The Chilliwack Progress
The Chilliwack Jets have pulled off a major upset in the Pacific Junior B Hockey League playoffs, knocking off the heavily favoured Langley Trappers.
The Jets finished fourth in the Harold Brittain conference during the regular season with a 21-21-4-2 record. Langley was the class of the league with a 36-8-1-3 record. But it’s Chilliwack who moves on, winning a best-of-seven semi-final in five games.
“The boys played really hard and bought into the systems we needed to play to be successful,” said Jets owner and hockey boss Clayton Robinson. “Langley was the first place club for a reason. All the games in the series were tight and we got some bounces. Both teams had to dig deep as five games in six days was a grind. I am really proud of our team.”
The Jets punted Langley out of the playoffs Monday (Feb. 27) with a 7-2 road win at the George Preston Arena. Chilliwack product Brayden Melnyk was outstanding in goal, stopping 44 of 46 pucks. The Jets only put 22 pucks on the Langley net, but got two goals from Michele Romeo and singles from Connor Droux, Nikita Syerov, Wyatt Sorken, Linden Storebo and Ayden Lane.
Melnyk has been near-unbeatable in the playoffs. Between the Langley win and a two-game opening-round sweep of Surrey the 19-year-old has a 1.27 goals-against average and 96.4 save percentage with two shutouts.
“He is a difference maker, and in this series he was almost unbeatable,” Robinson noted. “Our D and forwards also did a great job at blocking shots and letting him see the shots all series.”
Offensively, the Jets have six of the top 10 scorers in the playoffs, led by Droux’s four goals and 10 points. Bronson Babyak (third), Brendan Williamson (fifth), Storebo (sixth), Zack Feaver (seventh) and Syerov (10th) are among a group that has Chilliwack averaging a league best 3.85 goals per game.
“One of the main reasons we have been successful so far is that our scoring has been spread out and some of our secondary guys have really stepped up in the playoffs,” Robinson said.
The Jets get to sit back and wait for the winner of a series between Mission Outlaws and Ridge Meadows Flames. The Flames, 31-14-2-1 during the regular season, lead the series 2-1 and would present another daunting opponent for Chilliwack. But after what they did to Langley, Robinson doesn’t think they’ll be intimidated.
“I think we shocked the league a bit by defeating Langley and we are excited for the next series,” Robinson said. “Our boys are a confident group right now and I look forward to seeing where this journey takes us.”