The Chilliwack Chiefs got back to winning ways Wednesday night with a 3-1 home ice win over Coquitlam.
Express keeper Lawson Fenton was the only reason the cellar dwelling Express weren’t blown out at Prospera Centre. The New York native came in with a 5.41 goals-against average and .870 save percentage, but looked like the second coming of Patrick Roy with a 34 save effort. The Chiefs beat him once in the first period and twice in the third, snapping a three game losing skid and improving to 19-7-4-0.
Fenton’s Coquitlam crew fell to a league-worst 6-22-0-2, losing to Chilliwack for the third time this season.
Olivier Arseneau opened the scoring late in period one.
The veteran defenceman swooped down from the point chasing a loose puck in the goal-mouth. Arseneau slipped a backhand shot through Fenton at 17:49, scoring his first of the year and leaving Colin Bernard and Nolan Zweep as the only Chiefs to not have a goal in 2016-17.
That was the only excitement in the opening frame.
Chilliwack out-shot the Express 15-4, held a massive advantage in zone time and could have led by two or three.
Fenton held the Chiefs at bay in a scoreless second period, but two goals in 75 seconds blew the game open early in the final frame.
First it was Kohen Olischefski slipping the puck past Fenton on a rush down the right wing. Fenton almost made a heroic stop stretching post-to-post to stop Olischefski’s first shot. Will Calverley crashed the crease and looked like he may have gotten his stick on it as it inched its way across the goal-line, but Olischefski got credit for his 10th of the year.
Seconds later rookie defenceman Powell Connor ripped a shot from the point. The rebound found its way to Jordan Kawaguchi in the high slot, and the captain rifled a top-corner bullet past Fenton for his team-leading 22nd.
Jake Smith almost had the fourth Chilliwack goal on a shorthanded breakaway. Taking a saucer pass from Aaron O’Neill, the New York native flew in and tried a five-hole shot, but Fenton snapped the pads shut.
At the other end, Barry was looking to blank the Express for the second time in 12 games.
Ex-Chief Jordan Shulting put and end to the shutout bid with 3:59 remaining, slipping the puck past the Chilliwack netminder for Coquitlam’s only goal..
The Express finished the game on the power play, and head coach Barry Wolff pulled Fenton with 55.8 seconds remaining to get a six-on-four.
It didn’t work as the Chiefs held on for the win.
The three stars were Arseneau (first), Powell Connor (second) and Fenton (third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Tommy Lee.
Announced attendance was 1,772.