The Chilliwack Chiefs got a big monkey off their back with a successful weekend.
Friday saw the junior A club taking on the Langley Rivermen for the fourth time this season. Previous meetings took place at the George Preston Arena in Langley and the Rivermen won them all by scores of 7-5, 6-3 and 5-2.
But the Chiefs turned the tables on Retro Night in the Rink at the Chilliwack Coliseum, swatting their Coastal Conference rivals 4-1.
“It was nice to play Langley at home for the first time,” said Chilliwack hockey boss Brian Maloney. “They are an older, experienced group that knows how to play in the league, which is why they are having early success. When you’re working with a younger, more inexperienced group like we have, it takes a ton of patience and time.
“We’re getting well into the season now, so you’re starting to see our guys progress. We feel that this group has a high ceiling as we continue to gain experience.”
Chilliwack fell 4-3 at Victoria Saturday (Dec. 4), but collected a point in the standings with the loss coming in a shootout. Their three-games-in-three-days adventure ended Sunday afternoon with a road game at Cowichan Valley.
The Chiefs beat the sadsack Capitals 3-2 in a shootout, but needed a 50 save effort from goalie Cole Savage to do it.
After a shaky start to the season, the first-year stopper from Abbotsford has posted two solid outings in a row.
“Cole is a kid that we believe in because he put the work in,” Maloney said. “Everyone is starting to settle in nicely and we just have to get through the next couple weeks, playing shorthanded due to injuries, suspensions and a concensed schedule.”
Players on the shelf for Chilliwack right now include Ethan Bowen, Thomas Messineo, Luca Grabas and Lucas Bourdon (all injured) along with Jordan Chudley (suspended).
The Chiefs had Darius Bachler and Hunter McInnes making their BCHL debuts on the weekend.
Chilliwack’s overall record now sits at 11-6-0-1, good for fifth in the Coastal Conference. The Chiefs are due to host Cowichan Valley Saturday (7 p.m. on Dec. 11) and Langley Sunday (5 p.m. on Dec. 12) as they begin a stretch of five straight home games between now and month’s end.
— Injuries do give Maloney flexibililty to make a move, and he has signed a new forward. Eighteen-year-old Massachusetts product Landyn Greatorex is described by Maloney as “a 200-foot player with a high offensive ceiling,” and the teenager was flying into Chilliwack Monday.