The first two weekends of the season have been highlighted by some outstanding goaltending, starting with Kevin Genoe of Prince George who is 4-0 with a 1.45 Goals-Against Average and a .940 Save Percentage. Staying up in the North, Quesnel's Jeff Malcolm is also enjoying a solid start to his second season after turning away 76 of 80 shots in back-to-back wins over Salmon Arm.
Chris Rawlings, now with Cowichan Valley, and Marco Raimondo, now with Trail, were traded in the offseason and both won their first starts with 37 and 48 saves respectively.
The Cowichan Valley Capitals were busy in the offseason as they first traded Raimondo and defenseman Brandon Clark to Trail for Brett Corcoran. Both Raimondo and Clark were named first stars in the Smoke Eaters' two wins. Clark has three points in three games whereas Corcoran was the first star in Cowichan Valley's victory and has three points in two games. Next up the Caps sent Brooks Robinson and Ryne Bodger to Powell River for Rawlings and Mitch MacMillan. Robinson leads the league in points with 11 and Bodger has chipped in two assists while MacMillan has two points in two games and Rawlings has picked up a victory against the rival Clippers. Two blockbuster trades and both seem to be working out for all three teams involved. Kevin Rothbauer of The Cowichan Valley Citizen talked about these two trades in his article here.
Speaking of trades, it appears that head coach Dave McLellan will be busy in Burnaby. Grant Granger of the Burnaby NewsLeader wrote this: “McLellan said he's been looking at a couple of former BCHL defenceman now playing outside the province. He's also been working all summer on acquiring a particular top six forward who wants to play on the Lower Mainland but whose rights are held by another team. He was pivotal in the Express plans during the off-season, said McLellan.” The rest of this article can be read here.
Credit goes out to Surrey, who has handed the 3-1-0-0 Chiefs and 3-1-1-0 Kings their only regulation losses this season. Speaking of Langley and Powell River, they meet up on Friday in what has the makings of Game of the Week 1A to go alongside Victoria @ Nanaimo. For the Grizzlies they will be playing their fifth straight Road game to start the season before returning home to play five in a row.
After getting blown away by a combined score of 13-1 on opening weekend by the Spruce Kings, the Merritt Centennials responded by firing 97 shots on goal in the following weekend in two games against Trail and Prince George for a loss and a win respectively.
The Smokies gave up 102 shots in their first two games but managed to win both contests. Trail (at 43.7) and Alberni Valley (at 43.5) are the top teams in the league for highest average shots against. The Interior Conference boosts the five teams averaging the lowest shots against in the league with Vernon (25.0), Westside (25.5), Salmon Arm (27.0), Prince George (27.2), and Penticton (28.0), indicating that there might be a lot of low scoring games in he Okanagan this season. Right now Powell River leads the way with 42.6 shots for per game while Quesnel has managed only 22.0 shots for on average in their four contests.
The quote of the week has to go to Trail head coach and GM Jim Ingrim for telling Guy Bertrand of the Trail Times: “We didn't give a 60-minute effort. I thought the first period was decent, the second was crap and the third was decent. I thought we won a lot more battles in the third.” The rest of the story can be read here.
Also, Vernon captain Chris Crowell was unhappy with how his team played against Prince George and he told Kevin Mitchell of the Vernon Morning Star, “It's early which is good, but at the same time, those could be the two points that catch up to you at the end of the year when you're in the hunt for whatever place you're looking for,” said Crowell. “I don't know what it was tonight. It was a bad effort, definitely one of the worst I've been a part of. It was embarrassing. We got outplayed by an average team. If we want to start calling ourselves a contender, we better start acting like it.” The full article is here.
Johnny Van Siclen of the Sprucies is the early candidate for the Reverse Cy Young Award with zero goals and six assists in five games. (The Cy Young is a mock award carried over from baseball for hockey players with high goal totals but few assists).
Finally there have been five overtime games so far and all but one has went to double-overtime, including the first tie of the season between the Express and Kings.
Patrick Haas, the voice of the Salmon Arm Silverbacks, takes a weekly look at the top news from around the BC Hockey League. Each week, Patrick will review the headlines that have fans of the league's 16 teams buzzing.