Around the BCHL: Victoria’s young guns light the lamp and Wenatchee fans paint the ice

Around the BCHL is a look at what’s happening in the league and throughout the junior A world.

Welcome to the December 4, 2018 edition of Around the BCHL.

A random stat produced by Coquitlam Express radio play by play man Eddie Gregory.

Star sniper Regan Kimens has two hat-tricks in his BCHL career, involving just one even-strength goal. With Chilliwack last year he scored three shorthanded goals in a 6-1 win over the Salmon Arm Silverbacks.

During a Sunday road game at Alberni Valley, Kimens and company fell behind 3-0 to the Bulldogs. After Danny Pearson got Coquitlam on the board 5:11 into period two, Kimens took over, scoring the next three Express goals.

Two of them were on the power play.

What does the stat mean? Nothing. Just something fun to chew on, but Kimens is one of the more interesting players in the league this year. This is a guy who produced 10 goals and 19 points in 54 games last year and was used sparingly by Chilliwack in the playoffs. Given a new lease on life with the Express, the Ontario native is already up to 10 goals and 26 points in 30 games and earlier this season secured a commitment to Merrimack College.

The BCHL exists as a development league and Kimens stands out this year as a success story.

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If you’re a fan of firewagon hockey with tons of goals, Friday night was your kind of scene.

Start with the Express and Victoria combining for 16 goals as the Grizzlies won 10-6. Victoria’s young guns were unstoppable as 18 year old Riley Hughes scored three and 17 year olds Alex Newhook and Alexander Campbell had two apiece.

The West Kelowna Warriors jumped out to a 5-1 first period lead on the Nanaimo Clippers, in Nanaimo, then held on for a 7-5 win.

Ryan Sandelin scored two for the Penticton Vees in a 7-4 road win over the Trail Smoke Eaters and Brian Adams sniped a pair for the red-hot Wenatchee Wild in an 8-3 road win at Salmon Arm.

If it seems like the goals are coming fast and furious in the league this year, the reality is… not really.

League wide, teams are averaging an average of 3.23 goals per game, which is actually tick lower than last season’s 3.24.

The Grizzlies are averaging 4.23 goals per game, which is higher than the 2017-18 Wenatchee Wild’s 4.16, and this year’s Wild (4.06) and Merritt Centennials (3.78) would’ve ranked second and third last season above the Smokies (3.76), but there’s nothing jumping out of the numbers that suggests a larger trend. At the bottom end of the scale, Alberni Valley’s average of 2.32 is lower than last year’s Express, which averaged 2.38.

If anything, it’s possible scoring might decline after Christmas as teams start tightening up defensively and we get into playoff races.

Enjoy those high scoring games while you’ve got them.

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Here’s something I take for granted, having grown up in Port Coquitlam, lived in Vancouver and now residing an hour away from the city.

Never occurred to me how much of a treat a ferry ride from Tsawwassen to Victoria must be for some of these BCHLers.

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Here’s something really special that the Wenatchee Wild organization does.

Fans gathered at the Town Toyota Centre last night, painting the names of friends and family affected by cancer on the ice.

The team hosts this annually for Pink at the Rink night.

The names will remain on the ice Friday as the Wild host the Penticton Vees.

It’s a next-level idea to recognize the ongoing fight against breast cancer, and hats off to the team for doing it.

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It’s Teddy Bear Toss season in the BCHL, which is usually a good thing.

But not so for the Nanaimo Clippers, who were shut out by Coquitlam last Saturday. Fans waited 60 minutes at the Frank Crane Arena to no avail as the home team put just 21 pucks on net and Coquitlam keeper Clay Stevenson posted the clean sheet.

The teddy bears were for the Great Nanaimo Toy Drive and the obvious question here is, why does Stevenson hate children?

On a brighter note, here’s teddy bears raining from the rafters of Vernon’s Kal Tire Place Saturday night after Jagger Williamson scores for the Vipers.

Kudos to Wenatchee goaltender Austin Park for letting a puck slip by him.

Park is obviously a far more caring and empathetic individual than at least one goalie I could name.

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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