Around the BCHL: Penticton Vees due for a surge

Around the BCHL is a look at happenings within the league and around the junior A world.

Welcome to the November 6, 2018 edition of Around the BCHL

One of the better ways to separate pretenders from contenders when you look at standings in any sport is points differential, or in hockey’s case goals for and goals against.

Two teams jumped off the page for the right reasons when I looked at this morning’s BCHL standings. The Penticton Vees are fourth in the Interior division despite having a plus-17 GF/GA ratio.

The Vees have lost nine games this season and seven of those defeats have been by one goal, including one in overtime and two via the shootout.

The Vees have won 10 games this season, seven of those by three goals or more, and that’s how you get the crooked ratio.

Penticton can probably anticipate some evening out of the luck, and should be back where they usually are in short order.

They are the league’s stingiest defensive team by pure goals against (46), though Prince George (49) has played two more games. That bodes well. If they continue to lose tight games, it’ll be because of an offence that is middle of the road.

The Coquitlam Express are third in the Mainland division despite having the best GF/GA ratio in the entire league at plus-25. The teams ahead of them are the Chilliwack Chiefs (plus-13) and PG (plus 14).

The Express haven’t experienced any abnormal luck with their losses, and their lopsided ratio is mostly driven by their wins. When Coquitlam has won this season (14 times), they’ve often won big. Remove one game, an 8-0 shutout of Surrey in late September and the radio is a more reasonable plus-17. That’s not to say the Express are unsustainable. Their goals-against (52) is right there with PG and Penticton and their offence can score goals in bunches.

The three front-runners in the Mainland division all seem legit, and Langley could still find a way to make noise.

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Two things of interest in the Wenatchee Wild twitter feed this morning.

First, you know I love talking jerseys, and here’s what the team is wearing Saturday for Military Appreciation Night at the Town Toyota Center.

Looks like the Nanaimo Clippers have cooked up a similar look.

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Next, a mascot dance off? Outstanding and the winner is too close to call.

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BCHL grad Dennis Cholowski continues to tear it up in his first National Hockey League season.

The former Chilliwack Chiefs defender has two goals and eight points through 12 games, which ties him for third in points among all NHL rookies.

If it weren’t for some guy named Elias, Cholowski would be making a strong early-season case for the Calder Trophy.

As it is, he’s the subject of a feature article at nhl.com, a sure sign that he’s there to stay.

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The Coquitlam Express had two scholarship announcements last week and they’ve got another to lead off this week.

Nineteen year old forward Joshua Wildauer has committed to Lake Superior State University, and will presumably join the Lakers in 2019-20. The Michigan native is in his second season with the Express, collecting nine goals and 22 points in 20 games so far. He had 11 goals and 34 points in 56 games last season.

Lake Superior State is another program that is friendly to BCHL grads.

Former BCHLers on this year’s roster include Gage Torrel (Langley), Bryan Basilico (West Kelowna), Brayden Gelsinger (Victoria), Alex Ambrosio (Coquitlam), Diego Cuglietta (Merritt), Mitchell Oliver (Alberni Valley) and Tyler Anderson (Prince George).

The Lakers play in the 19 team Western Collegiate Hockey Association (WCHA) alongside Alabama-Huntsville, Alaska-Anchorage, Alaska-Fairbanks, Bemidji State, Bowling Green State, Ferris State, Michigan Tech, Minnesota State-Mankato and Northern Michigan.

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

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