A three-point night by Ryan Howse and a pair of goals from Dylen McKinley helped the Chilliwack Bruins down the Seattle Thunderbirds 5-4 Sunday night at Prospera Centre.
The Bruins coughed up a late two-goal lead, but came through in overtime to snap a four-game losing skid and breathe some life back into the playoff chase.
Ryan Howse got the good guys off to a torrid start in this one, scoring just nine seconds into the game.
Darting through the right faceoff circle, Howse challenged Seattle defenceman Brenden Dillon one-on-one and made the 20-year-old look like a rookie. The Calgary Flames prospect left Dillon swiping at air as he toe-dragged the puck inside-out in highlight-reel fashion. Howse finished the play with a low stick-side shot past stunned Seattle keeper Calvin Pickard.
The T-Birds answered back at 7:39 on a goal that Chilliwack netminder Lucas Gore would probably want back.
Burke Gallimore pulled the trigger on a solo rush. The 19-year-old tried to split Bruin defenders Tyler Stahl and Jeff Einhorn. Just as they were about to slam the door shut, Gallimore fired a shot from 25 feet out that beat Gore blocker-side.
He had 25 seconds to celebrate before Chilliwack regained the lead.
Steve Oursov led a two-on-one rush with linemate Kevin Sundher. Oursov saucered a pass to Sundher who cut hard to the net. The Buffalo Sabres prospect buried his 14th of the year before sliding into the right goal-post.
Shots on goal in period one favoured Chilliwack 12-9.
The T-Birds drew even 4:57 into period two on a goal by German import Marcel Noebels. Charles Wells earned the assist with a just-put-it-on-net shot from the left wing boards. Gore got his right leg on the shot, but kicked the rebound right to Noebels, who stared down a wide open net for his 12th of the season.
But the Bruins forged ahead once more seven minutes later on a power play goal by McKinlay.
With Seattle’s Erik Fleming banished to the sin bin for holding, the Langley native grabbed the puck in the neutral zone and led a two-on-one rush with Oursov. The Minnesota Wild prospect went top shelf with a wrist shot, notching his third of the year at 11:13.
Howse doubled the lead six minutes later with another highlight reel goal. Robin Soudek got an assist, wheeling out of the right corner and finding Howse with a pass in the slot. The puck was a bit behind him, but Howse kicked it from skate to stick to shot in one swift motion and calmly buried his 26th of the year.
Shots on goal in period two favoured Chilliwack 8-7.
The Bruins have been exceptionally good this season when leading through 40 minutes, sporting a record of 12-0-0-0.
Apparently, the T-Birds didn’t get that memo.
The visitors cut into the lead midway through the final frame on a Travis Toomey tally. The 18-year-old parked his six-foot-four and 209 pound frame in the goal crease and got his stick on a Fleming point shot. Gore made the first stop, but left the puck lying in the blue paint long enough for Toomey to poke it in for his 11th of the year.
Seattle tied it up with 4:37 remaining when Gallimore re-directed a Toomey shot up and over Gore.
The Bruins had a great chance to regain the lead when Seattle’s Wells took a double-minor for high sticking penalty at 17:28.
Chilliwack came up empty in regulation time, but carried a four-on-three man advantage into OT, where they finally put the game away 21 seconds into the extra session. Pickard didn’t have much of a chance on a Howse shot that was twice deflected en-route to the net.
McKinlay got the last touch, and credit for the game-winning goal.
Three stars were Howse (first), Gallimore (second) and Sundher (third).
Announced attendance at Prospera Centre was 3,314.
The Bruins are back on home ice Wednesday night (7 p.m.) hosting the Prince George Cougars. They hit the road on the weekend, travelling to PG for back-to-back games Friday and Saturday.