Chiefs off to Rocky Start

The Chilllwack Chiefs season is off to a rocky start after starting 1-3. The Chiefs started off on a high note, going into George Preston Recreation Centre in Langley and handing the Rivermen their second loss in two days 5-3 on Sept. 8 with goals from Joey Larson, Cooper Moore, Kyle Penney, Brett Willits, and Ethan Bowen. The Chiefs would finish 3 for 8 on the PP and added a shorthanded goal. Kolby Thornton had a solid debut stopping 22 of 25 shots for his first win of the year.

After their win in Langley, the Chiefs hit the road for their first trip to Vancouver Island. First the Chiefs headed to the unfriendly confines of the Hap Parker Arena in Powell River to face the Kings on Sept. 13. They would end the first period tied at one after the Chiefs answered Levi Glasman’s goal with one from 2021 NHL draft prospect Peter Reynolds. The Chiefs would take the lead on a power play goal from Moore – his second of the season from Reynolds and Brown University commit Nikita Nesterenko, but it was all downhill from there. The Chiefs gave up two goals – first from Glasman – and then 32 seconds later from Nic Porchetta to put the Kings up 3-2. Powell River added two more before the end of the middle frame and the Chiefs suffered their first loss of the season, 5-2. Thornton made 28 saves in the loss as the Chiefs were out shot 33-25.

Saturday, Sept. 14, the Chiefs headed into Cowichan Valley to face the Capitals and the red hot and reigning BCHL player of the week Zach Borgial. The Chiefs only managed to get two past him as Jacob Slipic and Willits each scored in the 3rd period and Chilliwack dropped its second in as many nights, 4-2. Once again,  Thornton had a solid night stopping 32 shots after the Chiefs. After dropping two straight, the Chiefs looked to bounce back Sunday afternoon, Sept. 15 in Nanaimo against the Clippers.

The Chiefs had a solid bounce back game against the Clippers, out shooting them 28-26 and going 1-for-4 on the power play, but it still came in a losing effort. There was no scoring in the first period, Nanaimo would break the ice in the second with goals by Kyle Kovich and Tyler Williams. The Chiefs got one back on the power play from Kyle Penney to cut the Clippers lead in half. Nanaimo added an empty net goal by Ethan Scardina and the Chiefs got some consolation with a goal by Arlo Merritt with three seconds left in the third.  The surprise of the afternoon was the play of Chiefs goalie Dylan Black, who stopped 23 of 25 shots in the losing effort.

One of the bright sides so far this year for the Chiefs is special teams. Their power play is running at a 5-for-18 clip while their penalty kill is currently 65 percent. The play of the Chiefs’ goaltenders is also keeping them in games so far this season.

The Chiefs come home from the Island with just two points on the season heading into their home opener against the defending Fred Page Cup champion Prince George Spruce Kings, who are also struggling at 1-1-2-0. Chilliwack also faces the red hot Coquitlam Express on Sept. 21. The weekend may also see the first start of the season for number one goalie Mathieu Caron, who hasn’t seen any action so far this year and dressed for the game in Powell River but didn’t play.