Playing fire wagon hockey that could spark memories of retzky, Kurri and Messier, the Vancouver Northeast Chiefs are aking a charge for a top-three spot in the B.C. Major Midget ockey League.
The Chiefs returned from a two-game Island stop, having ransacked the South Island Royals by a combined score of 18-4.
A pair of hat tricks by winger Colton Kehler and nine points from centre Mathew Barzal set the table offensively for the Chiefs, who improved to 18-7-3. It puts them three points back of third-place Cariboo.
Routs of 8-0 Saturday and 10-4 on Sunday came as a bit of a shock for people on both sides of the ice.
"I didn't expect that, not after they came back and tied us in our own rink last time we played," noted Chiefs head coach Doneau Menard. "It was kind of a perfect storm for us - we jumped on them quickly in the first game and after they scored (first) on Sunday we just took the momentum out of their sails."
That win Sunday saw the Coquitlam-based Chiefs string off 10 straight goals, including five in a span of 4: 17, with Kehler netting three straight. It gives him a league-leading 32 goals in 28 games.
Barzal joined his linemate in the points parade, collecting a goal and six assists. Boston Colley tallied a goal and two helpers, while single markers came from Tim Chow, Jordan Henderson, Lucas Johansen, Kurt Sonne and Brandon Volpe.
It was the squad's sixth straight win. Barzal and Kehler have developed some impressive chemistry, as both 15-year-olds have set, or are on pace to set, new scoring records. Kehler, with 32 on the season, broke Jamie Waddington's season total team mark of 31, set last year.
The No. 1 pick overall in last May's Western Hockey League bantam draft, Barzal now has a 28-point lead in the BCMMHL scoring race, with 22 goals and 58 assists in 25 games.
"(Kehler) can score, he's really finding the back of the next," noted Menard. "Mathew sees the ice so well and Colton has had a lot of chances. (Barzal) is on a pace that I didn't think was possible."
A day earlier, Barzal opened the scoring 42 seconds into the first and was followed two minutes later when defenceman Michael Wilms netted his first of two in the period. Kehler would also score, giving the Chiefs a 4-0 lead after 20 minutes. A Port Coquitlam native, Kehler would add two more, while Mathew Michie and Sonne rounded out the offence.
Picking up his second shutout in as many starts was Maple Ridge native Jeffrey Smith, who lowered his goals-against average to 2.75 over 12 games.
"(Smith) wasn't the difference-maker being that we won by eight and the team played so well in front of him, but he had to make a handful of big saves to preserve the shutout," noted Menard. The team's play without the puck continues to improve, said the coach.
"As a whole our defence has really been the big reason why we've been going so well of late," Menard said. "A guy like Tim Chow, he's putting up the numbers but he's also our go-to-guy on offence and defence. Connor Burk continues to work his butt off, and on defence Austin Campeau and Lucas Mercer have been very consistent. But it's truly a team effort."
The Chiefs play another Island rival, the North Island Silvertips, in a twin bill this weekend in Langley. Their next home game is Jan. 26, when the Vancouver Greater Canadians visit Planet Ice.