The Kelowna Chiefs’ Kayson Gallant and Porter Dawson celebrate a goal at Rutland Arena. (Photo: Steve Dunsmoor/Dunsmoor Creative)

Chiefs’ dominance keep Rutland’s team atop the league

The Kelowna Chiefs are once again a top team in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League

Once again, the Kelowna Chiefs are one of the top teams in the entire league.

Fans of Rutland’s team may remember the record-breaking season the Chiefs had last year when they won 43 games only to watch last year’s run end in heartbreak when the team was eliminated from the playoffs before reaching the B.C. Provincial Junior B Championships.

Now, nearly halfway through the new season, the Chiefs are once again looking like a dominant force in the Kootenay International Junior Hockey League with a 14-3 record for 28 points: fourth best in the league and trailing first place by only a single point.

At the start of November, the Chiefs were ranked the second best team in the province.

READ MORE: Kelowna Chiefs named No. 2 Junior B team in B.C.

Like the majority of junior hockey teams, the Chiefs’ yearly roster is almost always in flux with new players coming in and players moving on in their careers.

Last season, the Chiefs were led by Brody Dale who registered 123 points in 45 games last season. Dale has since moved on to the Alberta Junior Hockey League and going into the new season, the Chiefs had an opening for who would step up in the point production.

Enter second year forward Kayson Gallant.

The Chiefs new leading point producer has 32 points in 17 games so far this season and has helped step up for Kelowna as Rutland gears up for another, and hopefully more successful, playoff run in the new year.

READ MORE: Rockets’ Novak receives 8-game suspension

Supporting Gallant in the Chiefs quest to continue last year’s point and hot streak are goalie Braeden Mitchell and rookie sensation Porter Dawson.

Mitchell ranks as the leagues fifth best netminder with a 10-2 record, a 2.38 goals-against-average and an overall save percentage of .923 while playing the second most game so far this season among the leagues’s starting goalies.

Kelowna native and eighteen-year-old Dawson, who played in one game with the Chiefs last season and starts the 2019-20 season as a bona fide rookie has made the leap to play among the league’s best.

With 28 points in 17 games, Dawson has cemented his spot among the Chiefs’ top lines and leads all KIJHL rookies in points.

Gallant and Dawson currently sit third and fourth respectively in league point leaders.

The Kelowna Chiefs continue their season when they host the Kamloops Storm on Friday night at the Rutland Arena.

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