The Chilliwack Chiefs took round one in a crucial back-to-back-to-back series with the Wenatchee Wild, taking a 5-3 decision Wednesday night at Prospera Centre.
Kohen Olischefski scored twice for the Chiefs who are looking to gain ground on the first place Wild in the Mainland division.
Mark Sinclair stopped 24 of 27 pucks as Chilliwack improved to 22-9-5-0 and dropped the Wild to 28-6-2-0.
Charlie Combs opened the scoring for the visitors, sniping his league-leading 38th at 7:29. The St. Louis native wound up and launched a slap shot from the high slot, blasting the puck past Chilliwack netminder Mark Sinclair. Brendan Harris recorded his league-leading 52nd assist and 66th point on the play.
A kid with zero goals evened the score at 10:01.
Chiefs defenceman Colin Bernard collected his first BCHL snipe when he side-stepped a Wenatchee defender in the high slot and lazered a wrist shot past Wild keeper Anthony Yamnitsky.
Chilliwack killed two power plays and started the second period killing a third, with Jordan Kawaguchi serving two minutes for tripping. The Chiefs got away with that one, but they couldn’t snuff out four in a row.
When newcomer Ben Fanjoy was tagged for roughing, the Wild surged ahead on a fluky goal by Colin Burston. Wenatchee defenceman Chris Jones got the assist with a snapped-stick shot from the right-wing wall. The puck zipped into the goal-mouth where it hit Burston’s skate and dribbled past Sinclair.
The Chiefs were down 0-4 in power play opportunities to that point, but the calls evened up in a hurry.
Back-to-back minors to Jones (cross-checking) and Harris (high-sticking) gave Chilliwack a five-on-three for 1:46, but the Chiefs came up empty. They had several near misses and it looked like it might be one of those nights where the finish was missing.
But a Carver Watson goal got them even at 16:02 and a Kohen Olischefski goal in the final minute put them up by one.
Justin Dixson did the heavy lifting on Watson’s tally as the Tri-City Storm alums joined forces. Dixson dug the puck out of the left corner and flung it across the ice to the D-man. Watson stepped into a shot from the top of the right faceoff circle, blowing it past Yamnitsky for his seventh of the season.
Olischefski’s was a beauty. Taking a lead pass from Watson, the 18 year old split Wild D-men Slava Demin and Austin Chavez and, with 56 ticks on clock he slipped the puck past Yamnitsky for his 12th of the year and a 3-2 Chilliwack lead.
Wenatchee pressed to start period three and briefly drew even on a goal by Logan Milliken. One of just three Canadians on the Wild roster, the Alberta native scored on a wrist shot from the point that seemed to hit something on the way to the Chilliwack net, sneaking past Sinclair at 8:36.
But Chilliwack regained the lead at 10:28 on a goal by Davis Bunz. In the waning seconds of a Chiefs power play the rookie blueliner one-timed a feed from Watson, picking the bottom right corner with a rocket from the left point.
His fourth of the season stood as the winner.
The Chiefs finished the game on the power play and Olischefski iced the win with an empty netter, scoring with less than a second left.
The Chiefs visit the Wild Friday and Saturday night.
The three stars were Watson (first), Olischefski (second) and Troy Conzo (Wenatchee, third).
The Fortis BC Energy Player of the Game was Linden Hora.
Announced attendance was 2,666.