winning streak after dropping a couple games post-Christmas. They’re the best team in the division, and they looked it last week – while the Chiefs earned a point in that game, it had plenty to do with the play of Spencer Tremblay, who faced a ton of pucks. Most of that game was spent in Chilliwack’s end of the rink, and that will have to be different tonight for the new-look Chiefs to win at the LEC.

Rivermen forward Matt Ustaski is coming off a BCHL Player Of The Week nod – he scored the overtime winner in Chilliwack last week – part of a six point in three game performance. Ustaski is part of a talented group – James Robinson, Jakob Riechert, Austin Azurdia, Will Cook, Mitch McLain – that’s a tough matchup for any team in the league. Those forwards all played a big part in last week’s game. The Chiefs have to limit their time in the offensive zone, as simple as that sounds, because the Riv’ had far too much of it last week for anyone’s comfort on the Chilliwack side.

Getting back to the Chiefs’ side of things, while the results with Austin Plevy in the lineup weren’t there this season, it’s still 18 goals and 46 points to replace in the final 17 games for this team. Simply put, it’s time for other guys to up their production – Mathieu Tibbet could be at the forefront of that with eight goals in his last six including a hattrick last Friday night. Zach Diamontoni, Blake Gober, Jake Hand – three guys looked upon to produce at the start of the season – have to do what they can to find the back of the net. Mason Boh comes over as a player that maybe didn’t get the opportunities in Brooks – he’ll get an opportunity here.

With the movement of Plevy and Laurent, there were a couple of changes to the leadership group as a result. Tanner Cochrane was named new team Captain last night, while three year vet Mathieu Tibbet will now wear an ‘A’.

It’s a wait and see approach with this new look Chiefs group, but tonight’s game, and the weekend set should be fantastic. There was plenty of bad blood, chippiness, and gamesmanship from either side last week, and I expect nothing less tonight. The club that stays more disciplined should have the edge, and don’t forget – Chilliwack went 2/3 on the powerplay last week after going 2 for their previous 27 against Langley this year.

FYI: The Chiefs are eleven points out of the final playoff spot behind Surrey – The Eagles are in Prince George for a weekend set with the Spruce Kings.

Categories: Chiefs Hockey
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