Longtime readers of this column will know how much I enjoy seeing things happen during Chilliwack Chiefs games that I’ve never seen happen before.
I’ve been around the team since they moved here from Richmond in the fall of 1990 so it doesn’t happen all that often these days, but thanks to Chiefs goaltender Mark Sinclair and forward Will Calverley I’m happy to add two happenings to the list.
In Chilliwack’s 7-6 overtime win in Wenatchee on Dec. 31, Sinclair was named the game’s third star. In the Chiefs next game, one week later at Prospera Centre, he was once again named third star in an 8-1 win over the Langley Rivermen.
Here’s what makes it interesting.
He didn’t play the full game in either one of those.
In the Wenatchee game, the Chiefs trailed 6-5 after two periods and it was then that Sinclair came into the game taking over for starter Brendan Barry.
He went on to stop all 19 shots he faced including six in just over two minutes of overtime.
Against Langley, with the Chiefs leading 8-0 early in the third, he was taken out in favor of affiliate player Mathieu Caron, who was given the opportunity to make his BCHL debut.
What Will Calverley pulled off last Saturday in Prince George was something I didn’t think was possible.
He scored just five seconds after the game started.
It’s definitely a team record and while I haven’t heard for sure, I believe it’s a league record as well.
I also enjoy the unexpected, at least when it comes in a positive form.
Chiefs forward Jake Smith is in his final year of junior hockey.
Prior to joining Chilliwack last season he was expected to be a defense-first type of player, the type that will play on the third line and provide the energy needed for a team to be successful. That’s exactly what he did last year while also chipping in eight goals and 17 assists.
I expected the same type of game from him this season and to nobody’s surprise he’s provided exactly that. But what was completely unexpected is the offensive numbers he’s putting up.
Not only are they surprising to me, I have a hunch they are surprising to him as well.
During the Chiefs Oct. 8 game in Alberni Valley, Smith was stopped on a penalty shot.
I mentioned this on the Chiefs twitter account and after the game he saw the tweet and responded with a shot at himself, tweeting the hashtag #notaskillguy.
He said that despite later in that game scoring the winning goal.
It was just his second goal of the season in the Chiefs 10th game. Ironically the very next day he scored the winning goal in Powell River.
Fast forward a few months and Smith now ranks 11th in the BCHL and second on the Chiefs in goals with 23.
He sits 27th in league scoring with 41 points proving that he is indeed a skill guy.
The Chiefs are home tonight (Friday) to Trail before travelling to Langley Saturday and Surrey Sunday afternoon.