After an up-and-down start to the BCHL season, the Chilliwack Chiefs appear to be hitting their stride.
Weekend wins over the Coquitlam Express and Surrey Eagles stretched Chilliwack’s win streak to four and gave them wins in five of their last six. Since the calendar flipped to November the Chiefs have been one of the league’s stingiest clubs, giving up 11 goals in seven games (1.57 goals-against average). Over the same stretch they’ve scored 33 for an average of 4.71 goals per game.
“We’re just sticking to our structure in our game plan and we’re finally getting rewarded for it,” said Chilliwack coach Brian Maloney. “We addressed some offensive areas and continue to create good habits defensively.”
Goalie Grant Riley has been a big reason for Chilliwack’s defensive surge, and the 2002-born stopper was sharp again against the Express. The New York product turned aside 19 of 21 shots for his fourth straight win, and he’s given up five goals on 106 shots over his last five starts.
Connor Milburn, Frankie Carogioiello and Kienan Draper each scored a pair against Coquitlam, with Mateo Mrsic also lighting the lamp.
Emmett McHardy and Ryan Tattle replied for the Express, who were out shot 39-21. Chilliwack had a 17-1 advantage in shots over the final 20 minutes.
If not for Max Prazma, Sunday’s game at the South Surrey Arena might have been another Chiefs rout.
The Eagles netminder faced 34 shots, stopping 31. AJ Lacroix and Joshua Orrico beat him in period one and that was it until Curtis Hunter scored the game winner 5:40 into period three.
Hunter is a 16-year-old affiliate player from Langley who joined Chilliwack for both weekend games.
“For sure, it was nice to see a young kid get rewarded,” Maloney said.
Abbotsford’s Cole Savage turned in his best performance of the season, stopping 20 of 22 Surrey shots.
The Chiefs are 9-6-0-0 and fourth in the Coastal Conference heading into a Wednesday night (Dec. 1) home game against Coquitlam (6-11-1-1) at the Chilliwack Coliseum. That’s followed by a busy three-games-in-three-days weekend.
Friday (Dec. 3) is Retro in the Rink night at the Coliseum as the junior A club celebrates the 90s. Chilliwack will be wearing retro jerseys and the team will be attempting to create a throwback atmosphere as they take on the Trail Smoke Eaters (9-6-1-0) in a 7 p.m. start.
Then it’s on the road to visit the Victoria Grizzlies (11-9-0-0) Saturday (Dec. 4) and the Cowichan Valley Capitals (3-16-0-0) Sunday (Dec. 5).