Led by Keenan Ingram, who is tied for the KIJHL lead in goals with 26, the Columbia Valley Rockies are the highest scoring team in the league with 132 goals. Later into this edition of the KIJHL Notebook, we’ll get into more detail about the Rockies offence as well as the other 18 teams, especially what they average in goals-per-game. The league average is 3.24, and there are eight teams below that.
Rockies Head Coach-GM Emery Olauson says in some ways, the 18-year-old Calgary product surpassed expectations.
“I first saw Keenan when he joined us midway through camp for our third exhibition game in Golden, and he immediately scored two goals and got right off to this start,” said Olauson. “He’s got an elite shot, he’s a very good athlete, who is big (6-1, 180-pounds) and fast. Did we think we would have a first-year player start and be as consistent and score at over a goal-a-game clip? No, we didn’t. Keenan’s an extremely talented goal scorer.”
He’s also strong defensively as the Rockies don’t spend a lot of time in their zone when Ingram’s on the ice. He is dedicated to playing a strong defensive game and it’s an area Olauson says Ingram works on.
Ingram is also making the Rockies offence difficult to defend because he doesn’t often play with Anthony Domina and Kayde Kinaschuk.
“It’s very hard for teams to prepare for us because most teams have one scoring line that if you kind of eliminate them, you have a good chance of winning the game,” says Olauson. “We’ve built a team that gets contributions from all four lines. If you were to try and shut down Ingram specifically, well then you’ve got Kinaschuk, who led our league in scoring last year (33 goals in 39 games), breathing down the necks of guys that aren’t your best defensive players.”
Ingram primarily plays with Jordan Normand and Reed Sparrow. At times he is on the power-play with Domina and Kinaschuk.
“The thing with Keenan is, he has scored with every player on our team and in a lot of different ways,” says Olauson. “He will take the puck right to the net, he can shoot from the blueline, he can shoot from the top of the circles, play the middle of the ice. He can kind of score from just about anywhere, which you just don’t have a recipe for defending. Some of the better teams have done slightly better and there have been some runaway nights where Keenan has four goals.”
Ingram just had a six-game goal streak snapped on Dec. 16 in which he put up nine goals and 12 points. Earlier in the season from Oct. 21 to Nov. 10 in a five-game span, he had five goals and eight points. Ingram is currently on a 10-game point streak with 14 goals and 23 points.
Olauson said, “I don’t think we play anyone that doesn’t have his name circled in the room and he still gets it done. He’s a pretty exciting player to watch.”
Bill Ohlhausen Division
|The Princeton Posse, who earned their 20th win on Dec. 16 versus Summerland, are fourth in the league in average goals-per-game at 3.90 with 113. Head Coach Mark Readman said a large reason for their offensive success is their ability to produce at 5-on-5, as they have 21 power-play goals.
“We have a lot of scoring coming in different ways with a lot of players contributing,” he said. “I think we only have one player (Ty Olsen) in the top-20 in league scoring. I really do think we have a balanced attack with four lines that can all play and produce.”
Readman added that some first-year players have come in and done well – Olsen, Kassius Kler (25 points in 27 games), and even Tyson Horiachka has been picking it up of late along with returning players.
“It’s a group that produces offence by committee,” he said. “Within that dressing room, they are trying to out compete each other to see which line can produce the most.”
Olsen leads the Posse with 14 goals in 26 games and Readman says he’s a good example of “hard work does pay off.”
“Ty first off has a wicked release, he’s deceptive, but his shot has some power behind it. His success lately has been from being able to find his game away from the puck. He’s become a much more well-rounded, 200-foot player,” said Readman. “Away from the puck he is helping create more turnovers in the offensive zone. For him, ever since that five-game mark, he has really found his legs and has been consistent every night. He has been one of our more consistent players in the last month.”
|The Osoyoos Coyotes have scored 115 goals, third best in the league and are averaging 4.19 goals-per-game, which is second best. They are led by rookie Coletyn Boyarski, who has 19 goals in 25 games. Ethan McKinley is currently on a four-game goal scoring streak that started Dec. 10 with six goals and eight points. McKinley is second on the Coyotes with 17 goals in 27 games.
|The North Okanagan Knights are 12th in the league with 90 goals and average 3.21 goals-per-game, ranking them 12th. The Knights are led by Matthew Johnston with 13 goals in 28 games, while Kevin-Thomas Walters has 12 goals in 22 games.
|The Summerland Steam have 69 goals, ranking them 15th in the league and average 2.38 goals per game, which is also 15th. Kent Moors leads the team with 10 goals in 26 games.
|The Kelowna Chiefs have 66 goals which ranks them 17th and their average of 2.20 goals-per-game is last. Aiden Morcom leads the Chiefs with nine goals in 29 games.
|Doug Birks Division
|The Revelstoke Grizzlies have 90 goals, ranking them 11th in the league and average 3.33 goals-per-game, which has them eighth. Grizzlies Head Coach-GM Ryan Parent said offensively they continue to improve and work in the needed areas to produce both 5-on-5 and on the power-play. Carter Bettenson leads the Grizzlies with 14 goals in 27 games, while Colton McLeod is second with 10 goals in 26 games.
