For the second Saturday in a row the Chilliwack Bruins earned a convincing win over a Western Hockey League heavyweight.
Seven days after trouncing the Vancouver Giants 6-3, the home team doubled up the visiting Brandon Wheat Kings at Prospera Centre, taking a 6-3 decision. The Bruins got goals from six different players and lights-out goaltending from Lucas Gore as they improved to 6-4-0-0.
Gore had to be excellent in this one, stopping 35 of 38 shots against the high-octane Brandon offence. The Wheat Kings got started early, with two excellent chances within the first 60 seconds.
First, ex-Kamloops Blazer Shayne Wiebe went wide on Chilliwack D-man Jeff Einhorn and rang a backhand shot off the right goal post. Moments later, Tyrel Seaman’s backhander straddled the goal-line, rolling from post to post before being cleared away by a Bruins blueliner.
Against the run of play, it was Chilliwack striking first on a goal by Jesse Pauls.
With the Bruins on the power play thanks to a Scott Glennie double minor for high sticking, Ryan Howse went to work, taking a pass from Robin Soudek and dangling his way in front of the Brandon net. Howse did everything but finish, deking Brandon goaltender Corbin Boes to the ice before losing control of the puck. Pauls snuck in from the point and popped the rebound into the yawning cage for his first of the season and his Western Hockey League career at 5:43.
With Glennie serving the second minor, Chilliwack struck again. Roman Horak earned the primary assist, strolling out of the right corner and into the slot with a shot that hit the left post behind Boes. The puck pinballed cross-crease to Soudek, who had a tap-in for his fifth of the year and a 2-0 lead.
Snake-bitten Kevin Sundher put the Bruins up by three at 8:57, burning Wheaties D-man Jordan Fransoo wide before depositing his first of the season.
Chilliwack might have had more but for a lack of puck-luck. On one shift midway through period one, Howse took a pass from Mitch Topping and rattled a shot off the left goal-post. Seconds later, he hit the right post with a backhander.
Kevin Sundher had a breakaway in the final minute, but Boes came up with a desperation toe save.
Shots on goal in period one favoured Brandon 12-10.
The Wheaties continued to dominate the shot-clock in period two (18-5), with little to show for it. Brandon peppered the Chilliwack net with a dozen high-quality scoring chances, but it was the Bruins adding to their lead late in the period on a short-handed goal by Mike Forsyth. The ex-Moose Jaw Warrior was the beneficiary of some great work by Chris Collins, who picked the pocket of Wheat Kings D-man Darren Bestland in the neutral zone.
Collins had a clear path to the net, but with Bestland hacking and whacking him, the 18-year-old over-skated it. Boes made an error, over-committing on Collins, who chipped the puck back in front. Forsyth was waiting for the tap into the empty cage.
Brandon finally put a puck past Gore in with 3:08 remaining in the middle frame. With 26 ticks left in a Pauls minor for holding the stick, Hampus Gustafsson got a shot on net from 30 feet out. Gore stopped the shot, but left a rebound for Jason Swyripa who smartly roofed the puck for his third of the season.
The Bruins restored their four-goal cushion 4:55 into period three, taking advantage of some Wheat King penalty woes. Bestland took a checking-from-behind minor at 3:04, and Wiebe followed him to the sin bin 1:13 later (closing hand on puck).
With the Wiebe minor still in effect, Brandon Manning lazered a shot past Boes for his fourth of the season. Brendan Persley pushed the lead to 6-1 at 6:43, wiring a wrist shot top-shelf blocker-side through a maze of players for his second of the season.
Glennie and Brodie Melnychuk scored a pair of late goals to end an entertaining game witnessed by an announced crowd of 3,150.
The three stars were Horak (first), Pauls (second) and Bestand (third).
The Bruins are on the road for their next four, visiting the Edmonton Oil Kings (Oct. 27), the Calgary Hitmen (Oct. 29), the Medicine Hat Tigers (Oct. 30) and the Kootenay Ice (Nov. 2).