Soudek’s return can’t save Bruins

Bright spots were few and far between for the Chilliwack Bruins Wednesday night, as they dropped a 4-0 decision to the Prince George Cougars at Prospera Centre.

In a game where not much went right for the home side, at least the fans could be happy about the return of number 25.

Robin Soudek was back in the lineup for the first time since Remembrance Day, taking his usual spot alongside linemates Ryan Howse and Roman Horak. The 19-year-old Czech looked like his usual self, digging for loose pucks along the boards and enthusiastically going to the net.

That was good to see.

“I was happy to be out there, although I didn’t really do anything tonight,” Soudek said. “I just wanted to play my game and not worry about what can happen. And I think I did that.”

You couldn’t have blamed Soudek for being hesitant.

Had he been facing a different direction two weeks ago when Vancouver defenceman Wes Vannieuwenhuizen drove him face-first into the boards by the Chilliwack bench, Soudek could very well have suffered a season, or even career ending injury.

Everyone who saw the hit expected him to miss far more than four games and Vannieuwenhuizen was handed a seven game suspension by the league.

Even Soudek expected worse.

“I’ve seen it a few times, and I think the hit was probably partly my fault because I turned my back to him,” Soudek said. “As soon as I hit the boards, everything in my neck cracked and I was just happy I was able to move my fingers and toes. But they did the x-rays and everything was OK. The concussion was the worst, because some days you feel pretty good and think it might be gone. And the next day you’ve got symptoms back. It’s not a fun time.”

As welcome as Soudek’s return was, it wasn’t a magic fix for the Bruins, who’ve now dropped seven of their last nine, going 2-3-2-2 over that stretch.

“We didn’t play the way we wanted to play. We didn’t stick to the game plan,” Soudek said bluntly. “Nobody is doing what the coaches want. We’ve talked about it a lot in the dressing room, but it’s up to each guy to buy in and start doing it.”

Prince George jumped on their struggling hosts in the first period, opening up a 2-0 lead through 20 minutes.

Greg Fraser opened the scoring with his fourth of the year, finishing a feed from Nick Buonassisi at 13:49.

Spencer Asuchak doubled the lead four minutes later with a goal that Chilliwack netminder Lucas Gore would love to have back. Working one-on-one against Bruins blueliner Jeff Einhorn, Asuchak fired a backhand shot from the right faceoff circle, beating Gore five-hole for ninth of the year.

Shots on goal in period one were even at 11-11.

Slow starts have been a major issue for the Bruins.

“We get great preparation from our coaching staff, and it’s up to the players to do what they want,” Soudek reiterated.

The Cougars were buzzing again to begin period two, and added to their lead at 11:15 on a goal by Vernon native James Dobrowolski. Tampa Bay Lightning uber-prospect Brett Connolly set him up with a pass from the right corner.

Cutting right to left across the goal-mouth, Dobrowolski found Gore out of position and nothing but net to shoot at for his fifth of the year.

Cougars D-man Sena Acolatse blew a power play slap-shot past Gore at 16:06 to wrap up the scoring.

Shots on goal in period two favoured the Cougars 8-5.

The best chance Chilliwack had to break up James Priestner’s shutout came in the first minute of the final frame. Roman Horak flew down the right wing and stepped inside on Prince George defenceman Cody Carlson.

Horak’s laser from 15 feet out pinged off the right post, and that was it for the Bruins who were blanked for the first time this season in front of a season-low crowd of 2,267.

If there is good news, it’s that despite the recent slump, Chilliwack finds itself just three points out of first place in the B.C. division.

“Yeah, but we’re losing games we’re supposed to win, and if we’d win these games we’d be on the top,” Soudek noted.

Three stars were Asuchak (first), Buonassisi (second) and Priestner (third).

Chilliwack’s next chance to right the ship is Friday night when they host Ty Rattie and the Portland Winter Hawks at Prospera Centre.

Puck drop is 7:30 p.m.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Irish folk supergroup Kíla set to perform on Saturday

Online concert will be available through Harrison Festival Society

Sprinkler system extinguishes fire in industrial building in Chilliwack

Progress Way building had only minor fire, smoke and water damage thanks to sprinkler system

UPDATE: Suspect who once killed a man in jail was arrested in Chilliwack after truck fire

Jordan Cole Burt was taken into RCMP custody while wanted on an outstanding warrant

Two Abbotsford elementary schools record COVID-19 exposures, according to Fraser Health

‘Exposures’ defined as 1 positive case at school, ‘clusters’ as 2 or more, ‘outbreaks’ as widespread

UPDATE: Fatal collision Sunday leaves Chilliwack father and five children with minor injuries

Driver who T-boned family after running stop sign on McGuire Road died at the scene

B.C. reports 96 new COVID-19 cases, one hospital outbreak

61 people in hospital as summer ends with election

‘Unprecedented’ coalition demands end to B.C. salmon farms

First Nations, commercial fishermen among group calling for action on Cohen recommendations

Earthquake off coast of Washington recorded at 4.1 magnitude

The quake was recorded at a depth of 10 kilometres

B.C.’s top doctor says she’s received abuse, death threats during COVID-19 response

Henry has become a national figure during her time leading B.C.’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic

BC Liberals must change gears from election cynicism, focus on the issues: UBC professors

COVID-19 response and recovery is likely to dominate platforms

Join Black Press Media and Do Some Good

Pay it Forward program supports local businesses in their community giving

Is it time to start thinking about greener ways to package cannabis?

Packaging suppliers are still figuring eco-friendly and affordable packaging options that fit the mandates of Cannabis Regulations

B.C. could be without a new leader for multiple weeks after Election Day: officials

More than 20K mail-in voting packages were requested within a day of B.C. election being called

Dozens of Canadian venues to light up red in support of entertainment workers

Local facilities among dozens across Canada to participate in Light Up Live

Most Read