“Carter Bettenson has always had a knack for producing on the power-play. In recent games, Carter has been working on his 200-foot game and leading by example playing more defensively and being able to contribute at 5-on-5,” said Parent. “Our team has been fortunate to have a veteran leader like Carter in the lineup each night as he makes our group better.”
|The Kamloops Storm have 93 goals which ranks them ninth, and they average 3.32 goals-per-game, ranking them ninth also. Ryan Larsen leads the Storm with 16 goals in 28 games.
|The Sicamous Eagles have 106 goals, which ranks them fifth, as does their average of 3.66 goals-per-game. Alex and Sean Smith lead the Eagles with 14 goals in 29 games. Since joining the Eagles in a trade from North Okanagan, Ty Burke has 11 goals in 17 games.
|The 100 Mile House Wranglers have 68 goals, ranking them 16th as does their average 2.34 goals-per-game. Nathan Bohmer leads the Wranglers with 15 goals in 24 games. Last season he had 17 goals in 22 games.
|The Chase Heat have 65 goals which has them tied with the Castlegar Rebels, but they rank 18th having played one less game. The Heat rank 17th in goals-per-game average at 2.32. Aiden Brown and Trevor Kennedy share the team lead with eight goals.
|Eddie Mountain Division
|As mentioned earlier in the Notebook, the Rockies have scored the most goals at 132 and average 4.71 goals-per-game, also a league best. Olauson said during their training camp there was a strong sense that the team possessed “a lot of offensive talent.”
Along with Ingram leading the way, Domina has 15 goals in 23 games, while Kinaschuk has 15 in 25. Rookie Lucas De La Salle has 10 goals in 27 games.
“It’s hard obviously when you have zero returning defencemen to really rely on defence and at that point in time, didn’t have any returning goalies,” said Olauson. “We really trusted that we had a lot of offensive players and our forward group was really good and obviously the D-core came along nicely with their offensive talents.”
Olauson added that lately the players have bought into playing harder defensively. When they do that, “we get pucks back a lot quicker and the offence hasn’t suffered as a result. Just a really balanced attack.”
Like the Posse, the Rockies picked up their 20th win on Dec. 16 against Golden.
|The Kimberley Dynamiters have 89 goals, which ranks them 13th as does their goals-per-game average of 3.18. Kade Leskosky leads the team with 16 goals in 26 games.
|The Golden Rockets have scored the second highest goals at 120, while their goals-per-game average of 4.00 is third. The Rockets are led by Jordan Lario who has 22 goals in 30 games, while Nick Morin has 15 in 30 games.
|The Fernie Ghostriders have 92 goals, which ranks them 10th, and they rank the same in goals-per-game average of 3.29. Ethan MacDuff leads the team with 15 goals in 28 games, while Kort Kisinger has 12.
|The Creston Valley Thunder Cats have 95 goals, ranking them seventh in the league, while their goals-per-game average of 3.28 is 11th. Luke Chakrabarti leads the Thunder Cats with 26 goals in 27 games and is tied with Ingram for the league lead.
|Neil Murdoch Division
|The Grand Forks Border Bruins are sixth in the league in average goals-per-game with 3.64 and they have 102 goals, which also ranks sixth. That total easily surpasses the 79 goals they scored last season. Head Coach-GM David Hnatiuk said their offence has been strong.
“Our power-play (25 goals) has been over 20 per cent, so there is a bit of offence there as well. Overall I’m pretty happy with the offensive side of things.”
Hnatiuk likes that they have had players picking up the offence.
“I think a lot of the offence is created from executing the systems. Hats off to the players for that,” said Hnatiuk, whose leading goal scorers are Chad Bates and Jonah Smith with 14 goals each.
“They both just have a hunger and desire to score goals. When they get the puck on their stick, they are looking to score – they want to score. Jonah had a hat-trick in our last game in our win against Kimberley. This year he seems to have more confidence, a little more strength, and maturity.”
|With 94 goals, the Nelson Leafs rank eighth and their goals-per-game average of 3.42 is seventh. Joe Davidson leads the Leafs with 15 goals in 25 games. He is six away from tying his career high.
|The Beaver Valley Nitehawks rank 14th in offence with 84 goals. Their goals-per-game of 3.04 ranks the same. Nathan Dominici leads the Nitehawks with 18 goals in 25 games, which is a new career high for him.
|The Castlegar Rebels are last in goals with 65 and at a goals-per-game of 2.24 they rank 18th. Rookie Bradley Beals leads the Rebels with 10 goals in 25 games.