Tuesday, February 6, 2018
DAILY DISH: BCHL RANKINGS, REPORT - Junior Hockey News
Published: Tuesday, 6 Feb 2018
By: Stephen Heisler | Web site: JuniorHockey.com
The BCHL Report is a weekly look at Canada’s British Columbia Hockey League. We somehow managed to go 4-1 with Saturday’s prediction, further proving the opinion that the contenders are well separated from the teams already prepping for the 2018-19 campaign.
Now for the disclosure… the following is my opinion and not written under the influence of anything or anybody. The BCHL Insider is just that; a coach or employee with incredible insight into the league.
The actual grade scale is based on winning percentage and nothing else. That scale has been established for four seasons.
#1 Penticton (33-10-2-3 / .740) – I’m now thinking that getting beat at Victoria may have been just the eye-opener the Vees needed. Merritt certainly gave Penticton trouble Friday before the Vees got their game-face back on before Saturday’s 5-1 win at Salmon Arm. This week’s two-game home-and-home set with Trail should get the blood flowing. Vernon visits Saturday. INSIDER SAYS: The Vees have been red hot for a month but it’s tough to sustain over the long haul. They’re still the team to beat in the BCHL.
#2 Wenatchee (33-13-3-1 / .700) – Generally speaking, the Wild get the wins they are supposed to get at home. That was certainly the case this week with three solid performances against Powell River, Coquitlam, and Langley. Road games at Nanaimo, Alberni Valley, and Victoria could provide a challenge. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Wild have proven they can score in bunches but if you can slow them down and take away their speed, they become far less dangerous.
#3 Vernon (32-13-1-4 / .690) – The Vipers slip a spot after getting bit at Trail before bouncing back with a home win against Merritt. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: It doesn’t matter if the Vipers finish first, second, or third. They’ve got high end forwards and the best goaltending duo in the league. They’ll be trouble for whoever they meet in the playoffs.
#4 Trail (30-14-4-1 / .663) – These kids are rolling. The Smokies will put a four game streak on the line when the Vees visit tomorrow night. Trail goes to Penticton Friday before hosting Salmon Arm Saturday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: If this team had been healthy all year and hadn’t sacrificed players to the World Junior A Challenge for as long as they did, they’d be right in the mix for a top three finish. Good things are happening in Trail.
#5 Prince George (27-15-4-4 / .620) – PG has four wins in a row at a time where every victory is worth all but gold. Coquitlam will be a challenge this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: One of the main reasons PG has had success this season is staying out of the box. By getting out of their own way, they are poised to raise a Division banner.
#6 Victoria (26-17-4-3 / .590) – What’s going on with the Grizz? Anything less than a win tomorrow at Cowichan Valley would be a disaster. That same Caps team visits Saturday before Wenatchee comes in on Sunday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The rest of the Island Division is catching up in terms of skills, recruiting, and systems. They’d best not get caught looking past the Caps this week or they may drop a notch or two.
#7 Powell River (24-16-6-4 / .580) – The split with the Bulldogs delivered a trio of points, so nothing to worry about right? Merritt and West Kelowna visit this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Merritt is fighting to avoid a last place finish and West Kelowna is battling for home ice in the first round. Two hungry teams are rolling in, should be an electric weekend.
#8 Surrey (24-18-5-2 / .561) – What was that? Coquitlam simply ground the Eagles into the ice last week. Surrey visits West Kelowna tonight and Chilliwack later in the week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Eagles thought the Express were a “gimmie” in the afternoon game but quickly found out otherwise. Surrey can be good at home usually but these are road games this week.
#9 Nanaimo (25-20-3-3 / .549) – Yes, the Clippers have come through the storm apparently stronger than when they went in. Unbeaten in four games, let’s see if that continues when they visit Alberni Valley tomorrow night. Wenatchee and Merritt visit this weekend to provide a big test. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Even with their struggles, a division title is within reach. That kind of dangling carrot can unify a team, and they’ll need it with a long three game week.
#10 Langley (21-17-10-2 / .540) – Langley could now be the poster child for all the reasons the Interior Division is the best in the business. The Rivermen were not even close in two game trip to Trail (8-1 loss) and Wenatchee (7-2 loss). Let’s see what happens this week when Langley visits Vernon and Surrey. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The trip to Vernon will be another long night, and the Riv will be happy to get back in their own division. Until they arrive to find a Surrey team that’s all stirred up.
#11 Chilliwack (22-20-3-3 / .521) – Yea that happened…the Chiefs were swept at PG in two games. Earning just a single point from two games in February does not go down well for any team about to host the Royal Bank Cup. Just saying. The boys are in Vernon tomorrow night before surrey and West Kelowna visit this weekend. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The first part of the season has been disastrous but Coach Tatarnic’s crew remains within striking distance of at least a second place finish. Time to make that home ice advantage count.
#12 West Kelowna (24-24-1-1 / .500) – The Warriors are off to a rough start to February with back-to-back losses to Salmon Arm and Merritt. Dipping below .500 after this weekend would raise some eyebrows. The Warriors host Surrey tonight before visiting Cowichan Valley, Powell River, and Chilliwack later this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Warriors tend to prefer a high energy game, and the travel alone will wear them down pretty good this week. If they can collect four points this week, they will be fortunate.
#13 Salmon Arm (22-24-3-1 / .480) – Just two-games under .500, fifty games into the season, is nothing any first-year BCHL coach should hang their head about. Having to battle within junior hockey’s most competitive division would make the goings tough for any coach as well. The Silverbacks go to Coquitlam tomorrow before hitting Trail Friday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Pretty good hockey team whose only weakness may simply be depth in a very difficult division. Good enough to beat anyone on a given night, but probably not in a series.
#14 Merritt (19-24-4-1 / .448) – The Cents gave the Vees hell Friday night before falling. All that did was inspire a big effort in Saturday’s 6-3 win at West Kelowna. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Cents never give up. Ever. They’re the best team with a losing record in the league. And they may stun someone in the first round again like last year.
#15 Alberni Valley (15-27-4-4 / .380) – The ‘Dogs shocked picked up a split of their pair of games at Powell River. Getting a win in one of their two home games this weekend against Nanaimo and Wenatchee would be epic. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Alberni Valley manages to field a rugged, consistent, hard-working blue collar team each year and sometimes hard work will beat skill, but just not consistently. Winning one game would be a small surprise, but winning both, that would be epic.
#16 Coquitlam (14-32-1-3 / .320) – BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Express ripped Surrey 6-0 last week before falling at Wenatchee and Trail. Salmon Arm visits tomorrow before NoQuit-ville moves up to PG for two this weekend. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The game against Salmon Arm will be a good one, but PG is closing in on a Mainland Division crown and they’ll pull out all the stops, especially at home. The Express will have their hands full.
#17 Cowichan Valley (9-33-5-2 / .255) – The Caps lit the lamp nine times in their two losses last week, further proving that this group does have potential. Now let’s do something about allowing fifteen goals. Victoria and West Kelowna visit this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: If the Caps want to avoid being the only team left out of the dance, they need to start now, at home. If they don’t sweep this weekend, it’s probably all over in terms of hoping to sneak by Coquitlam for that last spot.
SCALE: A 725+, B 600-724, C 475-599, D 350-474, F 0-349