Tonight – Coquitlam Express (7-4-0-0) at Chilliwack Chiefs (7-3-0-0)
7 p.m. at Prospera Centre in Chilliwck
Presented by the BCIHL
This is the first of eight games between these Mainland Division rivals this season. Last year, the Chiefs won seven of the eight meetings and one ended in a tie.
Coquitlam’s Regan Kimens has points in seven straight games. He has two goals and seven assists over that span. His teammate Christian Sanda is on a five-game point streak, with two goals and four assists in those contests. Joshua Wildauer leads the team with 11 points in 11 games. Kimens, Sanda and Dallas Farrell are all right behind him with 10 points. Jordan Schulting has eight points on the year which ties him for second in scoring among all BCHL defencemen. Express goalie Kolby Matthews is second in the BCHL with a save percentage of .942 and a goals-against average of 1.86.
Offensively, the Chiefs are led by Kevin Wall, who has 11 points in 10 games, and Harrison Blaisdell who has 10 points on the year. Wall’s seven goals also tie him for first in the BCHL. Chilliwack goalie Mathieu Caron is tied for fourth in the league with a .923 save percentage and ranks eighth with a 2.35 goals-against average.
What’s at Stake
Coming into the week, these two teams were tied for first place in the Mainland Division as well as the overall BCHL standings, although with their win last night, the Prince George Spruce Kings have moved one point ahead. The Express had their six-game winning streak snapped on Wednesday when they lost 4-1 to the Surrey Eagles, while the Chiefs had a seven-game streak end last weekend when they lost 6-0 to the Victoria Grizzlies. This game kicks off an eight-game season series which will continue next Friday in Coquitlam.
From the Broadcast Booth
Coquitlam Express play-by-play broadcaster Eddie Gregory on the key to the team’s strong start to the season:
“First off, returnee Clay Stevenson and Kolby Matthews have provided strong goaltending each night. Stevenson doesn’t need to look spectacular in order to be effective. He uses his size to be a presence in the crease. Matthews has been able to use his quickness to put himself in good position to make the saves. That duo has worked well together to start.”
Gregory on Coquitlam spreading out the scoring on their league-high 35 goals:
“The balance of the attack has given the team plenty of options to provide offence. There’s a lot of guys with good skill and hockey sense to be able to get to the net and finish. That helps [head coach] Jason Fortier who has a team that can use multiple lines to push the attack.”
Gregory on tonight’s matchup with the Chiefs:
“It could be a high-pace game in a loud building where the market is excited following the Chiefs RBC Cup win and a good start to the year. For the Express, even though most of the team has turned over from last year, they will try to post their first non-showcase victory in Chilliwack since March 2014.”
Chiefs play-by-play broadcast Vanni DeBartolo on the Chiefs hot start this year:
“This group is an extremely tight bunch of guys who have come together as a complete unit and have bought into the system immediately. The defence has really shined in front of the goaltending by minimizing shots on goal and chances from in close. Offensively this group is tenacious in getting pucks on the net and you can see that by how many games this year they’ve had over 40 shots on goal.”
DeBartolo on Chiefs goaltender Mathieu Caron:
“His game continues to grow and develop. He’s seeing the puck and is able to read plays as they happen, giving himself a chance to slow everything down in his mind and be in the right position. He worked hard in the offseason to try and be that guy that needs to be relied upon and so far he’s done just that. The guys have total trust in him”
DeBartolo on tonight’s matchup with the Express:
I expect a rebound game from the Chiefs after losing to Victoria on Sunday. Playing three games in two and a half days last weekend would be tough on anyone. Some time off early this week to recharge and get some good practice in has helped. Coquitlam has retooled this season, so I’m looking forward to seeing what they’ve got. It should be a good battle tonight.”