Around the BCHL: Salmon Arm Silverbacks enjoy home ice advantage

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening within the league and around the junior A world.

Welcome to the October 30, 2018 edition of Around the BCHL.

Mike Vandekamp has a reputation for coaching tough teams that rack up the penalty minutes, and his new crew seems to be following that path.

In Sunday’s game in Chilliwack, a 3-2 loss, the Caps came out with mayhem on their minds and put themselves shorthanded six times in the first period alone. Calls against them included unsportsmanlike conduct, hooking, boarding, cross-checking and a double-minor for tripping/slew footing.

Cowichan’s Adam Conquest (great name!) has 24 penalty minutes in 13 games this season, which is the sixth highest total on the hard-charging Caps.

Cowichan ended up with 11 power plays against in that game and one of those helped Chilliwack erase a one-goal deficit in the third period.

A league-wide look finds the Caps atop the PIM pile by a substantial margin.

They’ve got 369 minutes in the sin bin. The next most penalized team is the Surrey Eagles with 305. Probably not a coincidence that those two teams are the worst record-wise in the BCHL so far. That’s not to say Vandekamp’s approach can’t work, because it did for many years in other stops. But he doesn’t seem to have a roster that can intimidate opponents, survive the penalties that result and still have the skill to win.

At the other end of the penalty spectrum is Powell River, and again it’s by a wide margin.

The Kings have only been assessed 157 minutes (less than half of Cowichan’s total). The Prince George Spruce Kings are next at 178 PIMs.

————————————————————————————————————————

Don’t look now, but Salmon Arm has suddenly become a very difficult place for BCHL teams to play.

The surprising Silverbacks are 8-1-1 at the Shaw Centre this season after dumping the Prince George Spruce Kings by a 2-1 count Sunday night. Their record includes wins over Interior division rivals Penticton, Trail, Vernon, Merritt and West Kelowna and it’s a huge reason why they are second in their division.

Salmon Arm isn’t the only team that’s red hot on home ice.

The Chilliwack Chiefs are 8-1-0-0. Their first loss at Prospera Centre came Friday night as the Victoria Grizzlies skated off with a 4-2 win.

The Coquitlam Express are 8-1-1-0 at the Poirier Arena. After the last few seasons, it’ll take a while for a sentence like that to not seem totally bizarre.

At the other end of the spectrum, the Surrey Eagles are 1-7-0-0 at the South Surrey Arena and the Alberni Valley Bulldogs have struggled to a 2-5-1-0 record at the Weyerhauser Arena, although the Dawgs have won their last two at home.

We’re about a third of the way through the season and the sample size is getting large enough to draw some conclusions.

Teams that are good now are probably going to stay good.

Teams that are bad now have a lot of work to do.

————————————————————————————————————————

The Penticton Vees unveiled the name of their new mascot during a weekend home game.

The finalists were Victor, HarVee, Scout or Blue.

And the winner based on an online fan vote was…

————————————————————————————————————————

Coquitlam Express forward Chase Danol is on a tear, with goals in six straight games.

The Michigan native lit the lamp Oct. 12 in a home game versus Chilliwack and scored one apiece in games against Nanaimo, Prince George, Prince George again, Penticton and Cowichan Valley. The future Bowling Green Falcon had a five-game goal scoring streak between Sept. 22 and Sept. 30, giving him 11 goals in his last 14 games.

Including this one.

He’s tied with Powel River’s Ben Brar for the longest goal-scoring run this season.

————————————————————————————————————————

Sticking with Coquitlam, it’s been a productive week for Express players committing to NCAA schools.

Goalie Kolby Matthews netted a scholarship to the Rochester Institute of Technology and forward Regan Kimens has committed to Merrimack College.

I saw Kimens a lot last season with the Chiefs, although he was rarely in the lineup once the playoffs started.

He flashed signs of offensive ability, including a game last October where he scored three shorthanded goals in a win over Salmon Arm.

Getting a fresh start with Coquitlam has allowed him to unlock his potential.

The Ontario native sits 20th in BCHL scoring with six goals and 19 points in 19 games, matching (points-wise) what he put up with Chilliwack last season.

————————————————————————————————————————

First goals are always fun, especially when they’re captured on video.

In an otherwise terrible game for the Surrey Eagles Sunday, 16 year old affiliate player John Evans went hard to the net with his stick on the ice to tap in a feed from Corey Clifton.

Eric Welsh is the sports editor at the Chilliwack Progress and has been covering junior A hockey in B.C. and Alberta since 2003.

Email eric.welsh@theprogress.com

Just Posted

Vehicle crashes into ground floor of Comox retirement building Saturday

A driver narrowly avoided injury to herself or others as her vehicle… Continue reading

Comox Valley libraries have plenty to offer during Family Literacy Week

Colleen Nelson Special to The Record Do you have a young reader… Continue reading

Strong winds up to 100 km/h for parts of Vancouver Island

Wind warning in effect for north, east and west Vancouver Island into Saturday morning

Comox Legion celebrates Robbie Burns day

The Comox Valley Pipe Band Society is celebrating Robbie Burns on Jan.… Continue reading

VIDEO: École Puntledge Park Elementary celebrates winter solstice

The event was a part of the school’s Indigenous education curriculum

Self serve doggy-wash poised to change dog grooming industry

Add money, start spraying to wash dog in the K9000

Anxiety in Alaska as endless aftershocks rattle residents

Seismologists expect the temblors to continue for months, although the frequency has lessened

Comox Valley libraries have plenty to offer during Family Literacy Week

Colleen Nelson Special to The Record Do you have a young reader… Continue reading

Women’s March returns across the U.S. amid shutdown and controversy

The original march in 2017, the day after President Donald Trump’s inauguration, drew hundreds of thousands of people

Federal Liberals announce former B.C. MLA as new candidate in byelection

Richard Lee will face off against federal NDP leader Jagmeet Singh

No winning ticket in $10 million Lotto Max jackpot

No win in Friday night’s draw means the next Lotto Max draw will be approximately $17 million

Scientists ID another possible threat to orcas: pink salmon

For two decades, significantly more of the whales have died in even-numbered years than in odd years

Burnaby byelection turmoil sparks debate about identity issues in politics

The Liberals still have not said whether they plan to replace Wang, who stepped aside Wednesday

B.C. woman planned to donate a kidney to her husband, then found out she has cancer

Richard Stuart needs a kidney, his wife Tracy has been diagnosed with cancer

Most Read