The BCHL Report is a weekly look at Canada’s British Columbia Hockey
League. The BCHL Insider is just that. A coach, or employee, that has incredibly close access to all things BCHL.
Powell River (18-9-2-2) – The
Kings won just one of their three road games last week and play another trio
this weekend. It’s a strange feeling to know that the trip to Surrey,
Coquitlam, and West Kelowna can be fruitless if the boys are not giving it
100%. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Three day roadies
are always tough, and with Coquitlam suddenly no longer a “gimmie”, might be a
long trip back home.
Nanaimo (16-12-3-2) – Head
Coach Mike Vandekamp’s Clips were given the slip in both games last week. In
the last weekend before the Christmas break, Nanaimo visits Trail, Penticton,
and Merritt. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: A great
chance for the Clippers to make a statement heading into the break. They’ll
learn a lot about themselves this week.
Victoria (16-14-3-1) –
Craig Didmon’s Grizzlies lit the lamp 16 times in their pair of wins over the
division’s first and second place teams. Victoria visits Alberni Valley
tomorrow night before hosting Cowichan Valley and Prince George later in the
week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Grizz will
have their hands full this weekend, home ice may play a role.
Alberni Valley (9-18-2-4) – Matt Hughes’
Bulldogs chopped the Chiefs Saturday night in their only win in three tries
last week. Victoria and the Caps visit the Weyerhaeuser this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: This team suddenly has
to look over its shoulder as the Capitals have found their sea legs. Too early
to say the game with Cowichan Valley has playoff implications, but then again,
Cowichan Valley (5-22-3-2) – The
Caps’ are back! Winners of three straight, it looks like Cowichan Valley is on
a mission. The Caps visit Victoria and Alberni Valley Friday and Saturday
before hosting Prince George in the final game before Christmas. BCHL
INSIDER SAYS: Three wins in a row? Is four too much to ask? Even four of the
last six before break would be pretty nice.
Vernon (23-7-1-4) – Head
Coach Mark Ferner’s Vipers were beaten at home by Coquitlam last week before
winning at Salmon Arm Friday and at home against the Killer Vees on Saturday.
Welcome to life in the BCHL. Merritt and Trail visit this week in advance of
the Christmas break. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Vipers got a swift
kick in the loss to Coquitlam at home, and they’ve refocused which could
trouble for the visitors at Kal Tire Place this weekend.
Penticton (22-6-1-2) – Head
Coach Fred Harbinson’s Vees won a dozen straight games before coming up with
snake eyes at Vernon on Saturday night. That’s going to happen from time to
time. Penticton visits West Kelowna Friday before getting the last game in
before the Holidays against the Clippers at home on Saturday. INSIDER SAYS: West K will be preaching
redemption after last weeks loss, and the Clippers are on a mission to make a
statement. Penticton tends to draw opponents best efforts.
Wenatchee (21-9-2-1) – Head
Coach Bliss Littler’s Wild were beaten at Prince George on Saturday after
winning a tough one at Merritt the night before. Those trips to PG can be
difficult for any team. Wenatchee fans get to go Wild this weekend with a rare
double when the Silverbacks are in for a pair of games. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Once again, Wenatchee remains solid, but
inconsistent. That won’t be good enough in the Interior Division. Their barn
remains one of the tougher ones for a road team to win.
Trail (20-10-2-0) – Head
Coach Cam Keith’s Smokies picked up a big win at West Kelowna on Saturday and
will host Merritt tonight. Nanaimo visits Friday before Trail closes the
pre-Christmas schedule at Vernon on Saturday. BCHL
INSIDER SAYS: Has Trail really shaken off the funk? This weekend will challenge
the Smokies, and we’ll see if they have really found their groove.
West Kelowna (17-15-1-0) –
Coach Rylan Ferster’s Warriors had a difficult week, dropping both games to
Penticton and Trail. The Vees and Kings
visit Royal LePage Place Friday and Sunday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Revenge is a powerful motivator, and this week the
Warriors are salivating at another shot at Penticton on home ice. Win or lose,
the emotional letdown may cost them the following night.
Merritt (13-14-2-1) – Head
Coach Joe Martin’s Cents split the weekend home games, losing to the Wild on
Friday before besting Salmon Arm Saturday. Still just a single game under .500,
there’s still hope to get over that mark before Christmas with matchups at
Trail and Vernon before hosting Nanaimo Sunday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Merritt has a good shot at getting to .500 and have
the benefit of a day off between each game. That will help come Sunday.
Salmon Arm (12-18-3-0) – Head
Coach Scott Atkinson’s Silverbacks fall to six games under .500 after dropping
five straight games. Getting a positive result before the Christmas break is
not going to be easy with a pair of games at Wenatchee this weekend. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The ‘Backs are skating
into hostile territory in a building that’s historically tough on visitors. But
Salmon Arm did win there earlier this season, so don’t go mailing in your picks
on this series just yet.
Langley (16-9-9-1) – The
good news:Head Coach Bobby Henderson’s first place Rivermen managed to put an
end to their four-game winless streak Friday with a 4-1 win over Surrey. The
Bad? Losing 3-1 at home to the last-place Express. Tis the season… Chilliwack
and Surrey come to the George Preston Arena this weekend. BCHL
INSIDER SAYS: Langley’s hold on first place is under siege with the Spruce
Kings breathing down their necks. Hendo’s boys had best defend the Lodge,
because PG is coming hard.
Prince George (18-10-2-3) – Head
Coach Adam Maglio’s Spruce Kings have won six straight and are knocking down
the first place door going into the Christmas break. Prince George visits
Coquitlam, Victoria, and Cowichan Valley. BCHL
INSIDER SAYS: Back on the road after an extended homestand, the Spruce Kings
face compelling matchups that two weeks ago would be seen as yawners.
Surrey (17-13-3-1) –
Brandon West’s Eagles are playing the win one-lose one game again. That’s OK
for teams four games over .500. Powell River visits Friday before going to
Langley Saturday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Expectations
are high in Surrey this year, and they’re not going to settle for a few games
Chilliwack (16-14-2-2) – Head
Coach Jason Tatarnic’s Chiefs just got by Coquitlam 4-2 on Friday before
getting embarrassed 4-1 at home by Alberni Valley. Chilliwack goes to Langley
Friday for the last game before Christmas. BCHL
INSIDER SAYS: Yeah, almost every team makes the playoffs and yeah, the RBC
berth is guaranteed, but this Chiefs club is determined to finish strong and
prove they belong.
Coquitlam (6-23-1-2) – Anytime
the Express can take two of three games over the weekend it’s going to be a
good thing. I’m liking what’s been seen so far with this new coach. Prince
George and Powell River visit this weekend. BCHL
INSIDER SAYS: Two good hockey teams are coming to the Poirier this week, and
that’s just what Coquitlam needs to continue their growth. This team will wreck
other teams dreams along the way.
Stephen Heisler has
spent a lifetime in the game of hockey. Stephen is also working with individual
teams, coaches, and players as a director with the Heisler Hockey Group.
Stephen, his wife Deysi, and four children reside in Orlando, Florida
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