The Chilliwack Chiefs continue their hold on to the top spot in this week’s British Columbia Hockey League rankings. The Chiefs are at #1 for the third straight week. Now let’s get a good look how the rest of the teams shake out.
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1 – Chilliwack Chiefs (13-5-0-0): Chiefs picked up a pair of wins in three games with the only loss coming at hard-charging Penticton. Victoria visits Friday before the Chiefs take the short trip to Langley for Saturday night. Cowichan Valley visits Sunday afternoon to cap the week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Chiefs are playing well, and they’ll have to stay sharp with two teams nipping at their heels.
2 – Coquitlam Express (11-5-1-0): The Express remain at #2 after picking up three-points in their weekend home split with PG. The Express have a big test when they visit Penticton tonight. Cowichan Valley visits Saturday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: This team shows no signs of slowing down. Even when they don’t win, they tend to make a statement.
3 – Prince George Spruce Kings (10-5-0-1): PG picked up a pair of nice wins at Coquitlam (OT) and Langley before falling in Coquitlam on Sunday. The road trip continues this week with stops in Trail, Wenatchee, and Salmon Arm. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: A road weekend in the Interior will be a good measuring stick for a team that has it’s sights set on a title.
4 – Victoria Grizzlies (10-6-0-1): The Grizz climb a notch despite getting absolutely hammered by Powell River (12-5) at home. That road win at Nanaimo earlier in the week combined with the OT loss at home to…Surrey must have been worth a lot. Victoria goes to Chilliwack, Merritt, and Surrey this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The math doesn’t seem to add up. Victoria is struggling and this weekend may expose them a bit further.
5 – Merritt Centennials (11-7-0-0): The Cents jump two spots after getting W’s in two of three games last week. Merritt looked like world beaters in the shutout of Salmon Arm at home and overtime success at Wenatchee. Saturday’s 6-1 loss at Wenatchee looked like an entirely different team. Penticton and Victoria visit Nicola Valley Memorial Arena this weekend. The question remains, which Cents team is going to show up? BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Inconsistent? Maybe a little, but this team still sits atop a tightly bundled division. They’ll stay at or near the top of the standings all year.
6 – Penticton Vees (8-5-0-1): The Vees rapid climb up this list hit the brakes at #6 after the weekend split. Penticton was beaten at West K before ripping top-ranked Chilliwack 5-2 at home. #2 Coquitlam (I know, that sounds strange) visits tonight before the Vees visit rival Merritt Friday. The Warriors are in Penticton Saturday for the weekend finale. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: A busy week, and the Vees will have their hands full. They’re growing as a team, though, and they’ll start to make a push soon.
7 – Powell River Kings (9-6-0-0): The Kings rise a spot after taking two of three games on the road. Powell River crushed Victoria (12-5) before edging the Clippers, 2-1, in Nanaimo. Vernon and the Clippers visit this weekend. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: These are games the Kings should win, but they’ve been vulnerable at home at times. The division points are going to be most needed.
8 - Salmon Arm Silverbacks (8-6-1-0): The ‘Backs climb two rungs to #8 after wins in two of three games last week. The boys hit West K Friday before hosting Trail and PG Saturday and Sunday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The ‘Backs may not run away with the division, but they will continue to hang around and may surprise some people deep into the season.
9 - Langley Rivermen (7-6-1-0): The Rivermen hold at #9 despite back-to-back home losses to PG (2-1) and Alberni Valley (3-2 OT). Langley has a home-and-home set this week with Surrey before hosting Chilliwack Saturday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The rivalry with Surrey will leave the Riv either fired up or beat down for the Chiefs game. Either way, it’ll be a long weekend.
10 - Wenatchee Wild (7-6-2-0): Wenatchee inches up a spot after picking up three points in the weekend home split with #5 Merritt. Trail, Cowichan Valley, and PG invade Town Toyota Center this week in a trio of games that promise to challenges. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: All those road games, and now it’s time to see how home cooking treats them. Look out, Cowichan Valley is looking like the proverbial trap game.
11 - Vernon Vipers (6-5-4-0): The Vipers bump up to #11 after getting home wins over Trail and Alberni Valley. Salvaging a point from the overtime loss at Salmon took some of the sting out of the effort. Vernon is at Powell River and Alberni Valley this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Vernon’s record is misleading. With 4 overtime losses, they could easily be alone in second place with a bounce or two. The Vipers will likely move up another spot or two this week.
12 - Trail Smoke Eaters (7-6-2-1): The Smokies nose-dived eight spots to #12 after a trio of losses last week. The crew can erase that ill-feeling with a big result at Wenatchee tonight. PG is in town Friday before Trail goes to Salmon Arm Friday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The Smokies may be on the ropes entering this week, but don’t expect them to stay that way for long. Tall order for Trail to stay in the mix after this week.
13 - West Kelowna Warriors (8-7-0-1): The Warriors fall a spot to lucky 13 despite wins over both Penticton and Trail. Don’t blame me, it’s just math. Salmon Arm visits Friday before West K goes to Penticton Saturday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: You’re kidding yourself if you think Penticton isn’t salivating at the chance to get West K in the SOEC on Saturday. Better be sharp on Friday at home or the Warriors may get nothing to show for their efforts.
14 - Alberni Valley Bulldogs (6-9-1-0): The ‘Dogs picked up points in their overtime win over Langley Sunday after two road losses at Salmon Arm and Vernon. The Clippers and Vipers visit the Weyerhaeuser Arena this week. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Just when you think the ‘Dogs are headed to the pound, they pull it together and pound on an opponent. Still not a threat long term, but still a threat on any given night.
15 – Nanaimo Clippers (6-10-0-0): The Clippers did the negative two-step with a win and pair of losses last week. This team has proven to have the power to take down giants; so getting road wins this weekend at Alberni Valley and Powell River is a possibility. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: After some considerable roster juggling, maybe the Clips have stumbled on a combination that can compete. Intensity should be high for these in-division matchups.
16 – Cowichan Valley Capitals (4-10-1-1): The Caps scored two big ones at home over Powell River and Surrey to push themselves off the bottom of the pool. Having that kind of success this week would be an epic accomplishment with games at Wenatchee, Coquitlam, and Chilliwack. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: Win streak? The Capitals? Well, two is a streak, but with this trio of opponents, it’s hard to see them having much success.
17 – Surrey Eagles (5-13-0-0): The Eagles stopped the slide with a big win at Victoria Sunday. This week’s home-and-home with Langley is as important as it gets. Victoria visits to cap the week Sunday. BCHL INSIDER SAYS: The back to back Langley games will likely leave a lot of guys banged up and exhausted, and primed for a Victoria-sized revenge match. That one could get really hairy.