When it comes to junior hockey all bets are off. Almost always. Especially so when you’re coming off an extended break like we just had over Christmas. But maybe it was Chilliwack’s strong coaching staff, maybe it was their leadership, maybe it was their memories of a 9-4 drubbing at the hands of the Rivermen just before the break or maybe a little bit of all the above that had the Chiefs seemingly focused and ready to go for a difficult three-game series with the Wenatchee Wild to close out December. Not only did the Chiefs hand the Wild their first loss on home ice this season but they swept the three-game set, winning both in Wenatchee.
The Wild can still hold claim to being undefeated at home in regulation this season but the Chiefs have certainly made their mark. Chilliwack outscored the Wild 4-2 in the final two periods last Wednesday at Prospera Centre to down the Wild 5-3. It was a big win ahead of the dreaded two-games looming at Town Toyota Center but the Chiefs weren’t satisfied yet. They went into Wenatchee and found themselves down 3-1 late in the second period but rallied, pulling within one before the break before Jake Smith tied it mid-third with his 17th of the season.
Connor McCarthy played the hero Friday night scoring his ninth of the season 2:55 into double overtime to hand the Wild their first home ice loss of the campaign.
The Wild certainly had revenge on their minds in Saturday night’s mini-series finale but once again the two Mainland division rivals found themselves tied after regulation. It was a back-and-forth barn burner that saw a combined 11 goals scored in the first two periods alone. Just like the night before the Chiefs were down by a pair late in the second. This time it was Colin Bernard who tightened the gap with his second with just over a minute remaining in the period. Smith then tied it again earning the hat trick with his 20th less than two minutes into the third at which point the goals amazingly stopped coming with the game tied up at six.
Double overtime was needed yet again with Davis Bunz recording his fifth of the season at the 2:26 mark handing the Chiefs their third straight win over the Wild.
All four goaltenders saw action in Saturday’s crazy affair while Smith finished with a four point game helping him to earn the final BCHL Player of the Week for 2016 with four goals and four assists in the three games.
It was certainly a statement week for the Chiefs who find themselves seven points back of the division leading Wild. The two rivals don’t play again this regular season but there’s a pretty strong chance we see yet another playoff battle between them and my what a war that would be.