The current Chilliwack Bruins season seems like it will come right down to the wire. The Bruins did themselves some favours on the weekend, splitting a pair of games with the Vancouver Giants and grinding out a 4-3 shootout win over the Prince George Cougars. The Bruins will need to continue to win games in order to make it into the playoffs.
The Bruins were bolstered on the backend, not just by the return of Bruins captain Brandon Manning, but also the surprise return of Jeff Einhorn from injury. Manning, one of the league’s premier power play quarterbacks, had an immediate impact on the team’s performance. He netted a goal and two assists in the three games over the weekend. Manning also logged big minutes five-on-five and on the penalty-kill.
Another bright spot for the Bruins at the moment is the play of 16-year-old rookie forward Brandon Magee. Magee has shown a penchant for scoring big game goals, the kind that can change a season. A couple weeks ago Magee scored the 4-3 game winner over the Kamloops Blazers. This past weekend Magee scored two very impactful goals. First, on Friday, he scored the Bruins third goal of the night, which spurred on a key 5-4 comeback victory over the Highway-1 rival Vancouver Giants. Then, on Sunday night, Magee scored the game-tying goal in the third period against the Prince George Cougars, which opened the door for the Bruins to complete the victory 4-3 in the shootout. When asked about his penchant for scoring big league goals at opportune times, Magee confessed that he thrives on big game situations. “[I] like the big games; it’s where I can really up the ante and get things done.” Brandon has 12 goals, 11 assists and leads the team with an 11 plus-minus rating on the season.
The Bruins will have it tough to make the playoffs this season, but they have the good fortune to, at least, still control their destiny. Chilliwack is chasing the Prince George Cougars and Kamloops Blazers for the final playoff spot. Both the Cougars and the Blazers have 62 points, which puts them five points up on the Bruins, who sit at the 57-point marker. The Bruins, though, have three games in hand on both of these teams. In addition to this, the Bruins will play the Blazers one more time this season. They will meet this Saturday, March 5 in Chilliwack. The Bruins will hope for Kamloops to slow down a bit in their coming games. The Blazers have gone 7-2-1-0 in their last 10.
Any way you slice it, the Bruins hopes for the season will come down to the wire. It is likely that the final game versus the Everett Silvertips on March 19 will decide their fate. It might be a different kind of “March Madness” but with 11 games in 18 days it promises to be just as crazy.