Dressed in military fatigue uniforms, the Chilliwack Bruins fought a hockey war with the Vancouver Giants, winning 5-1 in a Remembrance Day matinee at Prospera Centre.
The Bruins bumped a three-game losing skid in the process and beat their arch-rivals for the second time in three meetings this season.
The only goal in a first period penalty fest belonged to the Giants, scored by James Henry.
Referees Brett Montison and Nathan Wieler handed out nine minors in machine gun fashion (a sign of things to come), and Henry scored his ninth of the season with the teams skating four-on-four. Craig Cunningham got the lone assist, coming from behind the net with a backhand wrap-around attempt. Chilliwack goaltender Lucas Gore made the stop but couldn’t locate the puck as it laid next to his right leg. Henry swooped in to poke it home at 11:39.
Shots on goal in period one favoured Chilliwack 13-10.
The second period started with an extremely scary moment. With Robin Soudek leaning forward along the boards in front of the Bruins bench, Wes Vannieuwenhuizen committed a cardinal hockey sin with a full-tilt hit from behind.
Soudek went flying head first into the boards and crumpled to the ice. He laid there absolutely motionless for at least 10 minutes before Bruins trainer Matt Auerbach and helpers strapped him onto a board and sent him to the hospital.
Meanwhile, Vannieuwenhuizen was jumped by Tim Traber and then dealt a five minute major and game misconduct.
Chilliwack failed to cash in on the major, but they went right back to the power play at 8:31 on a Luke Fenske tripping minor. The Bruins took two seconds to strike on this one. Cunningham won a draw in the left faceoff circle, but Roman Horak beat Neil Manning to the puck and then beat Giants netminder Mark Segal for his 12th of the season.
The Giants self-destructed in the middle frame, and back-to-back penalties to Manning (tripping) and Cunningham (goaltender interference) led to the second Bruins goal. Working with the two-man advantage, Jesse Pauls fed Brandon Manning for a one-timer, and the captain blew the puck past Segal for his eighth of the season.
Cunningham didn’t see the goal, having picked up an extra 10 minute misconduct for slamming the penalty box door.
Shots on goal in period two favoured Chilliwack 8-4.
Jamie Crooks gave the Bruins valuable breathing room one minute and 43 seconds into the final frame, with a big helping hand from Segal. With his team on a power play, the goaltender ventured 30 feet away from his net trying to move the puck up to his forwards. Crooks stopped the intended pass with his leg and fired the puck into an empty net for his sixth of the year and his first career shorthanded tally.
Clearly rattled, Segal surrendered a softie to Mike Forsyth two minutes later. The 18-year-old rushed down the wing, whacking the puck off the end boards to the right of the Giants net. The puck took a fortuitous bounce right back to Forsyth, and he roofed a sharp-angle backhander for his third of the season and a 4-1 Bruins lead.
Brendan Persley added his fifth of the season with 4:31 remaining to wrap up the scoring.
Three stars were Brandon Manning (first), Persley (second) and Kevin Sundher (third).
The Bruins are right back in action tomorrow night, hosting the Red Deer Rebels at Prospera Centre. Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.