February 16, 2019
The BCHL is close to wrapping up its regular 58 game regular season. And although most teams have just four games left – including games tonight – there still could be plenty of fireworks in store at the top of the leaderboards – in all three conferences.
The Chilliwack Chiefs have been a dominant team all season, leading the league most of the way. Early on the Coquitlam Express were right on their tails, with the Prince George Spruce Kings right behind the Express.
But by mid-November, the Express started to fall behind and the Spruce Kings rally. In mid-December, the Spruce Kings edged ahead of the Chiefs to claim the #1 spot.
Since then, the Chiefs have been on a tear. In January, they were 9-1-0-1 OTL. This month, they’re 6-0-0-0 so far. And although ten of these games were decided by one goal, the Chiefs put up 31 of 34 possible points over the drive.
The Spruce Kings went the other way in January, starting with three straight losses. By the end of the month, the team had won just four games out of 11. However, four of the games went to shootouts, and although they lost three of the four, the Spruce Kings managed to finish one point over .500, in the 10 game stretch.
Still, at the end of the month, they trailed the Chiefs by seven points.
February has been a totally different story for PG.
The Spruce Kings have put down seven straight wins to date, while outscoring opponents 31-7.
But with the Chiefs also winning everything in February, the Spruce Kings have only managed to gain two points on the leaders, and remain five back.
Typically, with just four games left – this would mean game over – standings set.
But guess what – three of those four remaining games are Spruce Kings versus the Chiefs, starting Sunday, February 17 in Chilliwack, and then wrapping next Friday and Saturday in Prince George.
So should be thrilling finish for both clubs, and set up a terrific dynamic for the playoffs.
In the Interior, the Penticton Vees and Merritt Centennials have been fighting for the number 1 spot since mid-November, with the lead changing hands a few times over the period.
And although the Vees have led since the New Year, they dropped a crucial matchup 3-2 in OT in Trail on Wednesday and then lost last night in Merritt, 4-2. However, with the OT point on Wednesday, the Vees remain two points up on the Cents, with four games to go.
Unlike the Mainland, there will no dramatic face to face matchups between the two leaders at the close in the Interior.
However, a lot could still happen.
Penticton will face Langley tonight at home, Wenatchee on Wednesday at home, and then wrap up with a home and home vs Salmon Arm next Friday and Saturday.
Merritt meanwhile will meet Trail tonight at home, then travel to West Kelowna for Tuesday, and to Langley Friday, before wrapping up with a home game vs Vernon on Saturday.
The Interior division has been the tightest in the league all year, and remains so, though no one is threatening the leaders.
Wenatchee are seven points back of the Centennials, and with just three games to play, are out contention for a second place finish.
Plenty could still happen in the 4 through 7 spots, as just five points separate Salmon Arm in the four spot from the Trail Smoke Eaters in the basement. The Vernon Vipers are point back of the Silverbacks, and West Kelowna Warriors four back, one point ahead of Trail. All four teams have four games remaining, including games tonight, so there could be some changes in store.
On the Island, the Victoria Grizzlies have regained their first place lead, with a record of 4-2-0 so far in February. At the end of January, the Powell River Kings had edged ahead the Grizzlies but since then have posted a 2-3-0 record, and have slipped to five points back.
Kings however, are one of the few teams with five games left to play, so there is an outside chance that they can still finish first. They’ll play three of those games at home, including what could be a deciding game, on Sunday vs the Grizzlies. If they can run the table, and the Grizzlies slip up, the River Kings could stage an upset.
The other three teams on the Island are considerably back of the two leaders. Nanaimo Clippers in third place, are 14 points back of the Spruce Kings. Alberni Valley is #4, and are leading #5 Cowichan Valley by a points. So there’s a chance the final two spots could change.
The Chiefs are being lead offensively by three players in the Top 20.
Matt Holmes (99, Rye, NY), is #5 overall in league points, with 27G-37A, 64 points. Kevin Wall (Fairport, NY) is right behind him at #6, with 30G-32A, 62 points. Regina’s Harrison Blaisdell (01), #12 overall, with 31G-21A, 52 points.
Dustin Manz (99, Vanderbilt, MI) is PG’s top sniper, #4 overall, with 29G-35A, 64 points. Abbotsford’s Ben Brar (98) is PG’s other Top 20 player, with 32G-25A, 57 points.
In nets, the Chiefs’ Matthew Caron (00) is the #6 goalie in the league in terms of goals against average, with 2,71, and a .914 save average.
PG’s Logan Neaton (99) is #1, with a 1.89 GGA, and .913 save average.
The Vees goal scoring is being led by three players in the Top 20. Defenceman James Miller (98, Spruce Grove), leads the team at #11 overall, with 18G-41A, 59 points. Forwards Eric Linell (98, Great Neck, NY) is #18 with 26G-29G, 55 points and David Silye (99, Arnprior, ON) is #20, with 17G-37A, 54 points.
Burnaby’s Massimo Rizzo (01), Kelowna’s Cassidy Bowes, and West Vancouver’s Cole Shepard lead the BC players on the team.
Merritt is being lead offensively by Bradley Cocca (99, Mississauga), #7 overall, with 21G-41AA, 62 points; and by Nick Granowicz (98, Macomb, MI), #17, with 29G-26A, 65 points.
