The Chilliwack Bruins saw a three-game winning streak snapped Saturday night as they fell 6-3 to the visiting Seattle Thunderbirds at Prospera Centre.
Langley native Brendan Rouse was an obvious first-star selection, scoring three times to lead the T-Bird offence. Goaltender Chet Pickard made 25 saves to earn his fourth win in six appearances this season.
The Bruins got off to a solid enough start in this one, and led 2-1 after an energetic but scrambley first period.
Chilliwack struck first on a power play, with Ryan Howse pulling the trigger. Jesse Pauls started the play, threading a cross-ice pass to Howse, who worked his way into the slot. Robin Soudek cut through the crease at just the right time, screening Pickard as Howse’s shot hit a Seattle D-man and rainbowed into the net.
Howse kept up his 115-goal pace with his eighth of the season.
Seattle evened the score at 15:24 on Rouse’s first of the game and first of the season. The nephew of ex-Bruins assistant coach Bob Rouse crashed the net and shoveled home the rebound from a Colin Jacobs shot.
But the Bruins surged ahead three minutes later on a goal by Roman Horak. The Czech sniper took two whacks at the rebound from a Jeff Einhorn point shot, roofing it on his second try to send Chilliwack to the break with a 2-1 lead.
Shots on goal in the opening frame favoured the Bruins 14-8.
The Thunderbirds picked up the pace in the second period, scoring two goals against the suddenly sluggish home side to take a 3-2 lead into the final frame.
Mitch Elliott at 2:21 and Jacobs at 11:32 did the damage on a pair of plays that started with neutral zone turnovers.
Later in the period, Elliott showed his pugilistic side, taking on Chilliwack’s Tim Traber in a toe-to-toe scrap at center ice. The 17-year-olds traded right-handed bombs, and Traber got the takedown in a fight that would be scored a split-decision.
Shots on goal in the second period favoured Chilliwack 10-8.
With Pickard tending goal, Seattle probably felt OK about a one-goal lead. But insurance doesn’t hurt, and the T-Birds got it 3:10 into period three on a goal by Rouse. Bruins netminder Lucas Gore thwarted Rouse on his first try, stretching post-to-post to stop him from converting a cross crease pass from Jake Doty.
But no Chilliwack player could find the rebound, and Rouse potted the loose puck for his second of the game and a 4-2 lead.
Rouse got the hat-trick goal at 9:38, scoring on a Seattle power play.
A chippy game from the start, things got out of hand in the third period. First, Doty took on Bruins blueliner Tyler Stahl in a center-ice scrap. Doty earned the decision, and might have done some damage on the takedown. Stahl hit his head on the ice, and had to be escorted from the penalty box to the dressing room by Chilliwack trainer Matt Auerbach.
Bruins captain Brandon Manning gained some small measure of revenge later in the period. He fought Seattle veteran Travis Toomey, dropping him with a couple quick rights. Toomey skated off favouring his left shoulder, although he did return to the game.
Dylen McKinlay added to the chaos in the closing minutes, flooring Seattle’s Brenden Dillon with a clean check behind the Seattle net. Luke Lochart jumped him in the left corner and his two minute instigator penalty gave the Bruins an extended five-on-three power play.
Horak scored the final Chilliwack goal with the man advantage, finishing a bang-bang cross-crease pass from Ryan Howse.
The game’s final goal came from Toomey, who scored into an empty net with 3:35 remaining.
The Bruins are back in action Thanksgiving Monday, hosting the Prince Albert Raiders in a matinee matchup. Game time is 2 p.m. at Prospera Centre.