The Chilliwack Bruins will hope the new year starts better than the old year ended, after suffering a 4-2 loss to the Moose Jaw Warriors on New Years Eve.
Playing their first home game after seven on the road, the Bruins couldn’t recover from a sluggish start. The visitors led 2-0 through 20 and withstood a third-period rally, dropping the good guys to 17-16-2-1 on the season.
Lucas Gore has been white-hot of late, and came into the game with a shutout streak of 140:37, including goose-egg wins over the Edmonton Oil Kings and Prince George Cougars. But the run ended 9:32 into the first period on a goal he would certainly want back.
Moose Jaw forward Jordan Whyton sent a harmless looking wirst shot on net from the right point. Somehow, the puck snuck through the Chilliwack stopper and dribbled toward the goal-line. Mackenzie Royer darted in for an easy-tap in, scoring his sixth of the year.
Another odd one put the Warriors up 2-0 at 14:17. With Chilliwack’s Kevin Sundher in the box for slashing, Moose Jaw’s Collin Bowman launched a rocket from the left point. The puck hit the glass behind the net and came back over the cross-bar, where Abbotsford’s Joey Kornelsen got credit for tapping it out of the air.
Video review confirmed a good goal, showing that Gore might have knocked it into his own net.
The Warriors would have had a third if not for a heroic effort from Bruins blueliner Tyler Stahl. In a player reminiscent of the first Moose Jaw goal, Gore couldn’t squeeze the pads on a Dallas Ehrhardt shot from the left-wing boards. Kornelsen had a bead on the puck as it lay in the blue paint behind Gore, but Stahl belly-slid across the goal-line to save the day.
Shots on goal in period one heavily favoured Moose Jaw 14-6.
Chilliwack squandered two glorious chances to inch closer early in the middle frame. Tim Traber and Dylen McKinlay had back-to-back breakaways 30 seconds apart. Moose Jaw netminder Thomas Heemskerk snapped the five-hole shut on Traber, and McKinlay missed the net entirely as he tried a blocker-side shot.
The Bruins had another great chance late in the period as Mitch Topping led a two-on-one with Sundher. With Sundher to his left,Topping elected to keep the puck, ringing a shot off the right goal-post
The Warriors got the only goal in the second period off the stick of ex-Kelowna Rocket Jesse Paradis, who corralled a bouncing puck and cut left-to-right across the goal crease before sliding his sixth of the year past Gore.
Shots on goal in period two favoured Moose Jaw 7-6.
The Bruins got the break they were looking for 15 seconds into the final frame when McKinlay found Steve Oursov darting through the slot. McKinlay’s pass was perfect and Oursov slipped a five-hole backhand through Heemskerk for his second of the year, giving Chiliwack a glimmer of hope.
Ryan Howse scored is 24th of the year with 5:49 remaining to set up a frantic finish, but Warriors forward Dylan Hood iced the game in the final minute, scoring his 20th of the year into an empty net.
Three stars were Kornelsen (first), Howse (second) and Dylan McIlrath (third).
The Bruins return to action Sunday night (5 p.m.), hosting the Vancouver Giants at Prospera Centre.