Nicholas Wicks (98, Delta, 16G-38A, 54 points) is the top BC player for the Cents, third in team scoring.
Vees’ goaltender Jack LaFontaine is #2 overall with a 2.28 GGA, and .919 save percentage.
Merritt’s Austin Roden is #11. with a 3.01 GGA and .909..
On the scoreboard, the Grizzlies 2001 born, Alex Newhook, of St. John’s, is leading the league with 34G-56A, 90 points. Another ’01, Alexander Campbell, of Chateauguay, is second in team scoring, and #8 overall, with 21G-40A, 61 points. North Vancouver’s Carter Berger (99), is #10, with 20G-40A, 60 points.
Powell River is being lead offensively by the league’s #2 sniper, Ryan Brushett, of Verdun, with 37G-38A, 75 points. Levi Galsman (99), from Lacombe, is #16 overall with 20G-36A, 56 points.
Kurtis Chapman (98), is 30-7-0-0 for the Grizzlies, with a league leading win total, and third best .937 save percentage and a 2.39 GGA.
Mike Adamyk is backstopping the Kings, with a 23-14-0-0 record, .905 save percentage, and 2.99 GAA.
Scroll down for Top 20 scoring leaders and Top 20 goaltenders.
STANDINGS – February 15, 2019
(x – clinched playoff spot)
|1||x – Victoria Grizzlies||54||34||16||0||4||72||3||210||167||43||0.667||578|
|2||x – Powell River Kings||53||32||20||1||0||65||1||195||160||35||0.613||620|
|3||x – Nanaimo Clippers||54||25||28||1||0||51||6||162||193||-31||0.472||693|
|4||x – Alberni Valley Bulldogs||54||19||32||3||0||41||3||146||190||-44||0.38||623|
|5||x – Cowichan Valley Capitals||55||16||33||5||1||38||1||151||207||-56||0.345||905|
|1||x – Chilliwack Chiefs||54||41||12||1||0||83||4||202||157||45||0.769||696|
|2||x – Prince George Spruce Kings||54||36||12||1||5||78||2||167||112||55||0.722||510|
|3||x – Coquitlam Express||54||25||23||3||3||56||2||191||188||3||0.519||614|
|4||x – Langley Rivermen||53||25||25||2||1||53||1||151||160||-9||0.5||734|
|1||x – Penticton Vees||54||34||15||3||2||73||2||187||137||50||0.676||572|
|2||x – Merritt Centennials||54||32||15||4||3||71||4||203||172||31||0.657||765|
|3||x – Wenatchee Wild||55||29||20||2||4||64||5||189||163||26||0.582||524|
|4||x – Salmon Arm Silverbacks||54||27||22||4||1||59||4||162||184||-22||0.546||677|
|5||x – Vernon Vipers||54||24||20||7||3||58||2||150||146||4||0.537||621|
|6||x – West Kelowna Warriors||54||27||26||0||1||55||2||196||201||-5||0.509||629|
|7||x – Trail Smoke Eaters||55||22||23||7||3||54||2||172||193||-21||0.491||628|
Top 20 Scoring Leaders
|1||Alex Newhook||’01||VIC||50||34||56||90||1.80||St.John’s, NL|
|2||Ryan Brushett||’98||PR||51||37||38||75||1.47||Verdun, QC|
|3||Mike Hardman||’99||WK||54||35||32||67||1.24||Hanover, MA|
|4||Dustin Manz||’99||PG||54||29||35||64||1.19||Vanderbilt, MI|
|5||Matt Holmes||’99||CHW||52||27||37||64||1.23||Rye, NY|
|6||Kevin Wall||’00||CHW||47||30||32||62||1.32||Fairport, NY|
|7||Bradley Cocca||’99||MER||54||21||41||62||1.15||Mississauga , ON|
|8||Alexander Campbell||’01||VIC||49||21||40||61||1.24||Chateauguay, QC|
|9||Chase Dubois||’98||WK||54||20||40||60||1.11||Williams Lake, BC|
|10||Carter Berger||’99||VIC||50||26||33||59||1.18||North Vancouver, BC|
|11||James Miller||’98||PEN||54||18||41||59||1.09||Spruce Grove, AB|
|12||Harrison Blaisdell||’01||CHW||49||32||25||57||1.16||Abbotsford, BC|
|13||Ben Brar||’98||PG||54||32||25||57||1.06||Abbotsford, BC|
|14||Ryan Miotto||’99||AV||52||20||37||57||1.10||Thorold, ON|
|15||Willie Reim||’99||WK||53||23||33||56||1.06||North Oaks, MN,|
|16||Levi Glasman||’99||PR||54||20||36||56||1.04||Lacombe, AB|
|17||Nick Granowicz||’98||MER||54||29||26||55||1.02||Macomb, MI|
|18||Eric Linell||’98||PEN||56||26||29||55||0.98||Great Neck, NY|
|19||Riley Hughes||’00||VIC||50||23||32||55||1.10||Westwood, MA|
|20||David Silye||’99||PEN||50||17||37||54||1.08||Arnprior, ON|
Top 20 Goaltenders: