The Chilliwack Chiefs got a win in their return to the BCHL, edging the Coquitlam Express 5-4 in a preseason game Saturday night.
U-S import Trevor Hills had the third period winner in a seesaw affair that saw three lead changes and 66 combined shots on goal.
The first goal for the Chiefs V2 came off the stick of Garret Forester, formerly of the B.C. Major Midget Hockey League’s Greater Vancouver Canadians. Ridge Meadows product Ryan Stewart earned the assist, picking the pocket of Coquitlam D-man Dana Tenenabaum in the left faceoff circle. Stewart feathered a pass to Forester as he chugged through the slot, and Forester picked the top right corner, beating the glove of Express netminder Phoenix Logan Hill.
Forester’s tally with less than 10 seconds remaining in period one sent the Chiefs to the first intermission with a 1-0 lead, despite being out-shot 16-6.
The goals came fast and furious in the early minutes of period two. Ex-Quesnel Millionaire Chris Albee gave Chilliwack a two goal lead, slipping a five-hole shot through Logan Hill. Less than a minute later, Coquitlam’s Ben Murphy cut the lead in half when his centering pass banked off a Chiefs defender and past goaltender Mitch Gilliam.
A Ryan Stewart tally briefly restored the two goal cushion, but Coquitlam drew even on back to back goals by Alex Petan.
His first was one Gilliam would want back, a shot from the very high slot that hit the top of his glove before falling across the line.
Gilliam’s busy night ended there, with ex-Fraser Valley Bruin (MMHL) netminder Josh Halpenny taking over in goal.
Petan’s second came moments later on a Coquitlam power play, with the 19-year-old splitting two Chilliwack defenders before chipping the puck past Halpenny.
The Express finally forged ahead with 1:46 remaining in the second period. Chilliwack Bruins/Victoria Royals prospect Austin Caroll did the damage with a sharp-angle shot that found its way through the leg pads of Halpenny.
Shots on goal through 40 minutes favoured Coquitlam 35-18.
The Chiefs saved their best for last, playing an excellent third period to escape with the win.
Albee drew Chilliwack even early in period three, roofing a slick backhander over the left shoulder of Express goaltender Jared Rathjen.
The decisive tally came off the stick of Trevor Hills. Camped at the edge of the blue paint, the 18-year-old New England Prep School product stuffed a two foot backhander through the legs of Rathjen at 9:45.
The Chiefs had to snuff out a late Coquitlam power play to preserve victory. Chilliwack native Ryan Bechtel was sent to the box with 2:15 remaining (slashing), but the PK held on, with defenceman Chad Roorda turning in a painful looking shot block.
The next home preseason game is Sept. 10 at 7 p.m. versus the Surrey Eagles.