Tuesday, December 4, 2012
BCHL Team Reports:
BCHL Team Reports: Goalies Continue To Steal The Show
November 22, 2012
Posted in BC Edition, Junior A
By / Brent Mutis
Some significant transactions have changed the shape of the rosters of frequent trade partners Salmon Arm and Penticton, while quietly, the Chilliwack Chiefs have ridden a six-game win streak to take over top spot in the league. There is also a new scoring leader, though it’s tight at the top and the goalies continue to be the story of the season with eight now having save percentages of .920 or better.
Alberni Valley Bulldogs
Reining in the rate of goals allowed has brought the ’Dogs back towards the black in goals for/against and they remain just a few points back of first-place Victoria. Goalie Jay Deo has steadily improved and recently posted his first BCHL shutout while recent blueline addition Eric Walker has nine assists in nine games.
Cowichan Valley Capitals
They have a significant number of games in hand on the other teams in the division and they will have to make the most of them to get into the playoff picture. The loss of Ryan Hanes to the WHL’s Prince George Cougars put the Caps in the hands of Mikael Jung, Steen Cooper, Matt Grant and Troy Paterson.
November has been a pretty good month in Nanaimo as the Clips went on a four-game win streak and goalie Jayson Argue won the BCHL Player of the Week award on Nov. 12. Forwards Kyle Kramer and Michael McNicholas seem to be heating up while goalie Jarrod Schamerhorn has proved more than capable as a No. 2.
Powell River Kings
Evan Richardson produced five points in his first two games back from the World Junior A Challenge and is the only point-per-game player on the team. New blueline acquisition Noah Henry, picked up as part of a three-way trade with Penticton and Salmon Arm, is off to a nice start with a couple of points.
The formula is still working in B.C.’s capital – the Fitzgerald triplets continue to carry the offence, DJ Jones runs a tidy powerplay and Brady Rouleau and Michael Stiliadis both offer stellar goaltending. Defenceman Blake Thompson has been hot of late with six points in four games. Penalty killing could be sharper.
A league-leading penalty kill has allowed the Chiefs to retain a physical brand of hockey and their plus-22 goal differential is also tops in the BCHL. A bruising back line including Shay Laurent, Cooper Rush, and David Thompson is not much fun to play against while both Mitch Gillam and Josh Halpenny have been tough to beat in net.
The temporary absence of Alex Kerfoot, Brandon Morley and Zach Pryzbek to the World Junior A Challenge was harmful as the Express went 2-4 while they were away. Worse is they lost the two games after they got them back as well and allowed 12 goals in the process and they are in a fight with Langley over the final playoff spot.
A three-game Island road swing brought just one point for the Rivermen and they were outscored 15-5 on the trip. Their timing was bad on this as Coquitlam, who lead them by a point, have also been cold lately. Austin Azurdia and Trevor Cope, both productive early on, have been quiet recently.
Prince George Spruce Kings
By earning just three points in their first six November games, the Spruce Kings slipped to third in the Mainland Division but maintain a five-point edge on fourth place Coquitlam. Goals against have been on the rise with 30 in November after allowing just 20 in nine October games.
Demico Hannoun, Michael Stenerson and Brady Shaw are the Eagles offensive pistons and helped the team to a 5-0-1 start to November. Surrey’s penalty killing could be better but they are one of the least penalized teams in the league so it hasn’t really hurt them.
Durable forward Silvan Harper played his 200th BCHL game, Nov. 16 in West Kelowna but it came in the midst of a three-game skid for the Cents that has seen them fall six points back of Penticton. After a torrid start to his BCHL career, blueliner Dane Birks has cooled lately but did get to participate in the CJHL Prospects Games in Nova Scotia.
They maintain first place in the division despite dropping four straight and Wade Murphy was one of the players absent but remains on a season-long 18-game point streak. Some recent deals with Salmon Arm bring WHL veteran Brock Balson into the fold along with defenceman Sean Flanagan.
Salmon Arm SilverBacks
Evan Anderson, Alex Jewell and Stephen Iacobellis coming on board improves this offence immensely and the results came right away with home wins over Merritt and Prince George that brought 10 goals. Dustin Nikkel earned a win in his first BCHL game after joining the team from the Junior B North Okanagan Knights.
Trail Smoke Eaters
Just 25 games into the season, the Smokies have equaled their win total of 11 from last season. Wins in four out of six to start November, including a crazy 8-7 double-overtime triumph over Prince George, have them holding down the final Interior Division playoff spot. First-year forward Connor Collett has been hitting the scoresheet lately.
The Vipers seemed snake-bitten on a recent road trip, getting shut out on back-to-back nights in Powell River and Alberni Valley but Adam Tambellini led them out of the funk with a six-point outburst versus Coquitlam that vaulted him to second in BCHL scoring. They’re a point back of Trail and have two games in hand on the Smokies.
West Kelowna Warriors
Marcus Basara has assumed the BCHL scoring lead with 10 points in six November games but the Warriors had just two wins in that span. Seb Lloyd had a great showing at the World Junior A Challenge and should bolster the offence the rest of the way.