The Chilliwack Chiefs have dug themselves into a deep hole two games into the third round of the BCHL playoffs.
Chilliwack lost 7-3 in Nanaimo Friday night and returned home to host Penticton Sunday. The Chiefs took the Vees to overtime before losing on Demico Hannoun’s winner.
The loss puts the Chiefs in must-win mode heading into hostile territory Tuesday.
A loss in Penticton, where the Vees very rarely lose, won’t officially knock Chilliwack out. But it’ll put them on life support, pending the results of a Thursday night game between the Clippers and Penticton.
Maybe the most entertaining 20 minutes of hockey saw the Chiefs and Vees tied 2-2 after one period.
The visitors opened the scoring just 1:41, with Matthew Serratore pulling the trigger. Left uncovered by the Chilliwack defence, the future Air Force Academy Falcon took a cross-ice pass from Riley Alferd and fired a shot on goal.
Chiefs netminder David Jacobson stretched out with his right leg to rob Serratore, but couldn’t stop the rebound as the 20 year old notched his fifth of the playoffs.
Chilliwack came roaring back at 10:40.
Rory ‘Raging’ Bell put the puck on net from the point, and Penticton goalie Hunter Miska left a rebound rattling around the goal-mouth. Morrison swooped in and hammered it home for his second of the postseason.
The Vees regained the lead at 13:37.
Blueliner Gabe Bast started the play, flinging the puck on net from the point. Jacobson couldn’t find the disc before Connor Chartier, who dug away at the right post and poked the puck across the line for his eighth of the playoffs.
But the Chiefs battled back once more, knotting the score with 3:47 to go in period one.
Charging down the right wing, Bell muscled past Vees D-man Patrick Sexton and one-armed a pass into the goal-mouth, where Jake Hand popped it past Miska for his eighth of the postseason.
Shots on goal through 20 minutes favoured the Vees 10-9.
Referees Tyler Hawthorne and Mark Pierce waited 38 minutes to hand out the first power play, giving Penticton two minors in 57 seconds late in the middle frame to set up a Chilliwack five on three.
First, Dante Fabbro was banished for high sticking Jordan Kawaguchi. Then, Jarod Hilderman took two for tripping.
Needing to cash in, Morrison took a cross-ice feed from Tipper Higgins, and from the right faceoff dot lazered a shot over Miska’s glove. His second of the game, scored with just 26 seconds on the clock, sent the Chiefs to the third with a 3-2 lead.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured the Vees 21-18.
The Chiefs got another power play early in the third period and failed to produce. So you had to think the home team was due for a penalty or two.
With 3:50 to go, Penticton finally got a power play.
Chilliwack’s top penalty killing D-man, captain Eric Roberts, was flagged for roughing.
Seconds after Hand whiffed on a two-on-one shorthanded rush, missing a glorious chance for an insurance goal, the Vees stormed the Chilliwack net. The puck stayed out, barely, but Jacobson was down.
Clutching his head, the netminder stayed on the ice for nearly two minutes.
The crowd breathed a sigh of relief when he stayed in the game. But with 19 seconds left in their power play, the Vees burned him with an extremely sharp angled shot by Demico Hannoun, sending this game to overtime.
The winner in this one came with 8:31 to go in the first OT period.
With the Chiefs on their heels and the Vees pressing, Penticton’s Patrick Newell collected a loose puck behind the Chilliwack net. Newell fed a quick pass in front, where Hannoun bang-banged it past Jacobson to end
Announced attendance was 2,489.
The three stars were Morrison (first), Bell (second) and Hannoun (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Chilliwack’s Scott Davidson.
The Chiefs are in Penticton Tuesday night for their third game in this double round-robin third round series.
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