The Chilliwack Bruins can feel good about themselves as they head home for Christmas, having capped off a five-game Alberta road trip with a 1-0 win over Edmonton Friday night.
The Bruins snapped a two game losing streak and finished the road trip with a record of 3-2-0-0. Edmonton saw a five-game winning streak snapped. They also had their annual Teddy Bear Toss spoiled by Chilliwack netminder Lucas Gore, who turned in a 42 save effort for his first goose-egg of the year.
Chilliwack’s Curt Gogol did his best to fire up the troops at the start, dropping the gloves two-and-a-half minutes in with Edmonton tough guy Jesse Pearson.
In the most one-sided fight of the year, Gogol recorded the knockout, hammering Pearson with a half dozen left handed bombs.
Pearson had to be helped off the ice and did not return to the game.
After facing a club-record 57 shots with a club record 54 saves in a 3-1 loss to Red Deer Wednesday Gore was hoping for a more relaxed outing in Edmonton. Instead, he found himself in the middle of another shooting gallery, with the Oil Kings directing 21 pucks on net in the first period.
Gore stopped them all, with no save bigger than the one he made on Mark Pysyk in the final minute. Sneaking in from the point, the Buffalo Sabres first round draft pick took a pass from T.J. Foster and had all day to pick his spot.
But Gore flashed the leather, snaring Pysyk’s shot with a lightning quick glove hand to keep the game scoreless.
The Bruins got the game’s only goal at 11:26 of the second period, with Ryan Howse pulling the trigger. In trademark Howseian fashion, the Calgary Flames prospect took the puck in the right faceoff circle and dangled his way into the slot before wiring a shot past Oil Kings netminder Jon Groenheyde. His 23rd of the year came on the power play, with Edmonton’s Keegan Lowe serving two minutes for tripping.
Friday was Teddy Bear Toss night at Rexall Place, with several thousand fans waiting to toss stuffies onto the ice with the first Oil Kings goal. But the Bruins came into the game unbeaten when leading after 40 minutes, so the forecast for flying bears didn’t look rosy.
Gore started the period committing more grand theft larceny, this time on Ryan Dech. Chilliwack’s 12th ranked penalty killing unit came through in the clutch, snuffing out three Edmonton power plays in the back half of the final frame.
The Bruins held the Oil Kings scoreless on seven man-advantage opportunities.
Groenheyde came to the bench with just over a minute remaining, giving Edmonton the extra attacker. But the Bruins clamped down, keeping the teddy bears in the stands until the final whistle had blown. Chilliwack is now off for the Christmas break, returning to action Dec. 28 and 29 in Prince George. The next home game is New Year’s Eve at Prospera Centre versus the Moose Jaw Warriors.