The Chilliwack Chiefs beat the Coquitlam Express and Surrey Eagles last weekend to stretch their win streak to six games and continue their domination over Mainland Division opponents.
The Chiefs downed the Eagles 2-1 Friday in Surrey, before returning to Prospera Centre and steamrolling the Express 5-1 Saturday.
The Chiefs now boast not only the top record in the British Columbia Hockey League, but the best goal differential, the best winning percentage, the most wins, the fewest goals against and the best penalty killing.
It was goaltending and special teams that allowed the Chiefs to beat the Eagles Friday.
Chilliwack's first goal was scored late in the first period on the power play by Josh Hansen, whose 18 markers lead the BCHL. (Luke Esposito, who continues to lead the league in assists, picked up a helper on the goal.) Then, early in the second period, Chiefs captain David Thompson scored shorthanded to put Chilliwack up by two.
That was all the help Chiefs net-minder Mitch Gillam would need. Gillam made 37 saves, surrendering the only Surrey goal late in the third period. He now leads the BCHL in save percentage.
The following night, Gillam got the night off, but backup Josh Halpenny proved just as capable between the posts as the Chiefs stopped the Coquitlam Express.
Chilliwack dominated the first, and Mitch Skapski scored on a Brodyn Nielsen rebound just 1: 38 into the game to open the scoring. Although Coquitlam would score the equalizer on the power play late in the period, Ryan Donohoe replied with 1: 01 left on the clock to send Chilliwack to the dressing room with a lead.
The Chiefs cruised the rest of the way, with Thompson and Hansen scoring in the second, and Dono-hoe adding his second of the game early in the third to seal the win.
Coquitlam finished just one-for-nine on the power play as Chilliwack's penalty killing continued to excel. The Chiefs have allowed just 16 power play goals so far this year, while registering six shorthanded goals of their own. With an 87.6 per cent success rate, the Chiefs PK is more than four percentage points better than the second-ranked Express.
Second line starting to chip in
After relying on the trio of Esposito, Hansen and Plevy to do most of the scoring during the first quarter of the year, Chiefs head coach Harvey Smyl seems to have found a second line that can provide some much needed secondary scoring.
The line of Donohoe, Trevor Hills and Jaret Babych combined for seven points Saturday.
Over the Chiefs' six-game winning streak (not all of which they played together as a line) Donohoe has four goals and three assists, Babych has four goals and one assist, and Hills has five goals and four assists.
Moving up in national ranking
With the two wins, the Chiefs moved up to ninth spot in the Canadian Junior Hockey League's weekly rankings. The Chiefs were ranked 10th last week.
The Victoria Grizzlies (11th) and the Penticton Vees (15th) are the only other two ranked BCHL teams.
Starting to draw more fans
Winning is also translating to more fans in the stands. After averaging 1,901 fans through their first seven games, down from last year but still the best in the BCHL, the Chiefs have drawn more than 2,500 bodies to each of their last two home games.
They'll be looking for an even larger turnout with Cash Mob Chilliwack encouraging locals to pack the building for this Saturday's game against the Merritt Centennials.