BCHL Today: BCHL reports latest COVID-19 test results, lots of first goals, and more!


BCHL reports no positive COVID-19 tests for the third straight week

The BC Hockey League announced on Friday there were no positive COVID-19 tests after the latest round of testing ahead of this weekend’s action.

The league notes that all of the players and staff taking part in the five pods around the province were tested with all coming back negative.

Roberts gets first BCHL goal

2003-born Surrey defenseman Luke Roberts scored his first BCHL goal on a power play at 15:26 of the third period in the Eagles 5-0 shutout win over the Coquitlam Express.

Roberts’ goal was Surrey’s last tally of the game to make the final 5-zip. The Vancouver product originally committed to the Eagles for 2021-22, but was named to the team for the pod season.

Astorino tallies first BCHL goal

2001-born Merritt forward Blake Astorino of Prince George posted his first BCHL goal on Friday in a 6-5 loss to Chilliwack.

The goal was the Centennials’ third of the game, at 4:44 of the second period, to make the score 5-3 Chiefs. It came in Astorino’s 10th career BCHL game and is also his first point in the league.

Cowichan Valley vs. Victoria first career BCHL goals

2005-born Victoria Grizzlies forward Matthew Wood scored his first BCHL goal at 13:18 of the first period in a 5-1 win against the Cowichan Valley Capitals on Friday.

Wood’s marker gave the Grizz a 4-0 lead as part of a four-goal opening frame. The Nanaimo product was playing his 10th BCHL game after starting the season with the North Island Silvertips U18 AAA.

Cowichan Valley defenseman Cory Liu got his first BCHL goal 3:20 into the third period to break Victoria’s shutout bif. The 2002-born product of Markham, Ontario had the Caps lone goal of the game in his ninth BCHL outing.

Liu, who started 2020-21 with the junior B Westshore Wolves of the Vancouver Island Junior Hockey League, now has two points in the BCHL pod season with Cowichan.

Niedermayer and O’Brien record first career BCHL goals

Penticton Vees defenseman Joshua Niedermayer scored at 14:37 of the first period of Friday’s 4-1 win over Trail for his first career BC Hockey League goal.

The goal came in the 2004-born blueliner’s 13th career BCHL game, including 10 games this season and three in 2019-20 as an affiliate player. He now has six points in the pod season.

2002-born Vees forward Devlin O’Brien scored his first BCHL goal at 19:13 of the third period to help salt away the game against the Smokies.

The Merrimack commit’s goal gave Penticton a 4-1 lead and it was also his first BCHL point. The St. Andrew’s College alumnus was playing in his third BCHL game.

Cents shift Abbotsford camp dates

The Merritt Centennials announced on Friday they have shifted the dates of their Abbotsford spring camp from May 28 – 30 to July 16 – 18 due to the latest provincial health orders restricting travel between health regions.

The current health order is in place until May 25 and certainly could be extended based on the number of COVID-19 cases. Merritt is located in the Interior Health region, while Abbotsford is in the Fraser Health region.

Neaton transfers to Miami University (Ohio)

University of Massachusetts-Lowell goaltender Logan Neaton (32-8-5, 1.92 GAA, .914 SV%, 5 SO in 47 games with Prince George in 2018-19)  has transferred to Miami University at Ohio for the 2021-22 season.

The 2019 fifth-round pick of the Winnipeg Jets only played six games with UMass-Lowell over the last two seasons. In those six games, the 21-year-old has a 0-3-0 record with a 4.29 goals-against-average and a .862 save percentage.

Johnson slotted seventh in The Hockey News NHL Draft rankings

University of Michigan forward Kent Johnson (61 goals and 86 assists in 112 games with Trail from 2018-20) is listed as the seventh overall pick in the 2021 NHL Draft by Ryan Kennedy of The Hockey News in his latest rankings.

Johnson, a projected first-round pick from Port Moody, BC, had 27 points in 26 games as a freshman for Michigan this past season.

McIlmurray released by Wichita

Forward Austin McIlmurray (27 goals, 34 assists in 57 games with Coquitlam in 2015-16) has been released by the Wichita Thunder of the ECHL.

McIlmurray, 24, has six goals and 10 points in 22 games with the Thunder this season. He wrapped up his four-year college career at Sacred Heart University at the end of 2019-20 with 86 points in 137 games.

Wilkins signs a deal in Switzerland

Forward Matt Wilkins (seven goals, 18 assists in 37 games with Trail in 2009-10) has signed a contract with EHC Winterthur of the Swiss League for 2021-22. The SL is the second tier of hockey in Switzerland.

The 30-year-old from Kimberley, BC had 20 goals and 67 points in 36 games with Gherdëina of the Central Europe-based Alps Hockey League this past season.

Three Stars of the Night ⭐⭐⭐

First Star: Surrey netminder Max Prazma made 26 saves in a 5-0 shutout win over Coquitlam.

Second Star: Chilliwack forward Ethan Bowen scored twice in the Chiefs’ 6-5 win over Merritt.

Third Star: Vernon goaltender James Porter Jr. made 22 saves for his second career BCHL shutout in a 2-0 victory against West Kelowna.

Honourable Mentions: Centennials forward Walker Erickson posted a goal and two assists. Warriors netminder Johnny Derrick stopped 33 shots. Chiefs forward Kyle Penney and Grizzlies defenseman Andrew Braun each notched three assists.