This was in the BC Hockey Now Newspaper:
BCHL Team Reports: Penticton Leads The Way
November 18, 2011
Posted in BC Edition, Junior A
By Mark Janzen
The BCHL hit the one-third pole in the 2011/12 season this week and the action is already heating up as this year’s playoff race is setting up to be as intense as it’s ever been given the current state of parity and the fact only the top four teams in each conference will qualify for the post-season this year.
Heading into this weekend’s action, 14 of the league’s 16 teams were either in a playoff position or within four points of a playoff position.
So as the teams head for the halfway point, even this early in the season, every night points are as valuable as they’ve ever been.
The Vees have simply been dominant this year. They lead the league with 5.05 goals for per game and are tied for third in the league with only 3.00 goals against per game. At home, they are 8-0-0-1 where they have also outscored their opponents 49-19.
The Vipers have quietly gone about their business this year and, despite a slight regress from last year, are still the second best team in the league and one of the best in the country. While they have earned 13 wins in 18 games, the Vees otherworldly play has overshadowed Vernon’s quality start.
With a 9-1-0-1 record in its past 11 games, the red-hot Centennials have catapulted themselves into the upper echelon of the conference. Over that span only three wins were by more than one goal and four wins came in overtime but there finding ways to win.
The Chiefs have kept themselves in a playoff position thanks to the three-headed offensive monster that is Derek Huisma, David Bondra and Malcolm Gould. While none of them have been world-beaters, they each have 18 points and have Chilliwack four games above the .500-mark.
Prince George Spruce Kings
The Spruce Kings paltry road record of 1-5-1-2 is what has kept them from moving into a playoff position. At home, they have seven wins in 10 games. If they can get a few more points on the road, they’ll push for a playoff spot.
After a decent start to the season, in which the Warriors were one game above .500 through nine games, winning just two of their last 10 has Westside slipping towards the bottom of the standings.
Salmon Arm SilverBacks
The Silverbacks have yet to really gain any traction so far this year. They have been average at home (4-4-0-4) and below average on the road (2-5-0-1). Their 3.90 goals against average is fourth worst in the league.
Trail Smoke Eaters
It’s been a tough year for Trail as they have just three wins in 20 games. They’ve given up 5.25 goals against per game and scored just 2.40 goals per game. Clayton Chessa leads the team with 16 points in 19 games.
Cowichan Valley Capitals
Somehow the Capitals just get wins. Statistically, they aren’t really at the top of any category, their special teams have been middling and they don’t have a scorer in the league’s top 15. Yet, with six wins in their last seven games, they’re on top of the conference and that’s all that matters.
Despite only scoring three more goals than they’ve allowed the Eagles are six games above the .500-mark. A big reason for their success can be attributed to their penalty kill, which is working at a league best 86.6 per cent.
Powell River Kings
The Kings have a league best 9-1-1-0 record at home but only a 2-5-1-0 record on the road. If they can pick up a few more points away from Powell River and keep getting the stellar goaltending they’ve been receiving from Jamie Phillips and Sean Maguire, who have allowed a league-low 42 goals in 19 games, they’ll be in business.
After a slow start, the Clippers are in the thick of the playoff race after winning seven of their last 10 games. Unlike past years when Nanaimo has picked up most of its points at home, this year it’s the Clippers road record, currently at 7-2-0-2, which has kept them afloat.
If you want to see goals, both for and against, the Grizzlies are the team to watch. Victoria has scored 4.00 goals per game, which is the second most in the BCHL, but at the same time have given up 4.22 goals against per game, which is also the second most in the league.
Alberni Valley Bulldogs
The Bulldogs have been one of the streakiest teams in the league this year. They started the season with three wins, then they went six games without a win, then they won five in a row, then they lost three in a row. A win against Langley snapped the latest streak and going into this weekend, it seems a win streak is in order.
Led by Alex Petan, who has 12 goals and 16 assists in 18 games and has 11 more points than his closest teammate, the Express are only four points out of a playoff spot despite a very average 8-8-1-2 record.
With just six wins in their first 19 games, the Rivermen are taking up the cellar in the Coastal Conference. Their 2.05 goals for per game is a league low and with Darnell Dyck leading the team in scoring with just 16 points, Langley has a big hill to climb to get back into the playoff race.