Ryan Howse scored three second period goals and Robin Soudek scored twice as the Chiliwack Bruins bounced the Vancouver Giants 6-3 Saturday night at Prospera Centre.
The one-sided win evened the regular-season series (1-1) and exacted suitable revenge for a 9-4 loss in Chilliwack’s season opener.
The Bruins scored the only goal in a fast-paced and entertaining first period.
Zach Habscheid started the play with a slap-shot from the right point. Fighting off a check from Neil Manning, Soudek found the rebound before Vancouver netminder Brendan Jensen, sweeping the puck into the wide-open cage for his third of the season and a 1-0 Chilliwack lead.
Vancouver dominated the faceoff circle in period one, holding a 15-5 edge. They also led 13-10 on the shot clock, but couldn’t capitalize on a number of great scoring chances.
Chiliwack netminder Lucas Gore’s most notable save came on Brendan Gallagher, who had a breakaway stepping out of the penalty box. The Montreal Canadiens draft pick went to the backhand, but Gore successfully smothered the shot.
Great players can take over games, and that’s what Howse did in the second period.
He had plenty of help from an undisciplined Giants team that couldn’t stay out of the penalty box.
In short order, Craig Cunningham (interference) and Luke Fenske (tripping) were banished to the sin bin, giving the Bruins a five-on-three for 1:20.
With 24 ticks left in the two man advantage, Howse scored his first, roofing a sharp-angle wrist shot from below the right faceoff circle.
The Prince George native struck again 31 seconds later on a setup by Jesse Pauls. Pauls faked a slapper in the high slot and Jensen took the bait, going down to stop the non-existent shot. With the goalie down and out, Pauls slid the puck to Howse, who had all day and a ton of net to shoot at.
Nineteen seconds later, Soudek’s behind-the-back pass found Roman Horak streaking down the left wing. Horak thought shot for a split-second before sliding the puck cross-ice to Howse. Jensen couldn’t get post to post quick enough to stop the Howse one-timer, which dribbled into the net to give Chilliwack a 4-0 lead.
Jensen’s night ended there, with four goals surrendered on 15 shots.
The Howse hat-trick established a new Bruins record for fastest three goals (58 seconds), but fell well short of the league record. Jim Harrison of the Estevan Bruins set that mark Dec. 4, 1966, scoring three in 24 seconds against the Regina Pats.
The Giants cut into the lead with goals by Cain Franson and Dalton Sward, but Chilliwack retained a two-goal lead heading to period three.
The Bruins got all the breathing room they would need early in the period, scoring twice within 51 seconds to restore their four-goal cushion.
Steven Hodges struck first. The rookie picked off a dangerous cross-ice pass by Cunningham and made some beautiful moves in tight before sliding the puck past Vancouver netminder Mark Segal for his first WHL goal. Moments later, Soudek got his stick on another Habscheid point shot, re-directing the puck into the Vancouver net for his fourth of the year.
Cunningham scored a power play goal for Vancouver midway through the period to wrap up the scoring.
Three stars were Howse (first star), Soudek (second) and Cunningham (third).
The Bruins now have six days off before hosting the Brandon Wheat Kings Saturday night (7 p.m.) at Prospera Centre.
– Dylen McKinlay has a sprained medial-collateral ligament and will be out for a while. The 18-year-old suffered the injury during a knee-on-knee collision with Kelowna’s Mitchell Chapman on Friday. He was wearing a knee brace on Saturday, and was unsure about when he’d be able to return to the lineup.